Chesterfield FC fan column: Who ever said the National League will be a walk in the park?

Chesterfield manager Martin Allen puts the players through the warm up before the game: Picture by Steve Flynn/AHPIX.com, Football: Vanarama National League match Salford City -V- Chesterfield at Peninsula Stadium, Salford, Greater Manchester, England copyright picture Howard Roe 07973 739229
Chesterfield manager Martin Allen puts the players through the warm up before the game: Picture by Steve Flynn/AHPIX.com, Football: Vanarama National League match Salford City -V- Chesterfield at Peninsula Stadium, Salford, Greater Manchester, England copyright picture Howard Roe 07973 739229

After winning three out of three with a hat-trick of clean sheets, Chesterfield have now lost two in a row and conceded six in that same time frame.

Last week after the Braintree victory, I said that an armchair supporter could think the league was won already, and emphasised that the Spireites are not the finished article.

The defeats at Barrow and Salford, no matter how unlucky they were, proved my case.

Some average defending combined with some poor decisions have cost Martin Allen’s side several goals and ultimately six points, and the gaffer knew even before those two losses that there is work to be done on the training ground.

As evident in the opening three victories and impressive individual performances from the likes of Zavon Hines, Charlie Carter and others, the Chesterfield side that Martin Allen has put together has both potency and potential to be a formidable side in this division. But whilst we are slightly worried by the sudden two defeats, it is easy to forget that the season is only five games old.

Considering the number of players that are new to the club and the difficulty of opposition that the Spireites have faced so far, nine points from a possible 15 is a very respectable start to the National League campaign.

There yet remains plenty of time for this new squad to become acquainted with one another, and we can all be excited to see how the team develops over the coming weeks and months.

Rome wasn’t built in a day, so why should a title-winning football team?

Although expectations were hideously low when relegation from League Two was cemented, a whiff of arrogance still arose when the new season finally came around the corner – the big-club mentality which believes that a club like Chesterfield should be walking this league.

Those defeats to Barrow and Salford within five days of each other were the wake-up call. The Spireites may be a good team, but you have to be a cut above the rest to gain promotion from the National League. Only two out of 24 will go up into the EFL, and there are plenty more good sides in the division than just two.

No one ever said that the National League is a walk in the park, not one from the likes of Leyton Orient and Hartlepool who have had anything but a pleasant experience of England’s fifth tier.

So when we come to lose two on the spin, the reaction should not be along the lines of “here we go again” or “same old Spireites”, it should rather be of acceptance that there will be no easy game in the National League and that there will be ups and downs along this new journey in the non-league.

A defeat to a good Salford side and to a decent Barrow team with an extra man should not be the condemnation of Chesterfield to another forgettable season. When the Spireites went seven without a win after seven wins from eight, they recovered and fought back to win the League Two title. Two defeats from five is far from a disaster, especially considering that newly-relegated teams have a tendency for poor starts.

Looking onwards to Saturday, Chesterfield have the opportunity to eliminate any doubt in the minds of supporters by beating an out-of-form Barnet side who are yet to win a game this season. Anyone familiar with the personalities of football supporters will know that this game will play a pivotal role in whether the fans will be optimistic or pessimistic from thereon in.

The important message to the fans, however, is that there will be more defeats along the way, no matter how good this Chesterfield side may really be. Come November, we will have a realistic vision of how the season will pan out, but at five games in the supporters should be focused on getting behind Martin Allen and his team.