On Saturday 12th January 2013, I went to the Proact Stadium to watch Chesterfield play Northampton Town in League 2.
This January transfer window is going to be a very important and transitional time for Chesterfield. Paul Cook has already allowed Craig Westcarr and Luis Boa Morte to leave the club, while four more players have been placed on the transfer list. Meanwhile, Liam Cooper and Jay O’Shea have joined the club on a permanent basis as the new manager looks to build a squad worthy of taking the Spireites back to the third tier.
The target this season is promotion for the Spireites, but two consecutive defeats to Accrington Stanley and Wycombe Wanderers had seen Chesterfield fall four points off the play offs in 11th position. Meanwhile, today’s opponents Northampton Town were on a good run coming in to the match with three league wins in a row, beating Aldershot Town, Dagenham and Redbridge and Fleetwood Town, which had seen the Cobblers move to 9th in the League 2 table, just a single point of the top seven.
Cook made three changes to the Chesterfield side that lost at Adams Park last Saturday, with transfer listed Neal Trotman, Danny Whitaker and Craig Clay taking the places of the injured Drew Talbot, Luis Boa Morte and Mark Randall in the starting eleven. Aidy Boothroyd name the same team to the one that had comfortably beaten Fleetwood Town 3-1 at home last weekend.
Chesterfield started the game strongly and Marc Richards forced an early save out of Alex Nicholls with a shot directly from a free kick.
The home side broke the deadlock on the 18th minute when Danny Whitaker cut the ball back to Jay O’Shea, who turned in the box and fired home from close range to put the Spireites 1-0 ahead. Just a mintue later and it was 2-0 to Chesterfield as a defensive error from Clarke Carlisle allowed Richards through on goal, and the striker calmly slotted the ball past the goalkeeper to double the advantage.
Richards scored his second and Chesterfield’s third goal of the game on the 25th minute to put the game almost beyond doubt. A nicely waited pass from Tendayi Darikwa played the number 9 through on goal again and he made no mistake as he slotted the ball in to the bottom corner to make it 3-0.
Adebayo Akinfenwa came close to pulling a goal back for the visitors, but his powerful strike was instinctively saved by Tommy Lee before the Spireites had a chance to add to their lead but Clay fired an effort straight at Nicholls after some neat build up play.
The second half was considerably quieter than the first, with Northampton desperatley searching for a way back in to the game but they were rarely able to break though the solid Spireites back line.
The Cobblers did come clsoe on a couple of occasions, with Clive Platt sending a shot just wide of the far post and Chris Hackett came closest for the visitors when his strike from the edge of the box smashed off the post.
Northampton’s search for a goal continued and Ben Harding’s free kick was saved by Lee and the keeper made it an excellent double save when he blocked Jake Robinson’s effort from the rebound.
At the other end, the Spireites came close to adding to their lead but Danny Whitaker wasted a good opportunity as he fired well over the crossbar. He then almost turned provider as his cross found Trotman in the area, but the defender couldn’t direct his header goalwards and the game ended 3-0.
It was an excellent performance from Chesterfield and a well-deserved victory which sees them remain in 11th position but now just one point away from the play offs. The Cobblers meanwhile fall to 10th place, ahead of the Spireites in the table on goal difference.
After the game, I met and got photos with Northampton’s veteran defender Clarke Carlisle, former Spireite Ishmel Demontagnac and the Cobblers’ most famous player Adebayo Akinfewa.
Chesterfield 3-0 Northampton Town
O’Shea ’18, Richards ’19 ’25Lee, Smith, Trotman, Hird, Cooper, Darikwa, Togwell, Whitaker, Clay (Randall ’76), O’Shea (Wafula ’90), Richards (Lester ’85) Nicholls, Widdowson, Langmead, Tozer, Carlisle, Guttridge, Harding (Demontagnac ’82), Hackett, Platt, Akinfenwa (Hornby ’74), Robinson Attendance: 5,467