Tooley’s Take

Phil Tooley takes a look at the game and its context  

Southend United 0 Chesterfield 4 National League Match #11

I’ve been involved in supporter organisations in one way or another since 1977 and it’s awful to see when die-hard fans feel so marginalised that they have to show their fears and worries by protesting, particularly via a pitch invasion, which risk them being banned from attending future games. 

The Spireites’ magnificent 375 travellers must have felt the pain of their Southend United counterparts as the parallels between the two teams are uncannily similar. Consecutive relegations to the National League, an unpopular ownership regime and a pitch invasion during a 4-0 home defeat. 

Boxing Day 2018 saw many Chesterfield fans act in a similar vein when Solihull Moors were in town. Both games led to an end to the managers’ reigns.

Those similarities led to an understandable alliance between the supporters on the day, with the visiting fans clearly sympathetic of the Shrimpers’ cause and the Essex team’s followers visibly appreciating that. I really hope that, whatever happens, Southend United Football Club remains a viable and united organisation. 

Whilst United may have had a shaky start to their NL career, they’d not been conceding too many, but Danny Rowe and Saidou Khan dented their goal difference in a superb away team showing. 

James Rowe maintained the four at the back defence with a midfield diamond between them and the front-two, with Jeff King at right back following George Carline’s midweek horror injury. And it worked a treat. 

On a day when eight of the top nine teams all won, the Spireites managed the best goal return on the day with Rowe hitting the first away league hat-trick (Tom Denton bagged three in a cup game at Braintree) since Eoin Doyle in the 3-3 at Preston in 2014, he’d scored three against Scunthorpe as well, three days earlier. Jack Lester, at Lincoln (4-2) in 2007 was the last away hat-trick hero in a Town league win. 

His first was a perfectly placed just outside the box shot, his second finish was arguably better, a rapid turn and shot from the corner of the six, and there was no doubting the fact that he’d take the penalty after Kabongo Tshimanga was fouled. The blast from the spot was unstoppable. 

Khan, sadly one of three Spireites injured on the day, finished with great skill to make it 3-0, turning in a peach of a cross from multi-assistor King, who had his best game in a Chesterfield shirt.

A bit like when Kabby hit three against Barnet, and Stefan Payne was most people’s Man of the Match, for me, King was just top dog at Roots Hall. I suggested that to the manager after the game and he dared me to tell Danny to his face. I’ve mentioned it, on a Twitter post that didn’t copy DR in. That’s brave enough for me! 

Jim Kellermann continued his impressive start to his Technique career and the defence will be delighted to have kept a clean sheet, especially with 14 minutes of added time being played!

Scott Loach was only really tested once whilst, collectively, a free kick at the start of the second half, when fresh on sub Rhys Murphy should have pulled it back to 2-1, was the only real back line blip. 

Undoubtedly, the injuries are the downside. JR indicated that Fraser Kerr’s isn’t too bad, but scans are needed for Khan and Curtis Weston, and hopefully the news will be good enough to ensure this was no pyrrhic victory. 

Back to that magic two-points-per-game average, this was JR’s 25th NL win in charge of Chesterfield in his not quite 11 months in charge. Southend United have mustered only 25 wins in the last three years; we know how you feel. 

Phil’s Positive: Biggest away win in a league format match since winning 6-1 at Exeter City in October 2008 and the first three-points on the road in a 4-0 win since October 2007 at Wrexham. Super Jack bagged a brace in both!

The Spireites’ next game is on Saturday October 16, at The Tameside Stadium for an FA Cup fourth qualifying round match at Curzon Ashton, kick-off 3pm 

Team v Southend (4-4-2 to start): Loach; King, Kerr (Grimes 32), Gunning, Maguire; Weston (Oyeleke 68), Kellermann, Miller, Khan (Mandeville 65); Rowe, Tshimanga. 

Subs not used: Tyson, Whittle

Goals: Rowe 19, 40, 73 (pen), Khan 48 (Chesterfield)

Ref: Scott Tallis

Booked: Demetriou (Southend)

Attendance: 4625 (375 from Chesterfield)