Phil Tooley takes a look at the game and its context
Stockport County 1 Chesterfield 1 FA Cup fourth qualifying round
Chesterfield won 7-6 on penalties
It was all a bit surreal for me. I’m one of the lucky few able to physically attend games at the moment, but for this Cup tie, BBC Radio Sheffield were not granted access to the game, so I watched the live stream whilst enjoying a pint or two (I wasn’t counting) of Golden Bud at Brampton Brewery with several other Spireites (and one Hatter).
Believe it or not, it’s the first time I’ve ever watched Chesterfield live ‘on telly’. I’ve physically been at all of our televised games over the years, except for a 1-1 draw at Brentford when work intervened and I was unable to watch that game on the box.
I’m not a great watcher of live football, I’d prefer to be physically at somewhere like Clay Cross Town than watch a Premier League match on TV. It’s only really England games or a Cup Final that tempts me, so to see the Spireites in this manner was indeed a new experience for me.
With Twitter feed saying we were lining up with three at the back and the commentator John Keighran, someone I’ve known for an awful long time, saying it was 4-3-3, the first task was to try and nail that, but the first half camera angles didn’t really help the cause, so when my second pint arrived, I gave up the challenge and just watched on. A solid first half, our first away 45-minute clean sheet of the season, so all was reasonably good.
After the break, even the home commentary team was of the opinion that Chesterfield were looking the more dangerous and they were extremely relieved when Liam Hogan pounced on an error to put County ahead. Best order another pint from Brampton’s Jonty, who was known to all in the room as a Stockport fan. He tried hard not to be too smug!
We always looked capable of getting back in it. Was Tom Denton offside? Difficult to tell, but there was no doubting his tee-up for Milan Butterfield to strike well to grab a deserved, if late, leveller and penalties were on.
Cue more surrealism. The commentary feed was a second or so in front of the pictures, so Keighran had called the outcome just as the taker was taking, so the jeopardy was somewhat deflated! We knew John Rooney and Josef Yarney’s efforts would be saved and the startled tone of the voices clearly indicated that Sam Minihan’s effort was set for orbit.
Butterfield the leveller stepped up after his best 90 minutes to date and (as we knew a second in advance) earned us a place in Monday’s first round proper draw. Joy that could only be fully appreciated after two and a half hours in a brewery.
What my new experience confirmed is that football isn’t football without fans being there. Whilst live streaming is a great initiative and the quality was excellent, it’s no substitute for the real thing.
Macclesfield Town’s sad demise means that John Pemberton has a full week to work with the squad for the first time since the season started and he has something positive to work on ahead of the long trip to Yeovil Town next weekend, when, all being well, I’ll be back in their rickety press box in the cold with no beer anywhere near. Perfection!
Phil’s Positive: Off the park, £9,375 prize money will be very welcome; on it, Milan Butterfield’s best show to date.
The Spireites‘ next game is on Saturday, October 31 at Yeovil Town, kick-off 3pm.
Team v Stockport: Letheren, Cropper, Yarney, Evans, Maguire, Buchanan (Tyler Denton 82); Butterfield, Weston, Kiwomya (Mandeville 85); Denton, Tyson (Rawson 77).
Subs (not used): Wharton, Sharman, Smith, Boden.
Goals: Chesterfield – Butterfield 86, Stockport – Hogan 58