The Spireites showed real battling spirit to come from behind to clinch their first victory over Altrincham, winning 2-1. The Robins went in front in first-half added time through Toby Mullarkey, but Chesterfield hit back with goals from Tyrone Williams and Kabongo Tshimanga.
A heart-warming victory that moved the Spireites back to pole position but the big worries are the injuries to Akwasi Asante and Armando Dobra who have both played starring roles in the games to date. Let’s hope for positive news.
This season is Altrincham’s first season as a fully professional club and they proved tough opposition with both Ryan Colclough and Jordan Hulme posing a threat throughout but Chesterfield had their heroes too; Lucas Covolan looked solid, Branden Horton and Jeff King never stopped, Joe Quigley was his usual tireless-self and a special mention for Jez Uchegbulam who was a handful from the moment he replaced Dobra……and, of course, the incredible fans who turned up in numbers and backed the team loudly when Alty looked to get back on level terms.
The Spireites made just their third visit to Moss Lane (officially the J. Davidson Stadium) knowing that they had a big challenge ahead; the Robins had won both of the previous home clashes and were undefeated at home this season; however their draw at Boreham Wood, two days earlier, meant they were still seeking their first National League win of the season. – as a result of Josh Hancock’s late leveller for the Wood.
Chesterfield arrived buoyed after a tremendous performance against, the then league leaders, Barnet – a win that, for less than 24 hours, put the team at the head of the table.
For Alty, Matty Kosylo – who scored in both clashes last season – picked up a serious knee ligament injury pre-season and remains unavailable.
Paul Cook chose to retain the same starting XI that lined up on Friday with the bench similarly unchanged.
Despite the occasional light rain pre-match, the pitch needed a good watering before kick-off and looked a good footballing surface plus it was much cooler than of late making the conditions ideal for both sides.
The Spireites kicked off, playing towards their large travelling support. They almost had an early breakthrough when the alert Darren Oldaker fed the perfect ball forward for Horton to cross into the box, Liam Mandeville picked up and fired in an angled drive that forced a crucial save from Dermot Mee.
In the next move Horton, again, found his man, this time Quigley in the six-yard box who tried a back-heel that the keeper proved equal to.
Asante went down injured, received treatment and returned to the action but two minutes later it was clear that the problem remained and Tshimanga made an early ninth minute entrance.
Alty broke well on the left and Hulme provided a neat pass to Ryan Colclough who fired straight into Covolan’s arms from ten yards. In Alty’s next foray forward Colclough won a free-kick 25 yards out, took it himself but the ball couldn’t find a taker as it flew to safety.
The game’s first caution came at the mid-point of the half after Josh Lundstram had hastily challenged Ollie Banks from behind.
King was overlapping well and fed Liam Mandeville who, in-turn, found Tshimanga; good inter-play followed but the chance didn’t quite happen.
At the other end Hulme received outside the area on the right, jinked inside and strode forward but couldn’t fashion a shot before he was dispossessed.
Dobra was tireless in midfield and began one move on the left that ended with a goal-bound effort from Banks which took a deflection.
Alty broke well and Ben Pringle set up Ryan Colclough on the left, his rushed effort hit the side netting.
From a Spireites corner on the right, Jamie Grimes’ downward header saw Williams dispossessed as he looked to touch home.
Just before the interval, Dobra picked up a knock in a tussle that saw a free-kick awarded against him. After a delay for Dobra’s injury, the free-kick was taken and Mullarkey (45) latched onto the knockdown and lashed home from ten yards to put the Spireites behind for the first time this season.
Dobra’s knock proved too much to play on and prompted a second substitution as Uchegbulam saw out the remaining few seconds of added time.
What a start to the second half for the Spireites! From a free kick, wide on the left and further out than Altrincham’s that led to their goal, King floated over the perfect ball and Williams (46) powered a header home at the far post.
The crowd had hardly recovered from the action-packed start to the half when things got even better. Horton whipped the ball in from the left and Williams again got his head to it, this time Tshimanga (49) was on hand to poke home the loose ball.
The home side pushed forward in waves and livewire Colclough tried a rising shot from distance that forced Covolan to tip to safety.
Mandeville danced around the area and found Tshimanga who looked to touch home at the near post but slotted past the woodwork.
Uchegbulam was proving a real handful as he chased and challenged endlessly.
At the other end Hulme burst into the area but a superb challenge by Horton regained possession before he cleared to safety.
It was real end-to-end stuff as both teams looked to push forward.
Five minutes added time was awarded and Alty pushed forward relentlessly but the Spireites battled just as solidly and saw out the game, to the delight of their huge travelling support.
Chesterfield: Covolan, Horton, Grimes, Mandeville, Williams, Dobra (Uchegbulam 45+3), Asante (Tshimanga 9….replaced by Jones 90+1), King, Oldaker, Quigley, Banks
Substitutes not used: Maguire, Cooper
Referee: Paul Marsden
Attendance: 3,169 (1,256 Chesterfield fans)