Feb 20 Chesterfield 1-0 AFC Bournemouth Att: 3130

Last updated : 26 February 2009 By Phil Nesbitt
Eddie has instilled the necessary fight and determination that has given us a chance of avoiding the dreaded drop out of the league. 
Due to a number of injuries there were changes to the side that started against Accrington. Wiggins had a knee problem and Pitman an ankle injury. This meant a recall for Cummings and a full debut for Feeney. Due to more reported financial problems in the club the Football League would not endorse an extension to Thomson's loan and so Molesley started. Cooper, back from suspension, replaced Partington. The disappointing thing was that we started with just one up front and as that was Fletch the mobility was almost zero. I suspect that Feeney was supposed to be playing 'off' Fletch but his inexperience showed and he was, most of the time, too deep.  
The games first real chance fell to Hollands who made a good run from midfield after good work by the team created space but he could not control the ball and before he could shoot a tackle came in and a corner was the only reward. Then came the first of many bizarre decisions from referee Mr Haywood. A poor kick by Jalal resulted in the ball being fed forward ro the onrushing Lester who appeared to be brought down by Jalal outside of the area. If it was a foul then Jalal had to be sent off but he was only shown a yellow card. Two defenders were tracking back towards the goal but would not have made it to stop a shot on target.
After 37 minutes we went behind to a controversial goal. Lester volleyed in from 5 yards after a mishit shot by Till and he was clearly at least a yard offside (after the match a Chesterfield fan who was also level with the incident confirmed that it was offside). No blame on the ref here and the assistant ref appeared to indicate to Hollands as he remonstrated that Lester was level with the last man but that was totally untrue. It also emerged after the match that Pearce felt that he had been pushed by Lester just prior to him scoring. We could not see this from our vantage point. Lester is one of those strikers that you love to hate (like Luke Beckett) due to their ability to 'collapse' under a challenge. We had two opportunities to level the score before half time but Igoe's freekick, after Hollands had been fouled on the edge of the area, and a shot from Molesley later both went wide. A draw at half time would have been a fair score.
Chesterfield started the second half the brighter of the 2 teams which was rather disappointing but it did not last long. We showed the real grit and determination to get back into the match but without Pitman we just did not have the goal power. Feeney was replaced by Connell after 53mins and showed more movement but hardly any increase in goal scoring potential. Molesley in particular was being fed the ball and running at Chesterfield regularly. He has the ability to make progress without ever seemingly to have the ball under control but causes the opposition all sorts of problems. Bartley does this slightly better but Molesley has the edge on passing.....several of the Exiles have commented that if only Marvin could pass....but as Richard Barker stated 'if he could pass he would not be playing for us!'. It was not all Bournemouth and Jalal had to make a save or two but most of the action was in front of us. A cross from Cummings hit the bar (we'd take flukey goals of course)! It was now that Mt Haywood started getting really bizarre. We had a throw in and took it about 20 yards further back than the correct place. In such incidences most refs let the play continue but not Mr Haywood. He blew up and made us take it further up the pitch. He then blew for a penalty for us that 'in my opinion' was very dubious. If the ball did strike Lowry's hand or arm there was no intent and it did not deprive us of the ball. Connell's penalty was well saved by Lee but it was at a nice height for him. Conell did not look confident before he took it and surely Igoe would have been a better taker.
With 10 minutes to go Goulding replaced Igoe as we went 4 3 3 to try and force at least a goal. We continued to huff and puff without avail. The depressing sight of Cooper hobbling off with a groin strain (to be replaced by Garry) made the defeat seem even worse. Despite 5 extra minutes we still could not score. At the final whistle Connell went straight down the tunnel in disappointment although he did acknowledge briefly the away fans. The team had a post match huddle and were hopefully lifted by the ovation given to them as they left the pitch. Most of the 250 away fans waited to do this in appreciation of the effort that had put in. Shame about some of the quality. On the balance of play I would say that we could justifyably say that we should have won. 
I have decided not to go on too much about the referee's bizarre moments. These did not really affect the result (due to Connell's miss) as he was even handed with some of his crazy moments and was consistent in his inconsistency.   
Hopefully Pitman will not be out for too long. He has, at last, started to show his goal scoring ability which will be vital if we are to stay up. Of course he can only thrive if we make chances and despite us piling forward in the second half not many chances were created at Chesterfield. True if Pitman had been playing he may have got into better positions to receive the final ball . Thomson, for all his faults, at least manages to get in one or two good crosses a match so if we can eventually resolve the problem stalling his loan extension it would be beneficial. Wiggins on the other flank plays like the Cummings of old and overlaps with gusto whereas the real Cummings is now a shadow of his former self due to injury and I cannot see him being retained at the end of his contract. This is a shame due to the efforts he put in in the past but we cannot have any sentiment in our current position.
Man of the match is a difficult decision but I have chosen Molesley as he was non stop in his efforts to make something happen and has the correct attitude and application.

AFCB: Jalal, Robinson, Cooper, Pearce, Cummings, Bartley, Igoe, Feeney, Hollands, Fletcher, Molesley
Subs: Pryce, Garry (for Cooper, 84 mins), McQuoid, Goulding (for Igoe, 80 mins), Connell (for Feeney, 53 mins)
Phil Nesbitt, Acocks Green