Phil Tooley takes a look at the game and its context
Bromley 4 Chesterfield 2 National League Match #41
Neither of my grandmothers was an expert on football, to be honest they would have known Duncan Edwards, Bobbys Charlton and Moore and George Best, and that would have been about it. But on a Sunday afternoon at teatime, if we were lucky enough to have a box of Milk Tray as a special treat, they both always dived in for the soft centres. Think it must have been a tooth-based thing.
With an eye for detail like that, they’d have been ideal pundits to sum up Town’s performance at Hayes Lane. With nougat, nut whirl, hazel charm and others not available to our own Cook, the team he put out at Bromley was sadly a grandmother’s dream. Caramel Softy, Truffle Heart and Perfect Praline were all selected in an entirely soft-centred squad. We made Bromley look like a chocolate coated Brazil Nut, hard as a diamond, and it kept going for 90 or more minutes. Life was no so sweet for Chesterfield, and like my Nans, the show seemed somewhat toothless.
I don’t even want to check out the last time the team conceded four at home and four away in matches in the same month or were three down inside 36 minutes. That said, no need to check the latter, Chelsea, seemingly a turning point in our season. Pre-Stamford Bridge, mostly tough nuts, post SW6, too many caramel melts.
Bromley kept things simple but effective with an impressive mix of route one, outnumber the man with the ball and make sure in any challenge, they bounce off you. Not as aesthetically pleasing as a Vienetta, but every bit as satisfactory.
It’s impossible to ignore that Spireites are limping towards the line, putting in far too many below par performances, but it’s equally impossible to note that the manager has been denied the use of many, notably Gunning and Croll at the back, plus Oyeleke and Tshimanga. That said, the performance of everyone on the park at Bromley (with the exception of young Tyson) was well under what we know they are capable of, individually and collectively. Decision making, passing, pressing, on the ball, off the ball, strength, resilience, bravery. All were disappointing by everyone, for virtually all of the game.
Two good Liam Mandeville deliveries gave us all hope, Laurence Maguire and Tom Denton heading them in to cut the half-time deficit to 3-2, a chance, but the chance all but evaporated six minutes into the second half when a burst down the left by Alex Whittle was followed by a nearly good pass and a nearly good receive, and ten seconds later Bromley, having whacked it forwards, were back to being two in front. Turning attack into defence (or no defence) was, sadly, the Spireites’ dish of the day.
Whilst leaders Stockport County are having a few of their own jelly moments, they’ll offer more problems than Bromley did, so Paul Cook will have to ensure his troops regroup and are reinforced, whilst all sides of the bumper crowd will be keeping an ear on Boreham Wood v Wrexham, and we’ll also be watching out for news of Dagenham & Redbridge against Torquay United. The two teams immediately below us both have away games on Saturday as well, Daggers at Solihull Moors and The Wood are at Yeovil Town.
I’m still convinced we’ll get over the line, but if so, it looks like an away eliminator is likely to get the ball rolling, far away from what every Spireite was hoping for. Whatever happens, we all need to see more passion and more fight from our boys in blue. No names, no pack drill, no excuses. We’re at the sharp end, let’s start pointing in the right direction.
Phil’s Positive: Only if you were called Nathan. Young Tyson was lively after his introduction and Smith was excellent on his 1866 Sport co-commentary debut. Can’t think of anything else.
The Spireites’ next game is on Bank Holiday Monday, May 2, kick-off really is at 3pm. Can’t get to the match or watch on TV? Listen in on 1866 Sport from 2.30pm.
Team v Bromley (3-4-2-1 to start): Loach; Williams, Maguire, Grimes; King, Weston, McCourt (Whelan 70), Whittle (Miller 76); Mandeville, Khan (Tyson 70); Denton
Subs not used: Rowley, Oyeleke
Goals: Maguire 38, Denton 42 (Chesterfield), Al-Hamadi 12, 36, Coulson 30, Whitely 51 (Bromley)
Referee: Scott Tallis
Booked: Denton (Chesterfield), Partington, Cheek, Al-Hamadi, Sablier (Bromley)
Attendance: 1,827 (318 from Chesterfield)