Stunning first-half double seals first win at Solihull

Two stunning strikes in the first half sealed a 2-0 victory in the Spireites’ first-ever win at Solihull to maintain their top spot in the table.

Kyle Storer rightly received a straight red early on for his reckless challenge on Luke Croll and, from that point onwards, Chesterfield grabbed hold of the game and never lost control.

The first goal will long be remembered for its quality. A clever back-heel and a quality finish made scoring look easy.

The second was of a similar standard when Tshimanga created a goal out of nothing and finished in style.

In the second period, the Spireites did enough to keep the game safe and avoid a nervous finale.

Saidou Khan could have added to the scoreline but they continued to dictate play and seal a very accomplished three points.

At kick-off, the table may have shown what looked like quite a gap between the two sides: first play eighth but, such is the tightness at the top that, if the Spireites had lost last weekend and the Moors had won, the two teams would have been level on points.

James Rowe will have known the stats that the Spireites had won just once in the six fixtures to date; he’ll also have been well aware that the Moors would be a tough nut to crack, particularly after they took League 1 side Wigan Athletic to extra-time in their narrow midweek FA Cup replay loss.

Thankfully, Manny Oyeleke was sufficiently recovered to make the starting XI and the manager was able to field the same side that won well against Weymouth.

Chesterfield took the game to the Moors from the kick-off with Jeff King trying his luck in the game’s first attack; his floated effort drifted wide of the left upright.

The game was being played at a fast pace and Jordan Cranston was looking very lively down the left.

A real mix-up in the home defence almost cost them dearly. Keeper Ryan Boot  played a short pass to the waiting defender who, in turn, looked to play it back; instead he found the lurking Tshimanga, just outside the six-yard box, who was unprepared for the “gift” and failed to capitalise on the opening as Boot cleared.

A great opportunity for the Spireites at the half way mark of the half. A great through ball from Jamie Grimes found Khan ready to push forward but Lois Maynard had other ideas and picked up a yellow card for his wayward challenge. Jeff King’s free kick was on target but Boot was alert enough to push to safety.

A crazy 60 seconds followed when, from a corner on the left, Adam Rooney headed against the crossbar and then failed to poke the loose ball home. The Spireites cleared and looked to break as home captain Storer horribly mistimed his challenge on Luke Croll and received a straight red for his efforts.

Moors gained another corner from a deflection; This time Danny Newton went wide with an ambitious overhead kick from the edge of the six-yard box.

The Spireities took the lead as the clocked clicked onto 36 minutes; a wonderful back-heel from Tshimanga saw Alex Whittle pick up well, take a couple of paces and then fire a superb angled shot into the bottom-right corner. A strike to savour!

The game continued end-to-end as Jeff King fired narrowly over for the Spireites and moments later Rooney had a powerful shot blocked.

Back came the ball the other way and Joe Sbarra just failed to connect from close range; from the clearance the Spireites doubled their lead.

Tshimanga had the ball in a nothing situation out wide on the right, he looked to be covered well, instead his turn bamboozled the home defence and he slottted home with ease. Cue……”Who needs Messi…….” from the huge travelling support.

The Moors had time for one more effort, in added time, but the energetic Rooney’s blast flew wide to Loach’s right as the Spireites eased to the interval knowing they were in command but that they needed to maintain a similar level of performance after the break.

The game resumed in just as lively a vein and Moors, despite being a man short, were competing well.

Rooney burst strongly down the left; Loach had no cover and really had little option but to come out and bundle him over. A yellow card was the inevitable outcome.

Tshimanga showed his strength and pace on the right flank when he outpaced the home defence only to be undone by a neat side-on tackle from Howe.

The first change for the Spireites came in the 63rd minute when Jak McCourt replaced the superb Oyeleke.

Moments later it could have been three. Tshimanga was fouled wide right but referee Garreth Rhodes wisely played the advantage, the outcome was that Khan ended with a one-on-one situation to slot home; defender Ryan Barnett and keeper Boot did extremely well to recover and clear.

Soon after, Liam Mandeville entered play as replacement for Khan who had worked tirelessly throughout. Two minutes later, Stefan Payne completed the changes as he swapped places with Jim Kellermann.

Despite the numerical advantage Chesterfield had dominated the second period without creating too many openings and the home side had enjoyed several good periods of possession.

Mandeville fired wide from distance and a minute later James Ball’s reckless foul on McCourt was punished with a yellow card.

Four minutes were added and the Spireites used the time well. King’s strong drive forced a cool save from Boot but the home side couldn’t create any move that threatened as the first ever win at Solihull was sealed.

Spireites: Loach, Oyeleke (McCourt), Weston, Williams, Kellermann (Payne), Tshimanga, King, Kroll, Grimes, Khan (Mandeville), Whittle.