Big talking points as below-par Chesterfield held to draw by Dover Athletic
The Spireites extended their unbeaten start to the season to five matches despite being held to a goalless draw by lowly Dover Athletic.
Chesterfield had the better chances in the game to win it but overall they did not hit their usual high standards and had to settle for a point in Kent on Saturday.
It was not the result or performance that Town wanted but it is still another point and a clean sheet on the board.
Also, it is important to remember that they did not lose here. They were far from their best but still managed to get something from the game.
Last season’s play-off finalists Torquay United and well-fancied title contenders Stockport County have both won one of their first five, while Chesterfield are yet to lose and have only conceded in one game. It’s not all bad.
The performance against Bromley was Chesterfield’s best of the season and this one was their worst. But both accumulated the same amount of points and that is football in a nutshell.
Dover were the better side in the first-half but they failed to create a clear-cut chance.
The hosts were aggressive, athletic, dynamic and quick but for all their efforts they were restricted to shots from distance and corners.
You wondered whether the part-timers might run out of steam but to their credit they never did.
They pressed and harried the Spireites into going long and making mistakes and then tried to get the ball up the field as quickly as possible with some direct play.
Town lacked control in the midfield area and they did not string many passes together.
Too many players were below-par apart from the excellent Gavin Gunning who seemed to be leading the charge on his own at times.
The Blues improved after the break but still did not do enough to deserve taking all three points.
Dover deserved their point but Chesterfield did have the best chance to win the game.
The big moment came just before the hour-mark when a good move down the right ended in Kabongo Tshimanga flicking the ball into the path of Liam Mandeville who fired over from about eight yards. It was a glorious chance and he had to score.
A similar move from the opposite flank involving another Tshimanga flick to Mandeville resulted in his shot being blocked.
In the first-half Tshimanga forced a save from Josh Bexon and Gunning headed over a corner.
Other than that, there was not much created but had they been more ruthless they could have pinched a win.
The most disappointing part of the afternoon was that Dover worked harder than Chesterfield in the first 45 minutes.
All the talk before the game was about it being a ‘banana skin’ with Dover having lost three out of three this season so the players had been warned.
Boss James Rowe said: “We need to learn our lesson that we need to respect the opponent from the start. If you don’t do that, you can come undone.”
‘Hard work beats talent when talent does not work hard’ is a phrase that comes to mind.
3-4-1-2: Loach; Kerr, Gunning, Maguire (Grimes, 72); Carline, Oyeleke, McCourt (Weston, 50), Miller; Mandeville (Khan, 78); Rowe, Tshimanga. Unused subs: King, Payne.