Tooley’s Take

Tooley’s Take

Phil Tooley takes a look at the game and its context  

Salford City 0 Chesterfield 2 Emirates FA Cup Second Round

Question. In the last 100 years, how many times have Chesterfield won an away game in the FA Cup at the home of a team in a higher division? Answer: The win at Salford City was only the third such win in that timescale. Shrewsbury Town in 1989 and Bolton Wanderers in the incredible run to the semi-final 25 seasons ago (both games were won 3-2). That’s the lot. This result is that special. One hundred years, just three examples, WOW!

And the crowd. Just bounce if you love the Town, and 945 fans bounced like they’ve not bounced since the heady days of the League Two titles in 2010/11 and 2013/14, it was something special, a pleasure to watch from my press area position. Add in the home fans and the declared attendance was 1997. Omen?

The game was very different to most in the National League this season. City had most possession, most corners, most shots, but the imperious Jamie Grimes, with an impressive Scott Loach behind and an inspiring Jim Kellermann in front, along with a supporting cast of heroes, progression always looked likely after Liam Mandeville banged in the opener on 28. Toe celebrate or not toe celebrate!

Chesterfield’s midfield was immense, snubbing out many a potential Ammies attack before it started, even after the forced reshuffle when Luke Croll had to go off early in the second half. But every Spireite breathed a huge sigh of relief when Kellermann, assistor for the opener, hammered home after Kabongo Tshimanga slipped the ball to him for the 86th minute second for the midfielder’s first goal for the club, right in front of the bouncing Blues. Scenes!

The pure joy amongst the travelling faithful shows that the FA Cup still means much to many and James Rowe’s post-match reactions and clear emotions in the subsequent interviews shows it meant plenty to him as well.

There’ll be few Spireites not willing ball number 61 to be paired in a big game for the third round, last reached seven years ago, and the team has only made that mark three times in the last 40 years and one of those was after losing to Droylsden! More evidence of the rarity of this type of result.

Salford came into this game in form. Two wins and two draws in their last four in League Two, plus two cup wins, over Leeds United U21 and at Dagenham & Redbridge, making it six without defeat. That solid form though is eclipsed by the Spireites, now the proud owners of an 11-match, all competition run of eight wins and three draws. Keep that going and future bouncing will be colossal.

Just to emphasise the extraordinary achievement, the injury list the manager has had to deal with remains long, though Jack Clarke’s brief return was great to see (fingers crossed for Croll), and Manny Oyeleke’s appearance was a bit of a surprise.

The third round will feature only four non-league clubs – Chesterfield, Yeovil Town, Kidderminster Harriers and the winner of Monday night’s Boreham Wood versus St Albans City match – emphasising reaching this landmark round is extremely difficult for any non-EFL teams, so let’s all enjoy the ride, hopefully en route to a memorable tie.

And if that’s not enough, between now and round three, our NL opponents include Grimsby Town, Notts County and FC Halifax Town. Strap yourselves in for nail-biting few weeks.

Phil’s Positive: Winning away at a team in a higher division can rarely be anything other than positive! Getting to the third round is also something that doesn’t happen every day of the week!

The Spireites’ next game is at 3pm on Saturday, December 11 at Grimsby Town. If you’re not one of the 1,000+ travelling fans, catch the game on 1866 Sport Live.

Team v Salford (3-4-2-1 to start): Loach; Kerr, Grimes, Croll (Khan 51); Whittle, Oyeleke, Weston, Miller; Mandeville (Clarke 90), Kellermann; Tshimanga (Payne 90)

Sub not used: Minter, McCourt, Tyson

Goals: Mandeville 28, Kellermann (86) (Chesterfield)

Referee: Ross Joyce

Booked: Lund (Salford)

Attendance: 1,997 (945 from Chesterfield)