Chesterfield 0-1 Southend United – League 2

ProactSouthend

On Saturday 26th January, I went to the Proact Stadium to watch Chesterfield play Southend United in League 2.

This was a match between two of the bigger teams in League 2, with both targeting promotion to the third tier this season. Coming in to the game however, they were sat outside the top seven and it meant that this was a very important contest for the two sides.

In the reverse league fixture just over a month ago, the Shrimpers had come away comfortable 3-0 winners but the visitors hadn’t won a game since Boxing Day. Chesterfield had also had a mixed start to the new year, losing the first two games away to Accrington Stanley and Wycombe Wanderers before an excellent 3-0 victory against Northampton Town two weeks ago.

Chesterfield boss Paul Cook named the same starting eleven from the win over the Cobblers in their previous fixture and he put new signings Richard Brindley and Armand Gnanduillet amongst the substitutes. Two changes were made by Paul Sturrock to the Southend side that had lost to Brentford in the FA Cup in midweek, with Michael Spillane and Ryan Leonard taking the places of Anthony Straker and Luke Prosser.

Heavy snow on the Friday night had put the game in some doubt, but excellent work from volunteers in the build up to the match ensured that it went ahead. In fact it was quite a mild day in Derbyshire despite the large piles of snow all around the stadium.

The first half was rather scrappy with few opportunities for either side. Southend came close to breaking the deadlock early on but they were sopped by some excellent goalkeeping. Kevan Hurst’s cross was flicked on by Ryan Cresswell to Gavin Tomlin, but his strike was quickly smothered by Tommy Lee.

Chesterfield best chances of the opening 45 minutes came from two free kicks in quick succession. Richards twice came close with direct strikes from the edge of the area, the first being tipped on to the crossbar with the faintest of touches from Paul Smith before the goalkeeper was again forced in to action as he palmed away the second attempt.

The Spireites’ number 9 again came close to opening the scoring at the start of the second half. Tendayi Darikwa headed the ball goalwards and it fell to Richards, whose close range shot was well-saved by Smith.

Southend created a good chance of their own when Sean Clohessy went on a mazy run before playing Barry Corr through on goal, but the striker scuffed his effort as he attempted to turn and shoot and it rolled harmlessly into the arms of Lee.

Jack Lester was brought on with around 30 minutes to play and Chesterfield began to push forward in search of a goal that would almost certainly win them the game. However, they lacked the clinical finishing required and this was shown as Smith and Whitaker both sent weak efforts towards goal.

Then, with just seven minutes left to play, the Shrimpers stole all three points. Michael Timlin stole possession from Sam Togwell before playing through Tomlin, who made no mistake as he calmly slotted the ball in to the far corner to elate the travelling supporters.

Cook handed a debut to 6ft4 Ivorian striker Armand Gnanduillet with around three minutes to go, and he almost became an instant hero as he met a corner but sent the ball bouncing over the crossbar. Fellow substitute Conor Townsend then almost snatched a point for the Spireites but the Shrimpers goalkeeper pulled out another magnificent save at the death to earn his side the victory.

Southend had failed to create many clear cut opportunities but when their chance came, they were much more clinical in front of goal than the Spireites and ultimately this proved to be the difference. The result sees the Shrimpers move up in to the final play off spot while Chesterfield remain in mid-table in 11th position.

After the game, I met Southend goalscorer Gavin Tomlin, Barry Corr and former Spireite Kevan Hurst. I also got photos with Jack Lester, Jay O’Shea and Armand Gnanduillet on the day of his Chesterfield debut.

Chesterfield 01 Southend United

Tomlin ’83

Lee, Smith, Trotman (Gnanduillet ’87), Hird, Cooper, Darikwa (Lester ’64), Togwell, Whitaker (Townsend ’80), Clay, O’Shea, Richards
Smith, Clohessy, Spillane, Cresswell, Phillips, Leonard, Barker, Timlin, Hurst, Corr, Tomlin
 
Attendance: 4,817
 
Chesterfield supporter Jeff Hall helps to clear the snow in the car park

Chesterfield supporter Jeff Hall helps to clear the snow in the car park

A snowy day in Chesterfield

A snowy day in Chesterfield

Hard work from volunteers ensured that the game could go ahead

Hard work from volunteers ensured that the game could go ahead

Southend make their second visit to the new stadium

Southend make their second visit to the new stadium

Programme seller Luke

Programme seller Luke

Queues for tickets alongside the large piles of snow

Queues for tickets alongside the large piles of snow

The Shrimpers team coach

The Shrimpers team coach

Snow at the edge of the pitch

Snow at the edge of the pitch

The view from the TV gantry

The view from the TV gantry

The two teams make their way on to the pitch

The two teams make their way on to the pitch

The players line up

The players line up

The Chesterfield players prepare for kick off

The Chesterfield players prepare for kick off

The visitors huddle up prior to the game

The visitors huddle up prior to the game

Paul Sturrock awaits the kick off

Paul Sturrock awaits the kick off

The game gets underway

The game gets underway

A couple of travelling supporters sit by a flag

A couple of travelling supporters sit by a flag

Neal Trotman keeps a close eye on Gavin Tomlin

Neal Trotman keeps a close eye on Gavin Tomlin

Tendayi Darikwa and Crhis Barker

Tendayi Darikwa and Crhis Barker

Paul Cook looks on from the home dugout

Paul Cook looks on from the home dugout

The fans in the Kop watch the match

The fans in the Kop watch the match

Sam Hird and Barry Corr battle for possession

Sam Hird and Barry Corr battle for possession

The away supporters

The away supporters

A flag on the away end

A flag on the away end

Ex-Spireite Kevan Hurst

Ex-Spireite Kevan Hurst

Marc Richards lines up a free kick

Marc Richards lines up a free kick

The Spireites win a second free kick almost immediately

The Spireites win a second free kick almost immediately

Richards forces a save out of the goalkeeper

Richards forces a save out of the goalkeeper

The floodlights shine over the Proact Stadium

The floodlights shine over the Proact Stadium

The substitutes warm up at half time

The substitutes warm up at half time

Armand Gnanduillet warms up

Armand Gnanduillet warms up

The second half kicks off

The second half kicks off

Nathan Smith takes a throw in

Nathan Smith takes a throw in

Chesterfield boss Paul Cook makes a change

Chesterfield boss Paul Cook makes a change

Nathan Smith gets the ball out of the net after Tomlin puts the visitors ahead

Nathan Smith gets the ball out of the net after Tomlin puts the visitors ahead

The Southend players celebrate in the snow

The Southend players celebrate in the snow

The Shrimpers take the lead with just 7 minutes left

The Shrimpers take the lead with just 7 minutes left

Gnanduillet makes his Chesterfield debut

Gnanduillet makes his Chesterfield debut

The final whistle is blown

The final whistle is blown

The Southend players celebrate with their supporters

The Southend players celebrate with their supporters

The Chesterfield fans head home

The Chesterfield fans head home

The snow at the Proact

The snow at the Proact

Behind the goal

Behind the goal

Southend's Kevan Hurst

Southend’s Kevan Hurst

Barry Corr

Barry Corr

Goalscorer Gavin Tomlin

Goalscorer Gavin Tomlin

'Super' Jack Lester

‘Super’ Jack Lester

Jay O'Shea, who recently joined the Spireites on a permanent basis

Jay O’Shea, who recently joined the Spireites on a permanent basis

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