Tooley’s Take

Tooley’s Take

Phil Tooley takes a look at the game and its context  

Chesterfield 1 Yeovil Town 0 National League Match #30

Them there BT cameras seem to bring about the spectacular (in goals at least!) Mandeville and Kellermann at Salford City, Weston at Eastleigh and Kellermann again to see off a more than decent Yeovil Town side. 

The game’s only goal, a Jim Kellermann banana blast that is right up there with the crème de la crème of this season’s superlative Spireites strikes, was in stark contrast to what had been served up by the hosts in the previous 45 minutes of normal time in a flat first half. Paul Cook summed it up afterwards when he told me ‘We came in at half-time ahead when we didn’t deserve to be, but we came in at half-time against Wrexham level, when we deserved to be in front, that’s football!’

The goal clearly changed the dynamic of the team and Cookie subsequently changed the shape of the team and after the break, a change in shape from a 4-4-2 formation not readily associated with the gaffer, but one that maximised square pegs in square holes  within the injury-ravaged squad, to his speciality 4-2-3-1, which worked pretty well. The switch ignited

Calvin Miller in particular, whilst Yeovil’s right sided defence was constantly undone by Akwasi Asante, who was able to use his strength and running power to terrorise former Spireite Mark Little. It was like seeing an old friend for the first time in a long while and making you realise just how much they’ve been missed.

Throughout Yeovil gave it a go. They’d just notched up one win since Christmas so were far from being in great shape from a confidence viewpoint, and they were the game’s most likely in the first period. Tom Knowles’ throws were tough to defend, and he also hammered an effort against the bar, whilst Scott Loach, who had helped to set the tone of the day by wearing a yellow and blue Ukraine coloured kit, made a fantastic save to keep out a close-range Luke Wilkinson shot. 

As with his other goal-saving second-half save from one-time Technique man Adi Yussuf, what made the stops so good was that neither of the shooters hit the ball truly, so the keeper had to rapidly change his body shape and stance from assuming a clean hit to dealing with miscued efforts that went in unexpected directions. Points earners for sure and a first clean sheet since we were last on telly at Eastleigh. 

Tom Whelan and Kellermann put in the most eye catching outfield performances for the team in blue, together in the engine room in both shapes of the game, whilst Jamie Grimes and Laurence Maguire led the back four well in what was the 15th different rearguard starting XI combination of the season, in the first four at the back combo of the campaign. They may just be put under a little more pressure on Tuesday against Notts’ Rodrigues and Wootton as compared to the lone front man of Yeovil’s Yussuf.  

A much-needed win in the bag, back in second spot after the afternoon’s results seemingly all went against us, and two more home games to look for before the week concludes with a bit of confidence back in the tank. 

But the game showed beautifully that football is just a sport, an entertainment, a relaxation (not all of the time), it isn’t the be all and end all. With both skippers joining together to walk on the pitch carrying a Ukrainian flag, Scotty’s kit, Howard’s words and the wonderful pre-match applause as our very own Ukrainian friend Volodymyr Holod was shown on the big screen, shows that losing back to back home games is a relatively minor inconvenience, not life or death, though it sometimes feels like that. 

The gestures may not stop a tank or save a life, but it will let one family in Lviv know that they’re not alone and that’s a pretty powerful thing. 

Phil’s Positive: The second-half show, a full Cook 4-2-3-1 45 minute performance which seemed to release Miller in particular. Like the first half against Wrexham, plenty there to work with for the final fourteen. 

The Spireites’ next game is at home to Notts County on Tuesday, March 1, kick-off 7.45 pm. Can’t get to watch? Listen in on 1866 Sport. 

Team v Yeovil (4-4-2 to start): Loach; King, Grimes, Maguire, Whittle; Mandeville, Kellermann, Whelan, Miller; Asante (Khan 89), Quigley (Denton 68).

Subs not used: Kerr, Rowley, Williams

Goal: Kellermann 45+1 (Chesterfield)

Referee: Tom Parsons

Booked: Mandeville, Kellermann (Chesterfield), Barclay (Yeovil)

Attendance: 5,371 (128 from Yeovil)