On Tuesday 23rd October 2012 I went to the Proact Stadium to watch Chesterfield play football league newboys Fleetwood Town.
Before today’s game, me and my Dad met up with our friend Paul Collier for a chat and some photographs together. Paul, who currently works for Fleetwood Town, has given me lots of tips and support with my football writing over the past few years and it was great to finally meet him.
Coming in to the game, the Spireites were on an inconsistent run of form that had seen then lose two of their last four league games. However, a 1-0 victory away at Exeter City on Saturday had given the fans some opimism that the Spireites could now begin to push towards the play offs. Rumours of a potential new manager in the form of Accrington Stanley boss Paul Cook received a mixed reaction from the supporters, but victory in this game could be the start of a good run for Chesterfield with changes looking likely in the upcoming weeks.
Last season’s Blue Square Premier champions Fleetwood Town had made a very impressive start to life in League 2. The Cod Army, who were tipped as one of the sides to do well this season, hadn’t disappointed as they sat in 3rd position with just a single defeat in their last six league matches. There was little doubt that this was sure to be a tough match for the home side.
Caretaker manager Tommy Wright had made two changes to the side that had come away from Exeter with all 3 points. Danny Whitaker returnd to the starting line up after a short absence, taing the place of Criag Clay in midfield while veteran striker Jack Lester replaced Craig Westcarr up front. Former Premiership player Luis Boa Morte also remained in the first team having played every minute since joining the Spireites earlier in the month. Meanwhile, Fleetwood boss Micky Mellon made two changes to the side that drew with AFC Wimbledon on Saturday, with Jamie McGuire and Alex Marrow replacing Steven Gillespie and Damien Johnson in the starting line up.
Fleetwood started the game brightest and they were ahead after just 6 minutes. Dean Howell’s corner wasn’t cleared properly and the ball eventually fell to Steve Gillespie, who turned and fired a low shot past Richard O’Donnell to put the Cod Army ahead.
The visitors continued to control the early stages of the game and Youl Mawene came close to doubling the advantage soon after when his deflected strike was instinctively stopped by the feet of the Chesterfield goalkeeper.
At the other end, Luis Boa Morte charged down the wing and his low cross was almost turned in to the net by defender Rob Edwards. The Spireites started to grow in to the game, but they were frustrated by a physical Fleetwood side who made it very difficult for the Chesterfield attackers to create many good opportunities to level the score.
Finally, on the stroke of half time, Tendayi Darikwa levelled the scoreline with a magnificent strike from the edge of the area. Sam Togwell’s long throw in eventually fell to the 20 year old who hit a sweet side footed volley past Fleetwood goalkeeper Steve Davies to make it 1-1 at the break.
The second half saw end to end action as the two sides desperatley searched for a winning goal. Drew Talbot fired the ball in front goal but Togwell’s outstretched foot could only poke the ball wide of the target. For the visitors, Jamie Milligan’s free kick found Jamie McGuire who directed his headed effort just over the crossbar.
In an attempt to win the game, Tommy Wright brought on both Nathan Smith and Marc Richards after their lenghthy absences due to injury. However, the return didn’t last long for Richards who aggrivated his injury and had to leave the pitch just six minutes later, being replaced by Craig Westcarr.
The substitute almost made an immediate impact when Darikwa played Westcarr through on goal, but his effort was saved by Fleetwood goalkeeper Davies.
The Cod Army found the winning goal right at the death to steal all 3 points. In the 90th minute, Milligan’s free kick crashed off the post and caused a goalmouth scramble before the ball was inadvertently turned over the line by Chris Atkinson.
The result was probably a bit harsh on Chesterfield, who had battled hard and deserved at least a point. However, this is a results business and the 3 points went to Fleetwood, who stay in 3rd place while the Spireites remain in the mid table mediocrity of 13th place.
After the game, I met Chesterfield’s new signing Luis Boa Morte and legendary stiker Jack Lester. From Fleetwood Town, I met Jon Parkin, David Ball, Jamie Milligan, Barry Nicholson, Junior Brown and Scott Davies.
The defeat leaves Tommy Wright looking increasingly unlikely to get the manager’s job full time and with Paul Cook rumoured to be the favourite for the role, there could be big changes at the Proact Stadium in the coming weeks.
Chesterfield 1–2 Fleetwood Town
Gillespie ‘6, Darikwa ’44, Atkinson (og) ’90O’Donnell, Forbes, Hird, Darikwa, Ridehalgh (Smith ’78), Togwell, Whitaker (Richards ’78 (Westcarr ’84)), Atkinson, Talbot, Boa Morte, Lester Davies, Howell, Brown, McLaughlin, Mawene, Edwards, Fowler (Milligan ’70), McGuire, Marrow (Nicholson ’90), Gillespie, Barkhuizen (Ball ’62) Attendance: 4,372