Tooley’s Take

Phil Tooley takes a look at the game and its context  

Chesterfield 3 Dagenham & Redbridge 1 National League Game #8

A bit of a truncated Tooley’s Take today, and posted (like a Town goal) very late! The reason being that I wasn’t at the game and didn’t get home until Sunday afternoon. We were privileged to have had a superb dinner in the magnificent setting of the Long Room at Lord’s (we didn’t let the side down, we were the last guests left in there, the umpire’s finger went up at midnight to send us back to the pavilion, aka Premier Inn).

Indeed, with it being about 32 degrees outside and with faulty aircon inside, the Euston Premier Inn was my listening location. Fortunately, no images exist of me dancing in my pants (literally on fire) when WG gracefully slotted in the injury time pen to all but win it.

Coco’s free-kick and Bangers’ blast (ninth different scorer this season), confirming sausage rolls always beat Just Ham sandwiches, both got solid shrieks, but the lone excessive movement in the tropical heat was reserved for what (at the time I hoped) was the winner. Back from behind again, it’s no good, but in truth, they are always the best wins.

I popped into the SMH in the morning of the game to bring the commentary kit and I bumped into Paul Cook and had a great one to one coaching masterclass, with the gaffer moving around the car park demonstrating certain elements of his team’s approach. He’s still got quick feet!

But then, when that familiar stabbing feeling from the Daggers came along to enable them to get one over the reshaped rearguard, despite what sounded a dominant opening half hour or so, it was more of the same with the opposition in front.

That’s the third time in four games we’ve been behind but won. The only one where we were never behind was Oldham Athletic, and we only drew that game!

I’ve just watched the highlights and two magnificent strikes and a fantastic direct run to earn the penalty confirmed what we all know anyway, that the sharp end is pretty well formed. An astonishing 22 goals scored in eight games have ensured Spireites are right up there, but we still all crave a clean sheet.

The highlights showed that the visitors could have had a couple more before the break, but a save and a miss meant that the turnaround score was manageable.

When Grigg was floored just outside the box, Colclough continued the incredible stat of at least one goal from a set-play scored in every game. His shot was like a Fury knockout punch, his celebration much more Bruno v Boro.

Ironically, the last time I followed a game from a hotel room was back in 1996, in The Hilton in Antwerp, the FAC first round win over Bury (Mark Williams after a corner), but then, no commentary or streaming, it was just staring at the little green numbers on Ceefax!

By the end of the season, Chesterfield FC was all over the World Stage, so let’s hope my hotel hollering this season leads to some similarly high points and plaudits. That said, can you ever expect any National League championship-winning club making National or International headlines? Annhebygol.

Ebbsfleet United next weekend. We need to break their pattern of results after they returned to this level form the NLS. Their eight games have gone WLWLWLWL.

On Saturday, they lost 2-1 at Wealdstone, a game I spoke about in the Long Room with the host of the evening, ex-Middlesex and England bowler Angus Fraser, who’s a Stones supporter.

Key defender Chris Solly was red-carded, so will presumably be suspended, but their talismanic striker Dom Poleon (38 goals last season, 7 goals in his last 5 games this season), wasn’t playing. I wondered if he was injured, but on checking up, he was on International duty for St Lucia. He managed a hat-trick (plus an assist) in a 5-1 away win at Sint Maarten. He’s played Town on six occasions, scored three, and hasn’t yet tasted defeat against the Spireites. Can we arrange an air traffic control strike, sharpish?

That said, we’ve never lost to Ebbsfleet (W2 D2), scoring ten goals along the way including those three in the second half in January 2019 to earn a point (thanks to a Will Evans pen save). That match would be much more unremarkable this season, maybe it would even be considered ‘normal’.  

Fantastic fan numbers again; last season saw the highest average of home fans since the club moved to 1866 Sheffield Road. The home numbers to date are 10% better than that, and with games like we’ve witnessed to date this season, I see no sign of those numbers falling in the near future.

The temperatures at the Dag & Red match made it the hottest ticket in Town. Comebacks like those seen against Dorking, Hartlepool and now Dagenham will ensure that tickets will continue to be snapped up in modern day unprecedented numbers. And it’s wonderful to see.

Phil’s Positive: Coming from behind again shows the spirit in the camp, and the re-shaped defence shows the versatility in there.

Next Match: The Spireites travel to Ebbsfleet United next Saturday, September 16. The match kicks off at 3pm with 1866 Sport coverage starting an hour earlier.

Chesterfield (4-2-3-1 to start): Tyrer; Mandeville, Williams (Quigley 83), Grimes, Freckleton; Naylor, Jones; Dobra (Banks 88), Jacobs(Berry 66), Colclough; Grigg. Subs (not used): Palmer, Oldaker.

Goals: Colclough 72, Grigg (pen, 90+2), Banks 90+7 (Chesterfield), Rees 39 (Dag & Red)

Referee: Steven Copeland

Bookings: Tavares, Vincent (Dag & Red)

Red Card: Harry Phipps (69 mins)

Attendance: 7,203 (111 from D&R)

Netcoms IT 1866 Sport Man of the Match: Liam Mandeville (chosen by Jamie Hewitt)