Chesterfield miss chance to top National League after falling to defeat to Maidenhead United

Chesterfield suffered just their second defeat of the season against a spirited Maidenhead United side on Tuesday night.

By Liam Norcliffe
Wednesday, 19th January 2022, 11:42 am
Kabongo Tshimanga scored his 22nd goal of the season against Maidenhead United.
Kabongo Tshimanga scored his 22nd goal of the season against Maidenhead United.

Goals from Josh Kelly and Dan Sparkes put the Magpies ahead after 20 minutes before Jeff King halved the deficit on the stroke of half-time with an excellent free-kick.

Kabongo Tshimanga continued his remarkable scoring run to equalise in the second-half before the hosts retook the lead as Kelly grabbed his second of the game with 11 minutes remaining.

MISSED OPPORTUNITY

A win would have taken the Spireites two points clear at the top of the league with a game in hand on promotion rivals Halifax. It was always going to be a tricky away fixture, Maidenhead have beaten Bromley and Wrexham on their home turf this season, and so it proved as Town’s 12-match unbeaten league record went up in smoke. But it is important not to get too down. At the halfway stage James Rowe’s men have only lost twice and they are still in a very promising position to challenge for the title.

WHAT WENT WRONG?

The Blues found themselves two goals behind and it was all their own doing. They gave the ball away far too cheaply inside their own half and did not win enough second balls. The mistakes were uncharacteristic from a team unbeaten in 12 leagues games before kick-off.

The first goal came about after a loose pass was pounced on by Kelly and he beat Scott Loach from outside the area. The Spireites stopper got a hand to it and possibly should have kept it out. More sloppy play led to Tyrone Williams making a foul on the edge of the box and Sparkes punished the visitors from the resulting free-kick. It was well hit, but again Loach may be disappointed he did not stop it going in.

After doing so well to level the score, it looked like Chesterfield would go on to complete the comeback and take the three points. But a panicky five minutes where they lost some territory and failed to clear their lines cost them dearly as they conceded from a corner after a near post flick-on was turned in by Kelly at the back stick. The saying in football is, if you can’t win it, don’t lose it, but that is exactly what happened.

The Spireites have played Maidenhead United six times since being relegated from League Two and they are still yet to beat them. Bogey team.

FIGHTBACK

Town did show some spirit to get back into the game as King’s superb free-kick before half-time gave the visitors a lifeline. And eleven minutes into the second-half they were level as Tshimanga bagged his 22nd goal of the season when he prodded in from inside the area. After that it was one-way traffic and it looked like it was just a matter of time before they got the third. But the spirited hosts regrouped and managed to ride the storm and pinch the points.

MORE FIREPOWER NEEDED?

Rowe has already stated he would like to bring in at least two players and this loss could speed up that process. They have a strong squad but they are probably just lacking a bit more firepower in the final third, although that was not the reason why they lost this one. After Tshimanga, Danny Rowe and Saidou Khan are the joint top scorers with just five and the former has not played since October. Another option in central midfield is needed too, in my opinion, especially with Manny Oyeleke’s injury situation.

MORE TO IT?

Is it just a coincidence that Chesterfield’s two league defeats this season have come away at teams who play a physical and direct style of football? They got outmuscled at Woking and at times that happened here as well. But they have also stood up to the similar challenges that Boreham Wood and Wrexham threw at them.

INJURY WOE

Jim Kellermann was forced off at half-time with a twisted hip so he could be out for a bit. It was a night to forget overall.

TEAM

(3-4-2-1) Loach; Williams, Grimes (Payne, 79), Croll; King, Weston, Oyeleke, Whittle; Kellermann (Asante, 46), Mandeville (Khan, 73); Tshimanga. Unused subs: Maguire, Miller.