Just when you thought there was light at the end of the tunnel, Chesterfield manage to shoot themselves in the foot by gifting Eastleigh probably two of the easiest goals they will ever score.
The highlights of that one will be an absolute horror show for anyone who dares to watch.
Message boards are full of people either directing dire abuse at players and management or fans simply saying they’ve had enough. One statistic highlighted is that five years ago Chesterfield beat Sheffield United 3-2 in a league game, and frankly gave them a good hiding on the day, right now there are 100 league places between us. That’s how far the club has fallen and if the team keeps playing like this, we will be losing a local derby to Alfreton Town in 12 months’ time.
Ron Atkinson once said “It’s the midfield, it’s always the midfield” when referring to what goes wrong with a football team. For 25 minutes on Saturday it looked as though it would be an easy home win, but once again the opposition simply out works The Blues in the middle of the pitch and leaves us stretched in defence and unable to create anything except a long ball to go forward with. On that note, Tom Denton came out of the game against Eastleigh with credit although it would be more appropriate if he wore a mask and a cape as the opposition centre backs spend as much time as they can wrestling with him rather then trying to play football.
Last year John Sheridan turned things round with this formation, but with no real right wing back it’s not working. Last season we had three in midfield usually Smith, Weston and Rowley who worked well together as a unit. This time Joe Rowley is asked to play right wing back and seems to have lost all confidence especially in his ability to cross a ball and Liam Mandeville is playing just behind the front two. What happens time and again when Chesterfield lose the ball is that Mandeville doesn’t track back leaving two defensive midfielders up against superior numbers and we then put no pressure on the ball. This leaves the defence exposed.
The most galling thing is that we come up against sides who are simply fitter and better organised than Chesterfield. Eastleigh were no great shakes, but only had to work harder than the Spireites and after half an hour the game started to unravel for us. Apart from buying two midfielders who actually have pace, or simply swamping the midfield I can’t see a way out of this.
What summed it up for me on Saturday was with virtually the last kick of the game Chesterfield played a very clever free kick routine to Gevaro who fluffed his shot when given a chance to redeem himself for the howlingly bad pass, which led to Eastleigh’s winner.
The Notts County match live on TV now has potential for national embarrassment.