Chesterfield 1-2 Stockport County – The Morning After

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Well, that opening day defeat at Torquay has quickly been forgotten about hasn’t it? It’s four wins on the bounce since then, the latest on Saturday night thanks to Alex Reid’s 85th minute winner at Chesterfield in front of the BT Sport cameras. County fan Gareth Eccleston and Derbyshire Times writer Liam Norcliffe look back at Saturday’s match for The Viaduct.

Photo courtesy of Mike Petch.

Yesterday’s match in one word:
Gareth – Gritty.
Liam – Frustrating.

Pre-match thoughts:
Gareth – I knew it would be a tough game, but we had a good chance of taking all three points. We’re bang on form and the squad depth means Gannon can influence the game with subs too.
Liam – Before the game I think most Chesterfield fans would have taken a draw and it was looking that way until Stockport’s 85th minute winner.

Post-match thoughts:
Gareth – I was absolutely buzzing as it was great winning so late on. Fully deserved the win, but it was nice to see the game out as you never know with football. I wanted to show my daughter the highlights, as she decided to watch a film instead of the match. I was also wondering when my takeaway was going to arrive.
Liam – Disappointed, but not that surprised. Chesterfield have had a habit of conceding late goals in the last year or so and unfortunately it happened again on Saturday.

Verdict on County:
Gareth – We started the game very well, which I was surprised with as we normally flop on live TV. I thought we were going to absolutely turn them over after we got the first, but the blatant penalty decision swung the game in Chesterfield’s favour. Overall, we put in a dogged performance and I was hopeful that we would kill the game eventually. Everyone put a real shift in and we deserved the three points.
Liam – I think I expected a little bit more from them, but perhaps Chesterfield can take some credit for that. Stockport will definitely be challenging for the title and they have a good, experienced manager in Jim Gannon.

Verdict on Chesterfield:
Gareth – They were camped in their own half for the first 20 odd minutes. Tom Denton is always an aerial threat so I was anxious when they counter-attacked. As a club, you expect more from Chesterfield. But they remind me of us when we dropped out of the Football League. Expectation probably exceeds what their current team can achieve.
Liam – You can’t fault their effort or commitment and they managed to get back in the game when it looked like County might run away with it after taking the lead. There were some positives, but unfortunately no points at the end of it.

Best player on show:
Gareth – Lois Maynard. He makes things look effortless and reminds me of a better Lewis Montrose. Let’s not forget how good Lewis Montrose was either. For Chesterfield, their keeper kept them in the game.
Liam – A close call between young defender Jamie Sharman and midfielder Liam Mandeville for Chesterfield. Mark Kitching for County. He scored a great goal and caused Chesterfield lots of problems.

Atmosphere:
Gareth – I watched it from home on the sofa in the front room. It was great to watch County in HD! I ensured the missus was upstairs and out the way as she’s just not bothered about football. I thought my daughter might have watched it with me as she is a County fan, but she fancied a film upstairs instead. She’s only four so I’ll let her off for now.
Liam – I covered the game for the Derbyshire Times so I was in the press box. These are very surreal times at the moment reporting on football matches with no fans. A temperature check and a face mask is the ‘norm’ now. The players get changed at opposite sides of the ground and enter the field with little fuss or build-up. The sooner fans are allowed back into stadiums the better.

Hopes for the rest of the season:
Gareth – I refuse to get carried away, but we all know what is expected. The depth in the team and the quality has no reason not to achieve that. Everything seems to ‘fit’ including the squad, the manager and the owner.
Liam – I think if Chesterfield finish mid-table or sneak into the top half most Spireites fans will be satisfied with that after two years of struggle in this division.

And here’s a few other bits and bobs…..

League table: How does the song go again? Yeah, that’s it. “We are top of the league.” That would have been belted out from the away end for the last five minutes on Saturday (and all the way home on the train) but for now we’ll just have to enjoy it from home. Chesterfield are in the relegation zone.

Next up: Chesterfield head to Wealdstone on Tuesday night for a rearranged league game, which will hopefully tire them out before County play them again on Saturday, this time for a place in the first round of the FA Cup.

Trivia: County’s first win at Chesterfield since April 2004, when goals from Rickie Lambert, Jon Daly and Danny Jackman secured a crucial 3-0 victory at Saltergate, in the fight to stay in Division Two.

Shame about Covid: A Saturday evening at Chesterfield. And a County winner following a mad scramble, at the away end, with five minutes to go, to send us top of the league. Can you imagine the scenes we’d have witnessed?

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