On Saturday 29th September 2012, I was back at the Proact Stadium to watch Chesterfield face Torquay United in League 2.
It was a pleasant autumn day in Chesterfield as Torquay United made their 3rd visit to the Proact Stadium. The two sides were just a single place apart in mid-table with equal points and goal difference so it was sure to be a close fought game this afternoon.
Ahead of today’s game, Chesterfield were unbeaten in eight in all competitions. However, they have been draw specialists this season and this meant the Spireites had only actually won three of those matches. Caretaker manager Tommy Wright named the same side that had held Northampton Town to a goalless draw last week while new loan signing Micah Evans was named on the bench.
Meanwhile, Torquay had also made an inconsistent start to the new campaign with just two victories in their eight league matches. Gulls manager Martin Ling made two changes to his side from the previous game, which included former Spireite Ian Morris being kept out of the side due to injury.
One of the main talking points of the visit of the Gulls was the return of Aaron Downes. The Australian defender had spent eight years at Chesterfield from 2004 until the end of this season before being released by the Spireites at the end of last season. He had then been snapped up by Torquay during the summer and is a regular face in the Gulls’ defence.
The early stages of the game were very scrappy with neither side taking a hold of it. The Gulls almost took the lead in a crazy fashion early on when a shot was deflected goalwards off Sam Hird and tipped on to the crossbar by Richard O’Donnell.
Chesterfield hit back on around the 10 minute mark when Drew Talbot hit a shot from inside the area which was saved by Michael Poke in the Torquay net. Talbot had another chance soon after but his first time shot flew wide of the target.
The home side were the more dominant force for the rest of the first half but the chances were few and far between. It was goalless at the break which was probably a fair reflection of a rather uninspiring 45 minutes.
The game burst in to life shortly after the restart with two goals in the space of three minutes. Tendayi Darikwa gave the home side the lead with his first ever professional goal on the 48th minute. Craig Westcarr played the ball through to the midfielder who slotted the ball past Poke to make the score 1-0.
Torquay hit straight back through their star striker Rene Howe on the 51st minute. The attacker picked up the loose ball after Neal Trotman slipped while in possession and he fired the ball in to the bottom corner to score his sixth goal of the season and level the scoreline.
The Spireites attempted to regain the lead as they took control of the game once again. Westcarr saw his curling effort from the edge of the area go past the post while an incredible amount of corners were wasted by Chesterfield as the visitors held out well. In the end the game finished level as there was nothing between these two evenly matched sides.
After the game I met Torquay United manager Martin Ling, goalscorer Rene Howe and fellow players Lloyd Macklin and Kevin Nicholson. Former Chesterfield striker Jordan Bowery also returned to watch today’s game after moving to Aston Villa in the summer and I had a picture with the Premiership player.
Today’s game was a very even affair and in the end the Spireites probably could have come away with all 3 points. However, Torquay were good value for the draw and it was probably a fair scoreline.
Chesterfield 1–1 Torquay United
Darikwa ’48, Howe ’51O’Donnell, Forbes, Trotman (Whitaker ’78), Hird, Ridehalgh, Togwell, Westcarr (Hazel ’89), Darikwa, Talbot (Evans ’64), Atkinson, Lester Poke, Oastler, Nicholson, Downes, Saah, Mansell, Macklin (Thompson ’71), Bodin, Easton (Cruise ’28), Stevens (Jarvis ’76), Howe Attendance: 5,117