Proact patience runs out – Chesterfield draw criticism for failure to win league games

Picture by Gareth Williams/AHPIX.com; Football; Vanarama National League;  Chesterfield FC v Bromley FC; 27/11/2018 KO 19.45; The Proact Stadium; copyright picture; Howard Roe/AHPIX.com; Angry Chesterfield fans after the draw with Bromley
Picture by Gareth Williams/AHPIX.com; Football; Vanarama National League; Chesterfield FC v Bromley FC; 27/11/2018 KO 19.45; The Proact Stadium; copyright picture; Howard Roe/AHPIX.com; Angry Chesterfield fans after the draw with Bromley

Chesterfield Football Club continue to find new and innovative ways to test the patience of their supporters.

It’s no surprise that for many, the patience has now run out.

In what is becoming an increasingly bizarre season, the Spireites are drawing their way into record books and drawing criticism from the fans.

We’ve reached the point where the howls of anguish over a 19-game winless streak have understandably drowned out any positive noises about a 12-game unbeaten run.

This isn’t just a results business, it’s a victory business.

When you pick up a point away from home, it’s a good result.

When you haven’t earned three points at home since 11th August, a point at the Proact is a poor result.

When you dominate possession but need a 90th minute penalty to rescue a draw, it’s alarming.

And when you’ve only scored eight goals at the Proact all season, in 1,080 minutes of football, it’s just not good enough.

We all know teams drive down Sheffield Road, park their bus in the carpark and then park another on the field.

That became obvious months ago.

Yet, still, the Spireites looked criminally bereft of the ideas or the creativity needed to unlock a stubborn defence on Tuesday night.

Time and time again they were able to, or allowed to, run and pass the ball up to the final third where they met a red wall.

The ball went backwards, the full-backs tossed it into the box, Bromley defended and the chance was gone.

If a player in blue did get to the byline, and often it was Zavon Hines, the final ball was missing.

Over-usage of a long throw, that hasn’t resulted in a single goal since the 2018/19 campaign began, appeared to be the straw that broke the camel’s back for fans in the Kop.

Town’s most vociferous match-going supporters began to boo each time Sam Muggleton picked up the ball on the touchline.

And for the first time in his tenure, Martin Allen heard chants demanding his removal.

After the game he offered no argument, because there was none to offer.

If progress has been made since the last defeat on 25th September, it wasn’t evident in midweek.

Maybe nerves and the ‘must win’ nature of the game became too much for some and affected their performance.

Maybe they’re not good enough.

Allen has been badly let down by a number of his signings, he’s had no luck on the injury front, but a manager lives and dies by his recruitment.

A lack of bravery in possession, perhaps a lack of ability, a lack of awareness, or a lack of confidence – whatever is the real cause of this failure to win league games, something is definitely lacking.

There’s been no lack of effort in many of the games during this run that has seen Allen eradicate the losing culture.

But on Tuesday night even the sight of players straining to get forward in search of a goal couldn’t excuse the lack of quality.

At home to Billericay in the cup Town were unlucky, they created numerous chances.

On that occasion, you could come away from the ground feeling at least like they deserved something from the game.

Few left the Proact with that feeling on Tuesday.

At virtually the halfway stage of the National League season, former Football League club Chesterfield are in the relegation zone.

You cannot defend the indefensible.

There’s no doubt that Allen and his staff have worked tirelessly to try and conjure up winning performances from this team.

He’s made changes, he’s given youth a chance.

The manager has been taking his forwards out onto the pitch for extra finishing sessions.

They’ve been scouting games most nights for players.

But they haven’t won a game of National League football for 15 and a half weeks.

Allen’s job was not under threat going into Tuesday’s game.

There are still no noises coming out of the club to suggest any ultimatums have been set.

Chesterfield’s next three league games pit them against the top two and a play-off contender.

While many may believe we should have reached the ‘critical’ stage of the Martin Allen era weeks ago, we will surely arrive there in the very near future, should home fans not be given something to celebrate, sharpish.

A win over Grimsby in the FA Cup on Sunday would relieve a little pressure but it will do nothing to allay fears over a third consecutive relegation.

Forget thriving, surviving is now the goal and it cannot be allowed to elude this club again.