On Saturday 25th August 2012 I went to the Proact Stadium to watch the local derby between Chesterfield and Rotherham United in League 2.
The last time these two teams had met, Chesterfield had convincingly beaten the Millers 5-0 in probably the best performance I have seen by any team in a match. However, a lot had changed since then and the two sides met once again in League 2 today with both looking to pick up a vital 3 points in what could be called a ‘six-pointer’ even this early in to the new season.
The Spireites’ season had started poorly, with just a single point picked up out of a possible six. Meanwhile, Rotherham had had a mixed start to the new campaign, having beaten Burton Albion 3-0 in the first ever league game at the New York Stadium before losing 2-1 away to Northampton Town in midweek.
The stadium gradually began to fill up as kick off approached and the Rotherham supporters filled the away end. The total attendance was a respectable 7,232 at the Proact Stadium, the highest of the day in League 2.
Chesterfield got off to the perfect start by taking the lead in the third minute. The ball was played forward to Drew Talbot and as Millers keeper Scott Shearer charged out to close down the angle, he slipped on the turf leaving Talbot the chance to square the ball to Jordan Bowery, who fired the ball home from just yards out to make it 1-0.
The Millers thought they had equalised soon after when Lionel Ainsworth received the ball on the edge of the area and smashed the ball in to the back of the net. However, the referee judged that he had controlled the ball with his arm and so the goal was disallowed. Ainsworth had another chance to score when Kayode Odejayi flicked the ball forward to him but his shot was stopped by goalkeeper Tommy Lee.
At the opposite end, Nathan Smith nearly doubled the Spireites’ lead in remarkable fashion when his attempted cross hit the inside of the far post before being cleared by the defence.
The weather took a horrendous turn for the worse early in the game with torrential rain, thunder and lightning. This seemed to affect the play as the rain got heavier and there were few great chances for the remainder of the half. However, right at the end of the half Ben Pringle received the ball inside the area and his shot look destined for the goal only to be denied by a world class save from Lee.
Incredibly, by the time the players were coming out for the second half it was warm and sunny. Only in Britain would you get such a change in conditions in such a short space of time!
It took just 6 minutes of the second period for Rotherham to draw level courtesy of a powerful strike from Odejayi. The striker turned defender Sam Hird before charging towards goal and blasting the ball in to the back of the net. The Chesterfield captain Hird nearly cost his side once again when his poor back pass left Odejayi through on goal. He squared the ball to Pringle inside the box but his shot was stopped by a last ditch block from Neal Trotman.
The Nigerian forward continued to cause problems when his back pass found Ainsworth who cut inside and shot just wide of the target.
The visitors were looking the more likely to take the lead with around 20 minutes to go and so manager John Sheridan decided to bring on Jack Lester in an attempt to change the game. The manager also borught on Liam Ridehalgh, who has rejoined the club on loan from Huddersfield for his second spell at the club.
While the changes made the game much more even, there were few clear cut chances to steal the victory as the game rather petered out. The final score was 1-1 and while it was a good point for the Spireites against a side full of confidence, it did leave Chesterfield still without a victory in their opening 3 games of the new season.
After the game, I met Rotherham ‘s Gareth Evans, Ben Pringle, Johnny Mullins, Andy Warrington, Scott Shearer, Kari Arnason, Jason Taylor, Kieran Agard, Kayode Odejayi as well as manager Steve Evans and Chesterfield defender Terrell Forbes.
Next up for the Spireites is a trip to Gillingham, who have won all 3 of their opening games and so it will certainly be a tricky game.
Chesterfield 1–1 Rotherham United
Bowery ‘3, Odejayi ’51Lee, Smith, Forbes, Trotman, Hird, Allott, Togwell, Whitaker (Ridehalgh ’78), Talbot, Richards (Lester ’71), Bowery Shearer, Wilson, Sharps, Arnason, Ainsworth (Agard ’73), Taylor, Evans (Revell ’81), Bradley, Pringle (Rose ’90), Noble, Odejayi Attendance: 7,232