Tooley’s Take

Phil Tooley takes a look at the game and its context  

Maidenhead United 1 Chesterfield 1 National League Game #13

Flippin’ Magpies! The Nottingham branch pinched the gleaming golden ticket back in May and (in Game #13), who else but shiny Sho-Silva would be on target to nick the chance of a Spireites inaugural victory at York Road? Sorry about the cheesy intro, but what a cracker from Jacobs to ensure we at least matched our best ever showing in our sixth trek to Maidenhell. 

Our first meeting with them of the season, one for sorrow. Meeting #2 is the last match of the season and I’m happy to predict it will be two for joy! It may have been Py-NOT so good in this game, but come our next game with Maidenhead United, on the final day of the season, that song by the singer of Maggie May will be belting around the SMH as we sail back to the Promised Land. And that’s a promise (please read terms and conditions, no come-back allowed if bad advice given!) 

Despite reading plenty of ne’er-do-well comments, all anyone needs to do is open your eyes wide and look at the big picture. It’s a cracker, as the funniest member of his family, Frank, used to say! This one-liner wasn’t as successful as most, but it didn’t fall too flat, although it did represent the first match this season that Chesterfield haven’t taken the lead at some stage. That said, they’ve played six times at Maidenhead and haven’t led at any stage in any of those visits. 

All of the teams’ previous five visits to this 1871 vintage ground have been shockers, never turned up, returned home with a shortage of points and even a shortage of noses. This time, it was far from vintage #Cookball, but for the first time at York Road, there were glimpses of grabbing a potential win, albeit it one that would have been a stuttering one. That said, it took a Worldy from Harry Tyrer to keep out Sam Beckwith’s 25-yarder and keep the precious point intact, whilst what looked a nailed on pen for a clip on Will Grigg denied the striker from scoring what could have gone on to be the winner for the visitors.

Too many stray passes, disappointing crosses, untypically ordinary set-plays and occasional poor decision making were on the agenda, and the home side probably played better than a run of five straight defeats and just one goal in over 12 hours suggested. 

The Spireites stars didn’t shine as brightly as we know they can, an odd twinkle, but a bit too much Rip van Winkle, not asleep on the job, but plenty of yawning. 

In defender James Golding and midfielder Ashley Nathaniel-George, Alan Devonshire’s side had the two most effective players on the park, and with keeper Craig Ross being in solid form, he made four excellent saves, the outcome of this game remained in the balance right until the final whistle. Either side could have nicked it, neither would probably have deserved it. Town’s first away draw of the season was just about right. 

The Cheeky Boy, the man with more goals in the National League than any other player (138) is in Town on Tuesday. Seven goals in 11 games against Chesterfield to date and he bagged a brace in Bromley’s win over Gateshead on Saturday. The team we beat in the play-offs last season have hit some solid form. 

Since losing their first two games, Andy Woodman’s charges are unbeaten, including seven wins from their last eight games, climbing to fourth spot. Former Spireite Grant Smith is their keeper and the manager has raided the loan market with seven squad members being borrowed, four from the Premier League, two from the Championship and one from League One. A tough game is assured, both home games with Bromley were won 3-2 by Chesterfield, the play-off semi-final as well as the regulation NL game played last October. 

No fixture feels more non-league than Maidenhead United away. Old ground, part-time, wily old manager, sloping pitch, not many fans but very noisy and supportive ones, and they change ends at half-time. And we all think they should be steamrollered (and we’re always wrong). Six times we’ve set the SatNav for York Road, and sadly six times the SatNav has taken us there and we’ve ended up wondering why we went. 

Long may Maidenhead United and their ilk continue, they are the lifeblood of football and their communities. But Cookie, it’s time now to set the SatNav for the EFL, and let us moan about not winning at Bradford City, Walsall or Crewe Alexandra, that’s much more fun!

Phil’s Positive: An excellent 32 points after 13 games. Last season, after 14 games, Wrexham had accumulated only 31 points! Still sailing in the right direction and leading the race. 

Next Match: Fourth-placed Bromley visit the SMH Group Stadium on Tuesday on October 3. 1866 Sports coverage starts at 7pm with kick-off at 7.45pm.

Chesterfield (4-2-3-1 to start): Tyrer; Mandeville, Williams, Grimes, Freckleton; Naylor, Banks; Dobra, Jacobs, Colclough (Berry 79); Grigg (Quigley 84). Subs (not used): King, Palmer, Oldaker. 

Goals: Jacobs 58 (Chesterfield), Sho-Silva 30 (Maidenhead)

Referee: Jason Richardson

Bookings: Grimes, Williams, Berry (Chesterfield), Mitchell-Lawson, Adams, Omilabu (Maidenhead)

Attendance: 1667 (573 from Chesterfield) 

Netcoms IT 1866 Sport Man of the Match: Miguel Freckleton (chosen by Howard Borrell)