Tooley’s Take

Phil Tooley takes a look at the game and its context 

Chesterfield 3 Eastleigh 2 National League Match #43

You’ve got to go back to March 1980, when (though we didn’t know it at the time) Kirsten shot JR Ewing. The Dallas cliff-hanger that got the world talking. Maybe The Technique’s very own Dallas cliff-hanger won’t quite get the world-wide attention Miss Ellie’s lad got, but it flipping well got the attention of the Town fans in the 6,733 crowd (minus those who left a bit early, what a reason to prevent future premature exits!) and created another of those lifetime memories that only sporting events can.

It was the football equivalent of the Ali-Foreman rope-a-dope, take the opponent’s punishment, tire them out, then boom-boom, a couple of sucker punches to celebrate victory. The vast majority of the contest will be forgotten, the money-shot will be remembered forever.

As for Eastleigh, who dropped out of the play-off zone as a result, they will feel like they were coasting to victory in the Grand National before falling at the final fence. Don’t you just love sport?

Last two-down to win? At Yeovil Town in April 2015, Sam Hird and a brace from Jay O’Shea. Last at home? March 2008, Accrington Stanley two-up in around half-an-hour, Niven pulled one back before the break ahead of a second half own-goal and then Jamie’s Lowry and Ward made it 4-2 in front of a 3,274 Saltergate crowd. Good comeback, not quite the same emotion!

I don’t remember, and having been with Drew Talbot and Gary Roberts last night until it wasn’t yesterday any more, I’ve not yet got the reserves of energy required to start checking the last time two former Spireites scored against us in the same match, but I think the two lads heard the crowd when the third went in!

Unbelievably, it’s taken a lot of words before I even get to mention the main reason we won. Ryan Colclough. The club’s Twitter-feed’s four offerings in the usual post-match fans’ Man of The Match poll were Ryan Colclough, Ryan Colclough, Ryan Colclough and Ryan Colclough. Surprisingly it wasn’t a clear 100% vote, Colclough got just 64.4%, with Colclough on 14.5%, Colclough got 13% and, somewhat surprisingly, Colclough mustered up just 8.1% of the vote. I thought it would have been more decisive than that! My 1866 Sport colleague Jamie Hewitt also picked out the two-goal #10 whose stooping header and near-post flick got the team back on level terms.

Colclough had been the shining light in a somewhat unexpected and unpalatable first-half, in which the return of a few (aka shed load) defensive frailties led to a somewhat terse return to the changing rooms at the break, the masses were not quite as happy as they didn’t realise they were going to be an hour or so later. Good positions, plenty of possession, zip on the positive side of the scoreboard, which was itself so disappointed, it gave up the ghost.

Second-half, livelier, Eastleigh somewhat less outgoing, taking a break when possible, even after Spireites pulled on back. But when, in the 88th minute, parity was restored, it strangely felt like every blue in the house didn’t want to settle for the draw, and every blue in the house seemed to sense the opportunity.

The ‘five’ board on 90 gave a bit of hope (though it should have been more for many a reason) and, after putting two crosses from perfect positions into orbit, the Scottish super-sub picked up from Assist King out on the right, darted diagonally to the left to reach the box-edge, the blue touch paper was well and truly ignited and the fireworks that followed were far from standard (as with all my obscure references, you need to be old!).

Fortunately, all of the 1866 Sport kit was taped to the tip-up tables that are in the press area, otherwise me and Jamie’s un-choreographed and ungainly leaping around would have caused uncountable damage. Paul Cook’s touchline sprint was in stark contrast to earlier conversations he seemed to be having with some attendees, as we all enjoyed the unparalleled joy that only the beautiful game can deliver.

The current 23 points from ten games run began with a last-gasp Colclough winner at Gateshead, which was joyously celebrated by hundreds of soaking wet Spireites, but the circumstances of this game, and the importance of bagging points numbers two and three, meant the joy was off the scale. All we need now is another Westcarr Wembley moment.

A bit of gratuitous cut and paste now. My last Take ended with a health warning, and like on a packet of baccy, the message needs reinforcing: If you’re of a nervous disposition, make sure you attend / stream / listen to the remaining games with a responsible adult, who (just in case) should also have a nurse or ideally a doctor in attendance. It ain’t going to get any calmer anytime soon.

Torquay up next, fourth bottom, battling with Aldershot Town to stay up, but they’re on a better run than Wrexham, Notts County, Chesterfield, Woking, Barnet, Boreham Wood and Bromley, the top seven, indeed they’re the only team in the NL with a five match winning run.

We managed to shoot down the Spitfires, we don’t want to be dumped on (word substitution here is perfectly acceptable) by the Gulls. Arrange the nurse now. 

Phil’s Positive: Spirit both amongst the team and in the crowd. The emotions on 90+5 are exactly why we attend football matches.

The Spireites’ next game is on Tuesday, April 18, 2023, at home to relegation-threatened Torquay United, who despite that have won five on the bounce. 7.45pm kick-off; 1866 Sport will be live at the stadium from 7pm.

Chesterfield (4-2-3-1 to start): Fitzsimons; King, Palmer, Grimes, Maguire (Horton 83); Banks, Jones (Dallas 66); Mandeville, Oldaker, Colclough; Quigley (McCallum 66). Subs (not used): Uchegbulam, Asante.

Goals: Colclough 72, 88, Dallas 90+5 (Chesterfield), Mitchell 10, Carter 33

Referee: Ben Atkinson

Bookings: Fitzsimons, Mandeville (Chesterfield), Mitchell, Kelly, Whitehall (Eastleigh)

Attendance:  6,733 (74 from Eastleigh)

Netcoms IT 1866 Sport Man of the Match: Ryan Colclough (chosen by Jamie Hewitt)