Tooley’s Take

Tooley’s Take

Phil Tooley takes a look at the game and its context  

Wrexham 1 Chesterfield 1 National League Match #10

Regardless of what occurred in the match, it was just heavenly to be in a stadium that was just about full, over 9,000 there, with the 549 travelling supporters singing and shouting from well before kick-off right until the final whistle and beyond. It was proper football, proper fans. Fantastic. 

Such a shame that what would have been a magnificent win to cap a terrific performance was undone by another late concession. Six out of ten goals scored by our opponents have been after the 80-minute mark, with two others in the final moments of the first half. To put the overall defensive show into perspective, 10 in 10 is not a bad record at all, only Boreham Wood (9 in 10) have conceded less than a goal a game in the division as a whole. Will Evans and Scott Boden are just two of an incredible nine ever-presents for them (Loach & Tshimanga are our only two). 

Wrexham came out of the traps at a pace, but their fast show lasted only five minutes, for after Fraser Kerr scored his second goal for the club, the Spireites were on top for most of the rest of the game. 

The midfield three worked tirelessly, turning over possession time and again, whilst the three front players in the reshaped formation pressed with intensity, extinguishing many potential Red Dragon raids. Saidou Khan added a new dimension to the attack whilst debut maker Jim Kellermann, looked excellent, playing at National League level for the first time since lining up alongside Danny Rowe for AFC Fylde at Dover in December 2018 (attendance 927 – his next game was for St Mirren at Celtic, crowd 54,821).

Sadly, our chance to make it 2-0 wasn’t taken, when Kabby Tshimanga saw his penalty saved by Rob Lainton as half-time approached. Big moment, and our nine-goal hero’s body language on the final whistle, as he fell to his haunches, undoubtedly showed he realised the enormity of that moment. He was clearly hurting. 

With George Carline at right-back in a four-man line, Jake Hyde and Paul Mullin were largely anonymous throughout the game. Frustration grew amongst the massed home crowd and that transmitted to the pitch as Wrexham looked second best and devoid of ideas which resulted in them hauling off a centre-half and putting on an extra forward on 78 minutes and using Ben Tozer’s long-throws as their main weapon. The missile hit its target, Mullin, who was given too much space to head home an undeserved equaliser with a goal that clearly frustrated James Rowe (and anyone in blue). 

That hammer blow was minor in comparison to Carline’s injury moments later, a suspected broken kneecap, and that long-term event was followed by a short-term one, when sub Stefan Payne was booked for preventing Wrexham from taking a quick free-kick. He’ll have to sit out the trip to Southend United. 

Performance, very encouraging; result, very disappointing; position after ten games, very heartening. The 21 seasons starting in the 21st century have seen Chesterfield higher than fifth after ten games on just four occasions, three of them ended with promotion, so our current resting place is pretty good. It’s also worth noting that six of our ten games have been away, no other team has played six away, and we’ve a seventh on Saturday, so plenty left at home, where we’re still unbeaten. But losing six points to late goals does hurt a fair bit!

Phil’s Positive: Jim Kellermann, fine debut in a reshaped formation, which also looked good. 

The Spireites’ next game is on Saturday, October 9, at Southend United, kick-off 3pm  

Team v Wrexham (4-3-3 to start): Loach; Carline (Whittle 90+1), Kerr, Gunning, Maguire; Kellerman, Weston, King; Khan (Mandeville 60), Rowe (Payne 80), Tshimanga.  

Subs not used: Miller, Grimes 

Goals: Kerr 6 (Chesterfield), Mullin 83 (Wrexham)

Ref: Martin Woods

Booked: Kerr, Maguire, Kellerman, Payne (Chesterfield), Hosannah, Davies (Wrexham)

Attendance: 9,147 (549 from Chesterfield)