Hird still has sour taste from Walsall controversy

Chesterfield vs Walsall - Dion Donohue receives his marching orders - Pic By James Williamson
Chesterfield vs Walsall - Dion Donohue receives his marching orders - Pic By James Williamson

Chesterfield’s Sam Hird says he still has a sour taste after a controversial incident in last Saturday’s clash with Walsall.

The centre-half was making his way back into position after the Spireites had conceded a second half goal, when a number of the Saddlers players ran into him.

Hird was pushed towards the byline, and the Walsall fans, in scenes he says he’s never witnessed before.

And the result was a red card, not for a visiting player, but Chesterfield’s Dion Donohue, who was accused of throwing a punch in the melee that followed.

It was a harsh outcome for the Spirites, says the man in the middle of it.

“I’m quite a relaxed person, I just think it was all a bit ridiculous,” he said.

“You’ve got to show a bit of class sometimes, they’re a good footballing side, but when you celebrate like that it leaves a sour taste.

“I don’t see why it initially starts, the guy has got seven or eight yards to go and celebrate with the fans, but he chooses to run in my direct path, forearm me to my neck area, which I think is a sending off offence in itself.

“I tried to throw him out of the way, three or four of their players have scrummed up and taken me towards their fans.

“I’m in the melee with one or two of their players, one or two of our lads have come over and I’m not sure what’s happened after that.

“He’s sent Dion off for an alleged punch, Dion says he hasn’t punched him and we all believe him.

“On the video I think it’s hard to tell what happens really.

“How can you send one of our players off and not send one if not two of their players off for the forearm and the scrum, if you can call it that, it’s poor refereeing.

The sending off proved costly for Chesterfield, who went on to lose 4-1.

Hird isn’t so sure that would have been the outcome had Donohue not left the pitch.

“They’re a good footballing side. Would they have won with 11 men, I don’t think they would have done.

“They had a lot of the ball in the first half without creating too much, we created two good chances and obviously got the goal through a bit of luck.

“We thought we could make a really good game of it in the second half and come away with three points or a point.

“The second goal and what’s followed it has changed the outcome of the game.

“But it’s football and we move on.”

What they move on to is a tricky trip to Scunthorpe, a side who won 3-0 at the Proact earlier in the season, when another red card – for Dan Jones – proved Chesterfield’s undoing.

Hird thinks the Spireites can get regain the form that saw them go unbeaten in five before the Walsall clash.

“We do owe them one, and it will be a tough game,” he said.

“They’ve had a half decent season, have some good players and we’ll have to be at our best.

“But we’re confident, we’ve lost 4-1 against Walsall and it wasn’t a freak game considering some of the bad defeats we had earlier in the season, but taking into account how we’ve done in our last five or six, we’ll go there with confidence believing we can take three points.”

Saturday’s opponents Scunthorpe are led by Nick Daws, who has now taken charge of 10 games as a manager.

Chesterfield, conversely, are enjoying the chance to work with a boss who has presided over more than 1,000 matches.

Hird said: “I’m enjoying it, I think all the lads are, playing under an experienced manager with an experienced back room team behind him.

“It can only be better for players, not just young lads learning the game, but seniors who still need that push and that training every day to perform to the best of their ability.

“It’s good for everyone to have such an experienced manager.”