Tooley’s Take

Phil Tooley takes a look at the game and its context  

Aldershot Town 3 Chesterfield National League Game #7

Let’s start with a bit of a quiz. What’s this Spireites sequence represent? WWWWWWWWWW. Answer at the end (no early peeping!)

Another question could be, when was the last time the team conceded at least 14 goals in the opening seven games? That’s not that long ago, 2017/18, our last season in the EFL. Two more concessions in game #8, a 2-1 home defeat against Accrington Stanley, which took the goals against column to 17, saw Gary Caldwell sacked. That said, instead of 19 in the goals for column in the first seven, there were just six, but there were two clean sheets in there too, something that’s proved to be elusive this season.

Are you Dizzee Rascal (Bonkers) or The Jam (That’s Entertainment) when it comes to a brief and to the point summary of the season so far? Maybe Queen (Sheer Heart Attack)? Are you focussed on the goals scored tally, which if seasonalised would see 125 banged in by the end of April, or are you wearing John Duncan’s famous spectacles and losing sleep over conceding an average of two per game? It’s all very Johnny Nash (There are more Questions than Answers as opposed to Tears on my Pillow; maybe both!)

Seven more goals in the game, not a single Goal of the Season contender, indeed most of the strikes were defensive shockers featuring passages of play that were more like Playing with Corona than Barcelona, more Flop than Klopp. But three points were banked. In a results based business, what more can you hope for?

Dorking, losing but won; Hartlepool, losing but won; Aldershot, losing but won. Nine points on the board having done it the hard way. There’s spirit in the squad in abundance, there’s just as much attacking skill to marvel over, but surely you can’t rely on outscoring the opposition every week. Can you?

A goodly chunk of the 14 goals against, and two of the three at Aldershot Town, came from Michael Jackson defensive moments, that’ll be Bad (but it ended with a bit of a Thriller, and we Don’t Stop ‘til we Get Enough, enough to Beat It).

Improvements have to be made. Individual errors have to be substantially reduced. Two against a game is unsustainable. In 46-match seasons, the most Chesterfield have conceded, ever, is 87 at just under 1.9 goals per game whilst the 100-mark for scoring goals was passed in a 42 game season, 102 were scored in winning the Division Three North title in 1930/31. We don’t want to see the attacking wings clipped, but that collective defending from the front needs to be sorted pretty quickly.

Both Shots’ opener and Town’s reply were undoubtedly Scooby’s nephew goals, both very scrappy doo’s. One-one at the break, Ryan Colclough has been credited with the leveller, Danny Webb hinted after the game that it a hint of oggy oggy oggy. Need to see the video, but Coco’s name’s in your morning papers.

Aldershot’s defence will be having nightmares of their own about their part in Grigg and Naylor’s goals that should have sorted the result out, but we know different! During the second half, both managers switched their formations, the hosts went from three to four at the back whilst Paul Cook did the opposite, giving Miguel Freckleton a debut. By the way, going forward, Aldershot were excellent, full of pace and ready to hit long when our full-backs were supplementary attackers. At the back, Haji Mnoga, he of Kabby infamy, was fantastic. He made two impossible goal-line clearances to deny two more goals, but like the visitors, it looked like they’d skipped the coaching manual page on collective responsibility.

Another bit of rearguard recklessness saw Shots pull one back before a quality cross and a fine header, so out of character with the goals before it, made it 3-3 on 84. We are Spireites, clearly more to come!

The characteristic late goal was quite early this week, only 87 on the clock, as Jamie Grimes’ hammered in shot was clearly hand-balled by a defender, but before the referee could whistle Dixie, the fantasy football returned and Quigs poached to enable the visiting supporters to egg on their opposites, with the travelling Spireites once again scarcely believing what they’d witnessed; scrambled brains all round. And there was still time for the home gaffer’s son (who’d only come on as a sub on the hour) to pick up a red card.

I’ve referred to Wrexham’s performances last season in a couple of Take’s this term. Their first seven games a year ago, W5 D1 L1, same as Chesterfield this season. Their game #8? A 4-1 home win over Dagenham & Redbridge with the only late goal being Daggers’ consolation. Yes Please.

The answer to the Ten Big W question at the start is that it represents Chesterfield’s results every time Joe Quigley has scored for the Spireites. Big Joe = Big W. Will Grigg’s started his Town career with a three x scored a goal = three x win record, as has Tom Naylor, so long may their runs continue.

Phil’s Positive: We are indeed Sailing, but there may well be a leak in the boat. However, at the moment we have plenty of buckets and many skilled water scoopers to prevent us from sinking, but unless a bit of patchwork is rapidly applied, bailing out at the last minute will ultimately fail and inevitably lead to some unwanted wreckage.

Next Match: The Spireites host Dagenham & Redbridge on Saturday, September 9. The Daggers have hit some form, winning their last three games. I’m not able to get to the match so Josh Marsh will be leading the 1866 Sport coverage and he will be on air from 2pm.

Chesterfield (4-2-3-1 to start): Tyrer; King (Dobra 69), Palmer, Grimes, Horton (Freckleton 69); Naylor, Jones; Mandeville, Jacobs, Colclough; Grigg (Quigley 83). Subs (not used): Berry, Oldaker.

Goals: Colclough 33, Grigg 49, Naylor 59, Quigley 87 (Chesterfield), Stokes 25, Barham 60, 84 (Aldershot)

Referee: Andrew Humphries

Bookings: Palmer, Jones, Quigley (Chesterfield), Jones (Aldershot)

Red Card: Theo Widdrington (two yellows, second on 90 mins)

Attendance: 2,249 (389 from Chesterfield)

Netcoms IT 1866 Sport Man of the Match: Michael Jacobs (chosen by Josh Marsh)