Shrimp-wristed Spireites blasted for season’s worst show
CHESTERFIELD succumbed to an out-of-form Shrimps side, conceding one in each half whilst failing to score at the B2net Stadium for the first time.
The host’s performance was abysmal, as far away from a top-of-the-able side as you could imagine, particularly when you consider that John Sheridan’s men went into the game on the back of two morale- boosting away wins whilst Sammy McIlroy’s visitors hadn’t won in nine.
Chesterfield-born former Spireite Kevan Hurst, borrowed from Carlisle United, hit the opener whilst teenager Jimmy Spencer, a Huddersfield Town employee, effectively ended the contest after the break.
The Football League’s official statistics indicate that John Sheridan’s men had two shots on target. They’re wrong; the divisional top scorers didn’t have any at all. Zero!
The chances recorded were a shot from Jack Lester and a header from the man who he replaced in the starting line up, Scott Boden, who came on straight after the second goal.
Lester found himself in space in the box from a Deane Smalley pass and looked odds on to shoot but he chose to make a forward pass to Craig Davies on the edge of the six. Former Spireite keeper Barry Roche sussed out the intentions and intercepted the ball. It went down as a shot in the data, but it wasn’t.
Boden’s alleged effort, a downward header following a Drew Talbot cross that Roche gathered with ease, was indeed on target. However a linesman’s flag indicated the striker was offside but the referee waved play on as Roche had the ball in hand. Statistics again technically incorrect.
Hurst scored midway through the first half, by which time it was clear that the Spireites were in substandard shape.
He picked the ball up a few yards inside the Chesterfield half, turned and ran, unimpeded, to a spot 25 yards out and hit a low ball that beat Tommy Lee’s right-sided dive.
In deference to his home town, his celebrations were low key though he was warmly applauded by the home fans for a more-than-decent goal.
The killer blow, though on the evidence on the park one goal would always have been more than enough, was inadvertently teed up by Hurst.
Andy Parrish crossed from the right, Hurst totally mishit a half volley but the ball fell for Spencer to lift above the keeper to register his fifth goal of the campaign, all of them coming in away matches.
Just to add to the statistical confusion, Chesterfield did have the ball in the net. After the second goal, Davies was marshalling Roche as he prepared to kick clear. The big Irishman was about to punt forwards when the striker’s leg rose to nick the ball and he rolled it into the net. No contact was ever made but in this day and age players can’t interfere with a keeper’s kick so a foul was given and the Spireites’ leading scorer earned a booking.
For the full 90 minutes, the body language of Spireites players was negative, they couldn’t string two passes together and they let a side clearly not one of League Two’s best dominate with ease.
The manager was just about lost for words but did manage to say: “It was a shocking performance. I expected us to be a lot better and for us to get a positive result but that was the worst performance of the season.
“I was praising the players in the last three games for the way we played and it made picking the side quite easy. It was virtually the same side that’s been taking care of the ball but I was just watching different players.
“I’m gutted for the supporters; they’re all frustrated but I was very frustrated because that performance doesn’t merit a side that’s top of the table and I’ll apologise for it. We had some bad players.
We looked flat from the first few minutes, no energy. When you’re top of the table, nine or ten points clear, you go out with a swagger, even before the game, and that’s what I want them to be doing.
“You don’t go out flat with the attitude that I’m not bothered about playing today but that’s what it looked like.”
Tomorrow second-placed Wycombe come to town, so a change in personnel and attitude is expected and needed.