Chesterfield stay top of National League after gritty win against King's Lynn Town - talking points

Chesterfield started the new year with a hard-fought win against King’s Lynn Town to stay top of the National League.

By Liam Norcliffe
Saturday, 1st January 2022, 8:40 pm
Liam Mandeville scored Chesterfield's winner against King's Lynn Town.
Liam Mandeville scored Chesterfield's winner against King's Lynn Town.

Liam Mandeville struck the winner from the edge of the box on 51 minutes.

SCRAPPY

It was not the prettiest of wins but nobody will care at the end of the season if the Spireites win promotion.

Not for the first time this campaign, without particularly playing well in possession, they found a way to win and that is what good teams do.

Chesterfield were always in control of this one and never looked like losing it, it was just a case of whether they could win it.

Credit to King’s Lynn for their organisation, shape and defensive work. They restricted the Blues to very few clear-cut chances, but they also failed to have a shot on target themselves.

The first-half saw one half-chance for each side. Josh Barrett flashed a shot across goal for the Linnets, while Alex Whittle hit the side-netting for the hosts.

James Rowe’s men racked up seven corners in the first 45, but they could not make any of them count which was a frustration.

Thankfully, Chesterfield did not have to wait long in the second-half to get the opener.

Liam Mandeville got it – his fourth of the season – from the edge of the box. Visiting stopper Paul Jones will probably be disappointed he did not keep it out after getting fingertips on it.

The next challenge was to get the all-important second goal and Kabongo Tshimanga had a glorious chance to double the lead late on from a one-on-one but he took too long to get his shot off and the chance was lost.

In the end, it did not matter as Chesterfield saw out five minutes of added time comfortably to send a crowd of 6.328 home happy.

IMPRESSIVE FORM

This victory keeps the Spireites top of the table with just one defeat in 20 in the league and one in 23 in all competitions.

They are unbeaten in 14, have kept 12 clean sheets from their 20 league matches and are averaging 2.15 points per game.

Given all of this, it is remarkable that they are not more points clear.

Watch out Chelsea.

RETURN OF THE KING

After Akwasi Asante and Gavin Gunning made their returns from injury in midweek, this time it was Jeff King who made his first start since November 20 following a knee injury.

King had been playing well before his injury so his return to action is a welcome boost. Tyrone Williams has done a steady job in that position but he is more of a defensive player and lacks King’s attacking intent.

Rowe said that defenders Laurence Maguire and Luke Croll are close to coming back into the fold so the squad is starting to look healthier now despite losing Jack Clarke to a hamstring injury against Halifax.

RIP KELVIN

Mandeville’s winner came in the exact minute that fans paid tribute to long-serving steward and supporter Kelvin Bigg, who passed away recently, aged 51. It was written in the stars. That goal was for him.

TEAM

3-4-2-1: Loach; Williams, Gunning (Grimes, 64) Whittle; King, Weston, Oyeleke (Kellermann, 66), Miller; Khan, Mandeville; Tshimanga (Asante, 90). Unused subs: Kerr, Payne.