Phil Tooley takes a look at the game and its context
Curzon Ashton 0 Chesterfield 4 Emirates FA Cup fourth qualifying round
Curzon Ashton join Doncaster Rovers (1961) and Clay Cross Town (1919) as teams the Spireites have beaten 4-0 on their own patch in the FA Cup. I’ve not checked if the team has ever won consecutive away matches 4-0, but I very much doubt it! And it feels unfeasibly good just to be back in the first round proper after two absences following the Stockport debacle last season and losing in a replay at Wrexham the time before.
If you wanted to write a manual about how to deal with lower level part-time opposition in an away Cup-tie, this game would be a great model. Curzon Ashton, one of the most friendly and accommodating clubs I’ve ever visited, were unbeaten at home and flying high in the National League North and they’d won their previous two Cup ties at The Tameside Stadium by 4-0 score-lines.
Inevitably, they came out of the traps at pace, but the Spireites defence was on point, led by skipper Laurence Maguire, who had a stormer of a game, and they ensured debut making keeper Melvin Minter has precious little to do, not only early on, but at any stage.
The hosts had plenty of decent players who’ve competed at National League level and above, so it was never likely to be a pushover, but once that initial territorial advantage had been assuaged, James Rowe’s eight-changes XI took charge and began to bash The Nash.
To add to the joy of the win, the quality of the goals was excellent. Jeff King getting round the back to head home a peach of a Maguire cross for his first Chesterfield goal, whilst Nathan Tyson received from Jamie Grimes to turn on a tanner and score with a wonderful finish. The 39 years 165 days old striker, playing his first minutes of the season, became the oldest striker ever to play for the club, overtaking The Chief, Wayne Allison, and the fifth oldest ever (after Billy Kidd, Mark Crossley, Ritchie Humphreys and Lawrie Madden).
But his main honour? Nathan is 105 days older than when Lawrie Madden scored in a 3-2 win at Northampton in 1994, becoming the Spireites’ oldest ever scorer. He’s still 10 years and 43 days short of Billy Meredith’s record as the oldest ever scorer in the FA Cup, for Manchester City at Brighton in 1924, something my 1866 Sport co-commentator Tom Denton was astonished about when he Googled it during the game.
Goal three, scored by a man 15 years younger than Tyson, was a beauty. Some crisp passing preceded freshly off the bench Kabongo Tshimanga’s perfectly weighted ball for Liam Mandeville to score his first of the season. Kabby was then the man fouled late on for the penalty, after tricky work by fellow sub Calvin Miller, that enabled Stefan Payne to get off the mark, making it four first goals of the season in one match.
With Manny Oyeleke, Alex Whittle, Minter and Tyson getting valuable minutes on the park ahead of back-to-back home games on Saturday and then Tuesday, the day in the north-west couldn’t have gone much better, with only news of the injury to Joe Rowley, playing for King’s Lynn Town, being a disappointment on the day. Best wishes to Joe on his recovery.
Next Saturday, with third-placed FC Halifax Town facing a tricky trip to Solihull Moors and the Spireites hosting Boden, Evans (who scored the FA Cup winner on Saturday) and Boreham Wood, things could change a fair bit at the head of the NL. Incidentally, leaders Grimsby host Yeovil. After four straight aways, let’s see if we can top the 5,366 attendance that attended the Wealdstone game, the biggest home crowd so far this season. That’s Tooley’s Test this week!
Phil’s Positive: Into the first round proper, Tyson looking sharp, Payne scoring, never looking in danger, there’s more of us than you! Lots of positivity all round.
The Spireites’ next game is on Saturday, October 23, at home to second-placed Boreham Wood, kick-off 3pm; it’s a big game, be there if you can!
Team v Curzon Ashton (3-5-2 to start): Minter; Kerr, Grimes, Maguire; King, Oyeleke (Kellermann 72), McCourt, Mandeville, Whittle (Miller 78); Payne, Tyson (Tshimanga 58)
Subs not used: Loach, Rowe
Goals: King 22, Tyson 42, Mandeville 75, Payne (pen) 84 (Chesterfield)
Ref: Andrew Miller
Booked: Renshaw, Thomas (Curzon Ashton)