Saunders laments Spireites’ ‘bad luck’ at home

Chesterfield vs Oldham Athletic - Dean Saunders - Pic By James Williamson
Chesterfield vs Oldham Athletic - Dean Saunders - Pic By James Williamson

Dean Saunders cursed his Chesterfleld side’s bad luck after another late home defeat last weekend, but says he is confident his players will overcome their apparent Proact Stadium curse.

Saturday’s 2-1 defeat to Oldham saw an unfortunate own goal from goalkeeper Tommy Lee hand the visitors the points.

That added to three previous occasions this season where the Spireites have conceded crucial late goals in the dying stages of games, with controversial red cards and refereeing decisions also having done Chesterfield no favours this season.

But with the club’s away form being among the best in League One, Saunders believes it is only a matter of time before their home form follows suit.

He said: “The strange thing is we’ve actually played better in many of our home games than we have in some away matches but the luck hasn’t gone our way on our own patch.

“Against Wigan we conceded three in the last ten minutes. It’s difficult to score three in ten minutes past six players let alone 11.

“Then against Colchester Drew Talbot was unlucky to be sent off and we’ve then conceded an injury-time own goal to draw.

“The Burton game saw us denied a certain penalty in injury-time, which the referee later admitted should have been given, then they’ve gone up the other end and got the winner. Against Scunthorpe Dan Jones’ red card was a turning point and then we’ve had the own goal against Oldham.

“We’ve perhaps been a bit too wide open at times too, but we’ve started to tighten that up more recently and we’re not getting counter-attacked as regularly either.

“So it’s frustrating of course, and I can understand fans who have got season tickets and who don’t get to away games perhaps feeling a bit hard done by but I’m sure our luck at home will turn.”

Saunders refused to be too hard on Lee following Saturday’s error.

He added: “Tommy’s been fantastic this season and has saved us so many points. Goalkeepers are going to make mistakes but when they do they’re the last man and it can be more costly. But we’ve just got to move on and not let it affect us.

“Strikers missing an easy chance or midfielders giving the ball away is the same as making a mistake for Tommy but he’s a strong character so it won’t bother him.

“The first goal Oldham scored was disappointing in the way it came from a throw-in but we had a new man in the back four and we didn’t defend it as we normally would as a result, which is something we’ve been able to work on in training since.”

Attention now turns to two away games, with Chesterfield visiting Port Vale on Saturday and then Doncaster Rovers next Tuesday.

Sam Morsy and Dan Jones are both former Vale players, the latter leaving the club under a cloud after a training ground incident that saw a team-mate injured.

Saunders said: “We’ve got two tough away games now but our form on the road has been outstanding - I think we’re heading for a club record if we maintain the kind of run we’re on.

“Port Vale have got some good players, many of whom are familiar to me and also Chesterfield fans, and I played for Wales alongside their manager Rob Page and I know he’ll have them all organised and giving it everything.

“Dan Jones may get a hard time from their fans but supporters don’t tend to boo bad players, normally just good ones they’re worried about and are trying to put off, so we’ll take it that they’re worried about him and he’ll probably relish it.”