On Saturday 25th September I went to Don Valley Stadium to watch unbeaten Chesterfield play fellow promotion-pushers Rotherham United.
Rotherham United actually play their home games in Sheffield, so it is very easy for us to get to. However, we have only been once before, and that was to watch Derby play there, not Chesterfield.
The thing that puts me off is how bad the ground is. It’s not a football ground, its an athletics stadium. There is a running track around the outside and no matter where you sit you’re quite a distance from the pitch. Of course Rotherham are only here temporarily until they can build their own ground, after they fell out with the owner at Millmoor.
With Chesterfield on an unbeaten run and Rotherham also favourites for promotion, we decided to go to Don Valley anyway.
When we arrived, we walked around the outside of the ground, taking plenty of photos, and bought a matchday programme. From the outside the stadium looks quite impressive for a league 2 ground. It is quite big and looks different to most football grounds.
It’s when you get inside that you discover that the ground isn’t a football stadium. The away end is in a rather bad position, and as a fellow Chesterfield fan described it, “you’re sat a mile away and at a 70 degree angle”.
We got a decent seat considering, though the opposite goal looked tiny and you couldn’t tell who was who at that end during the game.
The game kicked off in front of 5,365 fans, 1332 of which were from Chesterfield. There was some banter between opposing fans as the game started, singing songs and trying to create as good an atmosphere as possible.
The game got off to a slow start, neither side really taking control. Both sides had a few chances in the first half but none were very good and neither side managed to score. Jack Lester had the best chance of the half, going one on one with the keeper but it was saved.
Rotherham’s star man Adam Le Fondre gave the Millers the lead on the 53rd minute, lobbing the ball over Tommy Lee and into the net, much to the delight of just over 4000 Rotherham fans.
With Chesterfield one goal down on the hour mark, John Sheridan took dangerman Jack Lester off and brought on Dan Gray, which seemed a bit crazy to alot of the away supporters.
In the last 20 minutes Chesterfield had a flurry of chances, forcing some decent saves by Millers keeper Andy Warrington, but they never really looked all that threatening.
Chesterfield’s 7 game unbeaten run had come to an end in a very disappointing fashion. A poor game to match a poor ground and in honesty 0-0 would have been a fair result. However, Chesterfield still sit 4th in the leage 2 table and there’s still plenty of time to go as we enter the month of October.