Tooley’s Take

Phil Tooley takes a look at the game and its context  

Southend United 2 Chesterfield 1 National League Game #19

It was more Barry White than Axl Rose, and there was definitely some accompaniment from Les Dawson, and we can chuck in a bit of Morrissey in there. Low key rather than hitting the high notes, with some clear and obvious mistakes and, sadly, an element of not turning up.

A goal up despite being off-colour, as was the case in the team’s only other loss at Altrincham, but then a couple of brain-freeze moments which didn’t require an extremely hard-working and talented Shrimpers side to slice open the league leaders, and the game is turned on its head.

Will Grigg reached ten for the season for the second time after ‘Dobs’ won the dubious goal panel vote post-Barnet, another typical conversion from the striker. His opposite number, Harry Cardwell, reportedly a Town target in his Chorley days, had by then forced two terrific saves from Harry Tyrer and was generally a real nuisance.

The Southend United centre-forward was mainly being fed by the marauding right-back, Gus Scott-Morriss, who for me, put in the best performance of any opponent against Chesterfield this season, frequently filling Chesterfield’s left side with fear, and forcing an array of errors that kept the hosts on the front foot.

Grigg and co were kept quiet by a rearguard led by another rumoured former Spireites target, Ollie Kensdale, who ensured that the visitors’ passing failed to connect far too often and, when in frustration, a longer game was played, he ensured that the visitors passing failed to connect far too often. It was like the instructions on a bottle of the shampoo that was analogous with his performance, rinse and repeat. He was head and shoulders above any other defender on the day.

Penalty? Yes. Challenge needed at that point? Didn’t look like it from my view (which in truth was in a glass box with plenty of peering through a myriad of posts), and as I sit with a cup of tea in my remote East Sussex holiday escape, I’ve not had the luxury of another look.

Blink and it’s another giveaway. Wes Fonguck gifted the ball, quick burst forwards, DJ did his best to challenge but only inadvertently diverted the ball and Tyrer, who’d kept his side in the game in the first half, will be disappointed he didn’t keep the bobbling ball out.

Two concessions in three minutes that sadly had a much more devastating effect than the two concessions in three minutes a week earlier, and a much harsher reminder that at no stage can concentration levels drop.

Gifted two, but in truth, Southend thoroughly deserved it. They were the better side throughout and put together the best 90 minutes of any opponent this season, without hitting the heights of Barnet’s first 45 last weekend. Kevin Maher looks to have created a siege mentality and a level of togetherness that often goes hand in hand with true adversity. Having a fair few extremely talented footballers also helps.

Paul Cook’s side had an off day, very reminiscent of Altrincham (which was followed by 14 wins and a draw in 15 by the way), as did Barnet and Solihull Moors, whilst in essence, Southend carried on what they’ve been doing all season, winning at home. That was their eighth home maximum, the same number of home wins Chesterfield have achieved. This was no fluke result.

The squad is remaining in the South for a few days ahead of Tuesday’s trip to managerless Woking, who lost their third straight NL game on Saturday, 1-0 at home to Oldham Athletic. Only bottom of the pile Kidderminster Harriers have picked up fewer home points than the talent packed Cards, who were tipped by most (me included) as play-off certs this season.

Woking feature a striker who Paul Cook knows well, Padraig Amond, who played for Cookie in the job-interview match, Chesterfield 4 Accrington 3, and the tricky Irishman has scored three goals against the Spireites, all in horrendously bad, infamous performances.

Coasting at 3-0 at half-time at Morecambe. Lost 4-3. Mud on the pitch shocker at Newport County, Chris O’Grady puts Town ahead, lost 4-1 in Frank Nouble’s finest hour and he opened the scoring last season on Whitt Moor when the Cards scored three first-half goals in their 3-1 win. So, if he scores, an early night seems a good idea!

Any road up, nightmares that end with you waking up to see that reality has your team five points clear at the top of the table with a game in hand are not of the Elm Street type. Let’s just hope Woking don’t appoint Freddie Krueger as manager before Tuesday night!

Phil’s Positive: Two defeats in 19, chuck in 15 wins and the patient remains in rude health! Corporal Jones is a long way away!

Next Match: Not long to wait, Tuesday, November 21 at Woking, 7.45pm kick-off with 1866 Sport on air from 7pm.

Chesterfield (4-2-3-1 to start): Tyrer; Mandeville, Palmer, Grimes, Horton; Naylor, Oldaker (Jones 64); Jacobs, Banks (Dobra 64), Colclough (Berry 87); Grigg. Subs (not used): Quigley, Freckleton.

Goals: Grigg 27 (Chesterfield), Bridge (pen) 61, Oldaker (og) 63 (Southend)

Referee: Stephen Parkinson

Bookings: Jones (Chesterfield)

Attendance: 8,275 (493 from Chesterfield)

Netcoms IT 1866 Sport Man of the Match: Will Grigg (chosen by Lee Francis)