Chesterfield lose top spot after heavy defeat
Chesterfield suffered their first defeat of the season with a lacklustre display as they were beaten 4-1 at a well organised Stratford side.
The defeat saw the North Derbyshire replaced at the top of the table by next week’s opponents Telford.
Four points now separate the top five teams in the division, which is shaping up to be a highly competitive push for promotion.
Speaking after the game Player/Coach, Ben Lamb, reflected on a disappointing day for his side and said: “Today was one of our worst performances since I’ve been back coaching the side.
“We were lacklustre from the start and didn’t do enough to get anything from the game.
“We struggled on the pitch and our basic individual skills were poor. Take nothing away from Stratford, they were superb today but we got nowhere near the level we have been playing at in recent weeks.
“The only positive was having Matt Lloyd back in our goal. He’s the only one that came out of the game with any credit. The save he made in the first half at 0-0 was one of the best I’ve ever seen.
“Anyway, it’s time to put a line under today and move on. Let’s see how we react when we play Telford next week”.
Chesterfield welcomed back the returning Matt Lloyd in their goal and it was his inspired performance which kept the visitors in the game in a frustrating first half.
Chesterfield were under pressure from the first whistle as the hosts set the early tempo carving out a number of good opportunities.
Struggling to get a foot hold in the game the league leaders were guilty of giving easy possession away.
With Ben Lamb off the field on a green card, Stratford looked to have converted a well worked move before Matt Lloyd reacted brilliant to leap across goal to claw the ball away from goal with his stick to keep the scores level.
In truth Chesterfield rode their luck and were fortunate to still be level.
Midway through the half Stratford did get their reward as possession was lost in the midfield and a telling pass found an unmarked Stratford forward on the back post to deflect home.
Grateful for the half time whistle, the visitors looked to regroup and address some of their shortcomings from the first half.
However the second half continued in much the same vain as the first.
Stratford enjoyed plenty of possession and territory and again applied pressure on Chesterfield’s rearguard.
The pressure told after Chesterfield failed to clear their lines from a penalty corner.
A quick first time shot flew past the unsighted Lloyd to double the hosts lead.
It quickly became 3-0 as Chesterfield were again guilty of not clearing their lines and after a scrappy exchanged the ball found its way into the net with Lloyd again unsighted.
Chesterfield did then exert some pressure of their own and they were unlucky not to get on the score sheet themselves.
The league’s top scorer Damian Jarzembowski cut a forlorn figure on the forward line as he struggled to make an impact as Stratford showed why they have the best defence in the league so far.
With Chesterfield pushing to get back in the game, gaps ultimately appeared in defence.
Stratford secured all three points when the ball was worked all too easily into the Chesterfield circle before being passed to an unmarked player on the back post to tap home. At 4-0, the visitors grabbed a consolation goal as Jarzembowski converted from a penalty corner to make the final score 4-1.