Chesterfield's answer to their goalscoring problem could lie in new signings and a home grown talent
It's not defensive lapses that has put Chesterfield in the National League's bottom five '“ it's a toothless attack.
The Spireites have conceded 18 goals so far this season, which gives them the 14th best defensive record in the division.
They’ve kept five clean sheets in 15 outings and on six occasions only conceded a single goal.
The goals for column betrays the real issue faced by this Town team.
The dozen goals they’ve scored makes them the fifth worst performing side in the division when it comes to finishing off attacks.
They’ve been shut out completely in six games, four of which were 1-0 defeats.
In some matches, they were left to rue missed chances.
In others, they wouldn’t have scored if they’d played all day.
Against AFC Fylde, Chesterfield put in the kind of solid, defensive display that forms a platform for a victory.
Danny Rowe, so often the scourge of non-league defences, was kept quiet for the vast majority of the contest.
The three men in midfield made it difficult for the Coasters to play through the centre of the park – denying them the freedom and space Gateshead and Maidenhead both enjoyed at the Proact.
A clean sheet sets you up with a great opportunity to take three points.
But having eradicated the problems at the back and the silly mistakes that have cost them dearly in a number of games, they failed to solve their other conundrum – how to put the ball in the net.
Very few chances were created, almost none from open play.
There were two opportunities of any real note, both headers and only one of those came from a rare quality delivery.
Tom Denton, who was undoubtedly fouled in the box at least once without being awarded a penalty, hasn’t had the necessary service to open his account.
He scored six goals for Alfreton before arriving, so came with a decent bit of form.
Lee Shaw, that sitter at Dagenham aside, has had very few goalscoring opportunities in Spireite blue.
Marc-Antoine Fortune’s involvement has mostly been, as is his forte, build up play.
Saturday’s midfield could only boast two goals, both of those belonging to Curtis Weston.
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So where are the goals going to come from?
Going direct to the head of Denton has yielded just one goal for the Spireites in his five appearances.
That goal, scored by Fortune at Maidstone, was just about the first time anyone both read and reached one of the big man’s flick ons.
It’s not that he’s not winning the headers.
It’s not even always the case that the headers are to no one – they are quite often into good, dangerous areas.
The problem seems to be that no one is in possession of the necessary pace to reach the ball.
Shaw has come close but ultimately pulled up in despair.
At his previous clubs, Denton’s best work has often come when the ball is played into his chest or feet, so he can feed others then get himself into the box to benefit if a decent cross came his way.
Oh for a decent cross.
The return of Zavon Hines, having been able to rest his knee during a three-game suspension, will be a major boost for Martin Allen.
Hines possesses the quickness of feet that causes problems and makes chances for himself and others.
But the potential loan signing signing of Alex Kiwomya could be a masterstroke.
Chesterfield have lacked that out and out pace to stretch defences, get in behind and crucially, ensure Denton’s flick ons don’t simply hand possession back to the opposition.
With the expected arrival of Kiwomya it can’t be said that Allen is sitting on his hands and hoping things will get better.
But the presence of a truly pacy striker isn’t going to solve the goalscoring woes.
The centre-halves still need to make better decisions on the ball, it can’t always be a big punt to the big man.
And midfielders need to be quicker, smarter and braver in and around the box – the area where Town attacks all too often go to die.
Perhaps this week’s other loan signing, right0back Jake Bennett, will allow Jonathan Smith to go back into midfield and in turn give Joe Rowley license to roam and remind us all of that youngster who looked so dangerous in League One.
Just maybe the answer lies within.