Tooley’s Take

Phil Tooley takes a look at the game and its context  

Chesterfield 2 Bromley 0 National League Game #14

Ground Control then Joe and Tom. My Hero Bowie used to live in Bromley, so any oblique reference to the great man will always find a way into any Take involving the Ravens. Total control without any real blast-off in the first half, then the countdown was on for the first goal, a rejuvenated Branden Horton supplying a rocket-powered cross for Quigley (who only scores in Town wins) to head home. Deserved.

Less than 20 minutes later, game over when Jeff King, one of six changes, really made the grade, delivering a corner onto Major Tom’s head. He was in oodles of space, a real oddity for Bromley’s usually tight rearguard. Confidence levels shot far above the moon and Planet Earth turned Blue and there was nothing Bromley could do.

This was a commanding module from Paul Cook’s side against a side who arrived on Whittington Moor in fine fettle, seven wins and a draw in eight, but they rarely looked like they would be winners on the night.

Few expected six chchch-changes, Danny Webb confirmed after the game that Dobra was rested and Freckleton was ill, the other four were all on the bench, and the returnees were all superb on the night.

Quigley, strong, dominant, confident and mobile, scored the first. His best show of the season. Branden Horton, fast, direct, defensively sound, whipped in cross for Quigley’s header. His best show of the season. King, solid at the back, willing to burst forward, good decision making, assist for Naylor. His best show of the season. Ash Palmer, confidence returned, superb early intervention to deny the Cheeky Boy, aerial dominance, accurate passing, His best show of the season.

James Berry, his pace bamboozled Bromley, tireless running, a positive performance, but not quite at the very top of his game, whilst Mike Jones was Mike Jones, and that’s as much praise as you can give him!

Add to that Ollie Banks, pushed up into the #10 role, and he was right at the top of his game. Passes, flicks, shots, headers and intelligent movement with and without the ball. His best show of the season.

Jamie Grimes, won everything, always an outlet to recycle play when the massed ranks of white shirts blocked out the advanced players. His best show of the season. Michael Jacobs, a man who had no pre-season, who’s taken a while to get to the levels we know he’s capable of, and in this game, we saw just how capable he is. His best show of the season.

Tom Naylor, I said in the summer he’d turn out to be the best signing in the NL, and he put in a performance, and a fifth goal of the season, that reinforced that view. Simple, effective.

Harry Tyrer did three-parts of nowt, mainly because the re-shaped back-four and those in front put in magnificent shifts, but what he did was sound and his decision making excellent. The team’s best show of the season and a first home clean sheet.

As complete as you’re likely to get at this level when playing a top team who were on a magnificent run.

Bromley’s travelling fans will be wondering why, with an 11-game unbeaten run, they plonked a line of five and then a line of four in a very narrow space to seek to nullify the league leaders. That plan really tested the hosts’ guile and patience, but then at 1-0, all of a sudden, the Ravens looked lively and with plenty of ambition, only for Town’s second to put an end to that brief spell.

After Naylor’s goal, Bromley looked beaten. Scorer supreme Cheek, never a look in. Powerful runner Whitely, only one powerful run all night, at 2-0. Tricky winger Josh Passley, excellent supplementary right-back. Nullified.

We all know about the strength of the squad, but if you were in any doubt, this performance should erase any uncertainties you have. This fine performance, this almost nerve-free victory came without Grigg, Dobra, Colclough, Mandeville and more starting.

There are more performances of this nature to come, there are more results of this magnitude to come, but let’s not kid ourselves, there are more Altrinchams to come, when the form cycle moves from all eight out of tens to all five out of tens, and there are more Maidenheads to come when everything was just, well, ordinary.

But this show has moved the peg in the ground forwards by several yards, with the team proving it can play in a bus park and score goals against a team that hardly concedes, whilst at the same time, not giving up cheap chances or enabling the opponent to build up any head of steam.

There may have been more attacking intensity in the Hartlepool United win, but at 2-0 down after six minutes, something drastic was needed, whereas there was as close to total control in this game as you can achieve.

Boreham Wood host Hartlepool on Wednesday evening, so have a day less to recover for our trip to Meadow Park at the weekend. Like last Saturday’s trip to York Road, the Spireites are yet to taste victory on the perfectly manicured Hertfordshire grass, so another of those familiar NL testers.

Last season, keeper Nathan Ashmore played out of his skin and Josh Rees came off the bench to grab the winner, so Town’s sharpshooters need to be at their very best (or mis-kick one in) if we’re to notch our first win at Wood.

But after Bromley, the lads have confirmed that they are in a good place, ready to maintain the club’s best statistical start to a season for 90 years (12 wins and 2 losses in 14 back in 1933, and game #15 was won).

Phil’s Positive: A patient, controlled performance with no major scares at any stage. Professional show against an in-form side. Since 2018’s drop into this section, few games can match this level of performance.

Next Match: We pop down the M1 on Saturday, October 7 for a 3pm kick-off at Boreham Wood, with 1866 Sport coverage starting at 2pm with ex-Spireites full-back Lee Francis joining me on commentary.

Chesterfield (4-2-3-1 to start): Tyrer; King, Palmer, Grimes, Horton; Naylor, Jones; Jacobs (Mandeville 76), Banks, Berry (Colclough 65);Quigley (Grigg 84). Subs (not used): Williams, Oldaker.

Goals: Quigley 55, Naylor 74 (Chesterfield)

Referee: Garreth Rhodes

Bookings: Jones, Naylor (Chesterfield), Krauhaus, Whitely (Bromley)

Attendance: 6,553 (40 from Bromley)

Netcoms IT 1866 Sport Man of the Match: Ollie Banks (chosen by Jamie Hewitt)