On 14th November 2009 I visited Rochdale’s Spotland Stadium for the first time to watch them play Chesterfield in a vital game at the top of League 2.
Both sides came into the match a Spotland in the top 7 places of League 2 and the game was important for the teams promotion challenges.
We had booked places on the supporters coach a few weeks before and we arrived in Chesterfield ready to get on the coach at 11am. Ex Chesterfield legend Andy Morris was outside Saltergate as we arrived and I got a photo with him. Coincidentally Andy was celebrating his birthday on this day and he played for both Chesterfield and Rochdale!
As we arrived in Rochdale the weather had turned and it was pouring it down with rain. We ran round the ground to get some photos, including getting let inside for some good photos of the ground empty, and then we went to a bar near by to get a drink before the game.
We went into the ground about 30 minutes before kick off and I was quite surprised to see that the Chesterfield fans had been seated in the biggest of the 4 stands in the ground. The ground itself seemed rather good, with three stands of seating and a one with terracing behind the goal. The floodlights struck me as a bit odd as they seemed to be pointing the wrong way but they seemed to light the pitch up well enough.
As the game kicked off at 3.00pm Chesterfield immediately began to dominate, finding holes in Rochdale’s defence over and over again. Jack Lester scored the first on 25 minutes when he poked the ball in at close range from a free kick that got flicked on. Almost straight after it was 2-0. Jack Lester broke through and beat Rochdale’s keeper in a one on one situation.
Drew Talbot had a great chance to make it 3-0 but he failed to put this away and the Spireites went into the half time 2-0 ahead and looking like taking home all 3 points.
However Rochdale came out looking like a different team, dominating the early stages of the second half. It was 2-1 on 49 minutes when O’Grady scored after the Spireites failed to clear a corner. Just 7 minutes after the second half kicked off it was 2-2. Seconds before Jack Lester had a great chance for 3-1 but after failing to score Dawson equalized for Rochdale.
Chesterfield managed to regain control of the match and former Rochdale player Dave Perkins bulleted the ball into the corner to send Chesterfield home with all 3 points.
I felt that the Spireites deserved the 3 points as they dominated the whole game except for the first 10-15 minutes of the second half. This puts Chesterfield in 5th place so it’s looking good for us this season!
Andy Morris outside Saltergate
Inside the club shop
The Chesterfield players warm up
The view from our seat
The teams line up
1-0 to Chesterfield
2-0 to Chesterfield
Chesterfield fans are sent home happy