Phil Tooley takes a look at the game and its context
Yeovil Town 0 Chesterfield 1 Vanarama National League
Can we play here every week? Tom Denton’s extremely neat sidestep and shot teed-up by fresh-off-the-bench Luke Rawson gave the Spireites a third consecutive Huish Park three points and a fourth win in six visits there to register a first away win since the vital victory at Victory Park in Chorley back in pre-lockdown days.
You always stand a chance when you keep a clean sheet, especially when scoring is not a huge problem. Chesterfield have scored in their last 11 National League games and Big Tom’s incredibly netted in nine of those, only Stockport a couple of weeks ago and Nathan Tyson’s big day against Ebbsfleet United last season have seen him miss out. He’s now scored 20 National League goals for the Spireites in 43 starts, plus 21 sub appearances. His record under John Pemberton’s leadership is 11 goals in 14 starts plus two sub games. That shows exactly what can be achieved if the environment is right, be that confidence, service, fitness or trust.
The game started rather slowly, and most of the fast bits were quite slow, the first effort on goal from either side coming on 41 when Alex Kiwomya’s shot was gathered by former Spireites loanee Adam Smith. The last few minutes of the first half swathe visitors step up a couple of gears and the game expanded substantially after the break.
Laurence Maguire headed against the post but from a marginally off-side position and Jonathan Smith’s header was brilliantly saved by namesake Adam on 53, just seconds after the Glovers’ first on-target effort from Matt Warburton, hit straight at Letheren’s bread-basket.
The goal was a thing of beauty in a game that was generally lacking in allure. Rawson received, back to goal, seconds having entered the game. His shirt was being clearly pulled but referee Mather, who’d been the sort of whistler who only blew when absolutely necessary, gave the move a chance of progressing, and progress it did. Young Luke offloaded to Dents, 15 yards out with a green shirt in front, but a nifty shimmy opened things up and he hammered a rising shot into the net. I’d be surprised if the live streaming audience didn’t hear my joyous reaction on my BBC Radio Sheffield clip!
Yeovil had produced little to that point and, despite throwing forward plenty of bodies in the final 20, they never looked likely to get back on level terms, indeed Maguire had the best late chance, heading just wide when a second would have calmed the nerves a little.
The manager needs to take plenty of credit for the win. Starting with a 3-4-3 which worked well at Stockport County in the FA Cup, the low-key early exchanges were played out with little creativity as Yeovil’s midfield five stifled the visitors and saw them have a fair bit of ball. He subsequently switched Kiwomya to play as a wing-back and Chesterfield’s lot began to improve.
Having earned the lead, and as Yeovil began to push-on ever more, he introduced Liam Mandeville and Tyler Denton for Smith and David Buchanan, therefore ensuring more rapid raids on the break gave Spireites the breathing space required, and ensuring Yeovil couldn’t afford to go full gung-ho, as Woking did a few weeks ago.
It was far from a classic match, but it was just the result needed and with a second blank midweek coming up, Pemberton will have another opportunity to begin to shape things up on the training pitch ahead of the two-division gap test against Rochdale and Maguire’s best-mate, Jake Beesley. That game will be followed by Maidenhead United at home, and a visit from the only National League player, Sam Barratt, a nippy left-winger, who has scored more time than Tom this season, seven goals, four of them from penalties.
Phil’s Positive: An away win to a clean sheet, can’t be much more positive that that!
The Spireites’ next game is on Saturday, November 7 at Rochdale in the FA Cup, kick-off 3pm.
Team v Yeovil (3-4-3 to start): Letheren; Sharman, Evans, Maguire; Smith (Mandeville 75), Weston, Butterfield, Buchanan (Tyler Denton 81); Tyson (Rawson 68), Kiwomya, Tom Denton.
Subs (not used): Wharton, Hollis
Goal: Chesterfield – Tom Denton 69
Ref: Simon Mather
Yellows: Evans (Chesterfield), Quigley (Yeovil)