On Saturday 17th March I was at the B2Net Stadium to watch Chesterfield play MK Dons.
Both teams desperately needed victories in this game for different reasons. The Spireites had been sat in the relegation zone for the majority of the season and a win would keep them at least in touching distance of safety, while the Dons were looking to boost their chances of automatic promotion as they sat 5th in the league.
Both teams were in good form with MK Dons having won 4 of their last 6 games while opponents Chesterfield were 3 games unbeaten so it was tough game to call despite the difference in league positions.
As we arrived at the stadium, the MK Dons team coach had just pulled up and I got a picture with Karl Robinson, who at the age of 29 is the football league’s youngest manager.
It was the home side who got off to the perfect start when the ball found Drew Talbot inside the area and his first time shot flew in to the net to put Chesterfield 1-0 ahead after just 4 minutes.
Not long after, Jack Lester broke through on goal and looked to have an ideal chance to double the advantage, but his effort was saved by David Martin in the Dons net. It was Lester who set up the Spireites third good chance of the first half but Jordan Bowery blasted his shot wide of the goal.
It had been almost all Chesterfield in the first half and just before half time Franck Moussa’s shot flew just past the post. It was 1-0 at the interval but it could have easily been 2 or 3 if the Spireites had been more clinical in front of goal.
MK Dons came out after the break playing much better and dominated the early stages of the second half, forcing a couple of good saves out of Tommy Lee.
On the 56th minute the two teams were back on level terms thanks to James O’Shea, whose shot from the edge of the area was out of Lee’s reach as it flew in to the bottom corner.
Both sides wanted the 3 points and Chesterfield boss John Sheridan decided to make some changes in an effort to get his team back in to the game, although the changes didn’t seem to go down all that well amongst the home supporters. The decision to take off Moussa, who had been playing well, caused a few fans to boo the manager before Danny Whitaker was on the end of some sarcastic cheers when he was brought off, though thankfully these were short lived.
Dons looked far more likely to find a winning goal than the Spireites. First, Robert Hall hit the crossbar and then Charlie MacDonald had a golden opportunity from Lee’s parry but he could only head it back in to the arms of the keeper.
However, the game did end level which on reflection was probably a fair result. Despite a good performance and a point against a promotion challenging side, the Spireites fell back to the bottom of the League 1 table and with only a few games to go survival is looking less and less likely.
After the game I got pictures with Jabo Ibehre, Luke Chadwick, Ian McLoughlin, Charlie MacDonald, Dean Lewington, David Martin, Daniel Powell, Adam Chicksen and goalscorer James O’Shea. Finally, before heading home I had a picture with Alan Smith, who joined the Dons on loan from Newcastle United until the end of the season. He had previously played for both Leeds and Manchester United as well as making 19 appearances for England.
Chesterfield 1-1 MK Dons
Talbot ‘4, O’Shea ’56Lee, Trotman, Thompson, Ridehalgh, Hurst, Allott, Whitaker (Ajose ’73), Moussa (Mendy ’65), Talbot, Lester (Westcarr ’65), Bowery Martin, Lewington, Doumbe, Flanagan, Potter, Smith, Williams, O’Shea, Chadwick (Hall ’71), MacDonald, Ibehre (Powell ’46)