On Saturday 26th November 2011 I was at the B2Net Stadium to watch Chesterfield play local rivals Sheffield United.
Today’s game saw Chesterfield take on one of the Sheffield clubs for the second time this season and they couldn’t have come in to the game in worse form having failed to win a match in the league for over 2 months. Meanwhile Sheffield United were looking to continue in their push for promotion and were expected by most to beat the Spireites easily.
However, Chesterfield had always been a bit of a bogey side for the Blades, and United hadn’t won in Chesterfield in a competitive fixture since 1951 so the Spireites were sure to be no pushovers.
As I am from Sheffield, the games against these clubs are always extra special for me. I actually live closer to Bramall Lane than the B2Net Stadium and it was the first times that the two teams had met in the league in my lifetime, so I was very excited and it really added to the rivalry for me.
The atmosphere was brilliant with 9,259 fans packed inside the stadium, 2,001 of who had made the short journey to Chesterfield.
The game got off to a scrappy start with a few tackles flying in during the early stages. The Blades had the first good chance with a goalmouth scramble which resulted in the Blades hitting the post before the ball was finally cleared away.
Both sides cancelled each other out and both had good chances but failed to break the deadlock. The Spireites’ best chance of the half fell to Lee Johnson, who received the ball from Leon Clarke inside the area, but his shot was tipped wide by goalkeeper Simonsen. United nearly opened the scoring late in the first half but Porter couldn’t get on the end of a low driven cross in front of goal and the game remained level at the break.
The two sides had evened each other out in the first 45 minutes and you wouldn’t have known that these were two teams battling at opposite ends of the table as both looked like they could win the game.
After the break, Chesterfield began playing well and pushed to take the lead. Loan signing Tope Obadeyi picked up the ball near the Chesterfield goal and ran the length of the pitch, beating two men, before selfishly firing a weak shot at goal himself when Clarke was in yards of space inside the area. Clarke came closest for the Spireites not long after when, with his back to goal, he fired a shot that clipped the crossbar.
United came back and piled on the pressure and it look like they had taken the lead when Stephen Quinn flicked the ball over goalkeeper Fleming and in to the net, only for the goal to be ruled out through offside.
With 8 minutes left to play, it was the Blades who took the lead when Ched Evans turned past Trotman on the edge of the area and fired the ball in to the bottom corner to send the travelling United fans crazy and break the hearts of the Spireites who had put up a good fight against promotion contenders.
John Sheridan made a triple substitution which included Jack Lester making his return after being out for 2 months with injury. However, this proved to be too little too late for the Spireites as United saw out the 1-0 victory.
After the match I met and had pictures with United players Harry Maguire, Steve Simonsen, Marcus Williams, Lecsinel Jean-Francois, David McAllister, Johnny Ertl, Stephen Quinn, Lee Williamson and goalscorer Ched Evans.
I was disappointed to lose to our rivals, but the way the side had performed had shown positive signs that the side may be able to get out of the relegation zone.