We kicked off towards the open end through a veil of drizzle. It soon became apparent that Chesterfield had come for a point and would try to slow the game down at every opportunity (not that we would ever do anything like that away from home!). However, they looked a decent side and with Blatherwick stopping Fletcher from winning headers, the early exchanges indicated a tight game to come.
Elliott was managing to whip dangerous crosses in from the right, and from one of them Fletcher hooked the ball well into the car park. Soon afterwards the Big Man had another shot charged down. The visitors were content to sit back and try to hit us on the break, and it took a good interception by Eddie to thwart Mark Stallard.
Despite winning half a dozen corners in quick succession, we failed to turn pressure into goals, although Broadhurst, Connell and Elliott all went close, the latter landing a back-header on top of the crossbar.
Warren Cumming then appeared to get himself booked for being attacked by a Chesterfield player, a minor ruck ensuing. Eventually we would win the game 4-2 on yellow cards.
From a Spireites free kick, Stallard found himself unmarked but put his header wide of the post. Something of a let-off. However, two minutes before half-time, we nearly scored the goal which, on balance, we deserved when Garreth O’Connor’s cross-cum-shot deceived everyone, only to rebound off the crossbar. Fletcher hooked the ball back in, Connell failed to get a touch, and finally Elliott fired narrowly wide.
The woodwork then came to our rescue at the other end when the lively Campbell-Ryce rose to meet a Stallard cross.
Fletcher had limped off just before the interval with what looked like a hamstring injury, and it was no surprise that Deadly Derek Holmes started the second half in the Cherries’ attack.
Three minutes into the half, a Spicer header looked goal-bound only to be headed off the line by Evatt. Seven minutes later Connell appealed in vain for a penalty, claiming he was pulled back as the tried to connect with O’Connor’s cross.
As the game wore on, we continued to play good approach football with Spicer and Stock bossing the midfield and Wader a constant threat on the right flank, but up front the cutting edge just wasn’t there against a well-organised Chesterfield defence. To add to the frustration, the visitors were now becoming prone to injuries which necessitated frequent attention by their physio. Funnily enough, the same thing happened when they visited us last season.
In a rare Spireites attack, Neil Moss was forced to tip a dipping shot over the crossbar, while at the other end Connell had a chance with a header from a Neil Young cross, but saw his effort flash a yard wide of the post. Dani Rodrigues replaced him shortly afterwards, but had little time to make an impression.
A disappointing result, and Big Fletch’s injury is another blow, coming so soon after Hayter’s knock. Despite their spoiling tactics, the visitors defended well and could have snatched all 3 points. In fact, their keeper hardly had a save to make in the second half as we attacked the North End, which is a matter of concern. Connell was as eager as ever, but badly needs a goal. On the positive side, Deadly had one of his better games. Cummings looks almost back to full fitness, and of course Eddie is back where he belongs! In fact, no-one had a bad game and our passing was crisp despite the rain-sodden pitch. Lets hope someone else, perhaps a midfielder, can chip in with a few goals.
Or we could recall Andrade from Dorchester…
Stock, always wanted the ball and showed a few bits of arrogant skill
Ellis Griffin, Chertsey