Tooley’s Take

Phil Tooley takes a look at the game and its context  

Boreham Wood 1 Chesterfield 1 National League Match #33

First of all, great to be back after missing a couple of games through the be-dreaded virus and thanks to the many messages I’ve had from Spireites during my isolation period and in person at Meadow Park, meant a lot.

(Warning – description of graphic violence coming up!) We have a saying in our house that a paper cut is worse than having your leg ripped off by a crocodile, which incidentally has medically been proven to be correct (that may not quite be true). 

The Spireites’ National League progress this season has been hampered by paper cut after paper cut. Losing two points late on against Bromley was a nasty nip, plenty of Elastoplast required to recover, it came keen. Then, three weeks later, two crocs were at it, a double limb loss against Torquay United, then came Woking, Wrexham, Altrincham and Maidenhead. Felt like a group of renegade alligators had made a pact. 

Our hoped for serene trip down the Nile was becoming a death of a thousand paper wielding reptiles, as late goal after late goal began to get somewhat annoying, when all we wanted to do was hop on an express train to Orient in EFL2. But more limb loss at Weymouth, then Southend spoiled the day and Boreham Wood have now gone and done the same. It’s getting as bad as toothache, touching on man-flu. We need it to just go away, we’ve had enough thank you. 

That’s 15 points dropped to late goals, seven have been gained (Grimsby, Halifax, Eastleigh and Notts), so in the spirit of ‘everything evens out over a season’ we’ve a net loss of eight points (without even getting into points lost earlier in games after leading), which in our theoretical world, would have seen Chesterfield five points above Stockport, who would still have two games in hand, but the table would look much rosier. 

Town were the better side in the game. We all know Boreham Wood make things difficult, goes without saying, and their approach was good enough to knock us off our stride on many occasions, and restrict first-half chances to a minimum, though Chesterfield’s defence also meant Scott Loach had no first-half saves to make at all. 

After the break, the quality was marginally better and it began to look like we could breach the meanest defence in the division on their own patch, where they are yet to lose this season. A stonewall penalty was turned down when David Stephens clearly handled, but when sub Akwasi Asante’s cross struck the arm of Jacob Mendy, a spot-kick was awarded. The Wood man was clearly standing outside the box but leaning back. Maybe in, maybe out, but justice was done, and Asante made it 1-0 on 82, maybe that net loss of late points was on the turn. 

Sadly though, Luke Garrard knew all he had to do was nip down the stationery shop, buy a ream of A4, wrap the ball in a sheet and keep pumping it into the box and the unwanted cut would come, and it did, on 88, with a header from one of Wood’s big lads, sub Adrian Clifton. It was just his third National League goal in three years, and one of those other two was for our bogey side and next opponents, Maidenhead United in their 2-0 win in April 2019, at a relatively early stage of the game, 77 minutes. 

Of the myriad of seasonal paper cuts, this one hurt the most. BW just don’t lose at home, with their four games in hand, a draw suited them much more and, combined with last week’s Southend late show, we should have been sitting on a WWWW sequence, but alas, have seen four points bleed out of our system and sap the strength of supporters who are beginning to feel it’s hats off to the Hatters and we need to start buying lottery tickets. 

And just to sour the mood even more, Maidenhead’s Magpies are next up, played six, drawn one, lost five. Anyone know Crocodile Dundee’s number? 

Phil’s Positive: Joe Quigley led the line in fine style, he just needs to find a spawny goal from somewhere!

The Spireites’ next game is at home to Maidenhead United, on Saturday, March 19, kick-off 3pm. Can’t get to watch? Listen in on 1866 Sport. 

Team v Boreham Wood (4-2-3-1 to start): Loach; King, Grimes, Maguire, Whittle; Kellermann, Whelan (Asante 74); Khan, Mandeville, Miller; Quigley

Subs not used: Kerr, Williams, Rowley, Weston 

Goals: Asante (pen) 82 (Chesterfield), Clifton 88 (Boreham Wood)

Referee: Matthew Russell

Booked: Kellermann, Quigley (Chesterfield), Stephens, Smith, Boden, Raymond

Attendance: 1,621 (570 from Chesterfield)