10 key matches that won Chesterfield the National League title and EFL promotion

Chesterfield have put on a show this season as they ran away with the National League title.
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Our Spireites reporter Liam Norcliffe has followed them up and down the country all year and he has picked out 10 games which were key to their success:

4 v 3 win v Dorking Wanderers

Looking back, this game was a microcosm of the whole season. Four goals banged in. A last-gasp winner from Joe Quigley. A comeback. Liam Mandeville and Ryan Colclough scoring and assisting. Goals from set-pieces and corners. Counter-attack goals conceded. After losing at Wembley, it was always going to be important to start with a win – and they did it in style. A seven-goal thriller was an epic way to start what has been an epic season.

Chesterfield players celebrate inside the dressing room. Picture: Tina JennerChesterfield players celebrate inside the dressing room. Picture: Tina Jenner
Chesterfield players celebrate inside the dressing room. Picture: Tina Jenner

2-1 defeat v Altrincham

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I’ve included this defeat because it was the first of the season. Perhaps it was a small wake-up call for some people. The loss was also followed-up by seven straight wins. And they still haven’t lost back-to-back matches.

3-2 win v Hartlepool United

This one sticks in the mind because the Spireites were 2-0 down after just six minutes and the atmosphere was starting to turn. There were some chants for Laurence Maguire. After drawing against Oldham Athletic and then losing at Altrincham, some people were getting anxious. But after pulling a goal back shortly after, Town totally dominated and got another deserved added-time winner. From then on, whenever the Blues trailed at home, nobody panicked because everyone knew this team had some serious bottle.

4-3 win v Aldershot Town

Another thriller and another late Quigley winner. Chesterfield trailed 1-0, led 3-1, were pegged back to 3-3, before winning 4-3 in the 86th minute. Although defensively things didn’t improve immediately, this was the game that highlighted all of their weaknesses that needed ironing out – and they did. It was also the first time that we saw a back three in the latter stages – something that we would see more regularly away from home as the season progressed.

1-0 win v Ebbsfleet United

September 16 not only brought about the first clean sheet of the season – at the ninth attempt – but it also took Chesterfield top of the table. They would stay there for the rest of the campaign.

4-2 win v Barnet

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Had Barnet won they would have pinched top spot off Town. Instead, Paul Cook’s men scored four times from minutes 50 to 86 to blow them away. That took Chesterfield five points clear with a game in hand. It clearly knocked the Bees because they then lost three in a row in the league to leave them 11 points behind.

2-0 win v Woking

After losing at troubled Southend United, all eyes were on Chesterfield to see how they would respond at Woking three days later. It wasn’t the prettiest of performances but they got the job done. It was also the start of another good winning run.

3-0 win v Southend United

You could pick any of the five consecutive league wins in January, particularly the games in hand against Gateshead, Altrincham and Woking. This victory at the end of the month put the Spireites a massive 18 points clear and they had still played two games fewer than second-placed Bromley. Cook deservedly got manager of the month.

2-0 win v Barnet

Chesterfield were never really in any danger of throwing their lead away but if there was to be a late collapse then losing at rivals Barnet might have sparked it. Instead, they came away with a solid victory to go 23 points clear with just 11 fixtures remaining. It was done.

3-0 win v Boreham Wood

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Obviously. This was the day the title was confirmed and promotion sealed. Six years of hurt over. Memorable scenes. Captain Jamie Grimes swapped Wembley tears for Whittington Moor joy. The party of all parties commenced. And the greatest hashtag (#WheresMandy) was born.

*Buy this week’s copy of the Derbyshire Times (out Thursday) for a special promotion supplement. You can also order a copy HERE