Chesterfield on a 'mission' to put Notts County play-off final defeat behind them and win National League title

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Chesterfield are on a ‘mission’ to put the heartache of losing last season’s play-off final behind them by winning the title this time around.

Only a penalty shootout defeat against Notts County at Wembley denied the Spireites a place back in the Football League.

Many wondered whether there would be a hangover from that painful loss but that has certainly not been the case with Town second in the table and scoring goals for fun.

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Liam Mandeville, who played in the final, told the DT: “It was tough. I thought on the day we deserved it but I think through the season there were too many times…we went through that spell where we did not win a game in 10. In this league you can’t afford to do stuff like that. Our mission this year is to put that right. No mistake, we are trying to win the league.”

Liam Mandeville has scored three goals and grabbed five assists already this season. Picture: Tina Jenner.Liam Mandeville has scored three goals and grabbed five assists already this season. Picture: Tina Jenner.
Liam Mandeville has scored three goals and grabbed five assists already this season. Picture: Tina Jenner.

Mandeville had the best season of his career last year after scoring 10 goals and creating 14 others. And he has started this campaign in fine form too, with three goals and five assists in nine appearances.

On his goal involvements, he said: “My aim is to get one a game. I think it has been said of me before that I have probably not hit the heights that I have wanted to in my career in terms of goalscoring. I am glad that assists are starting to get noticed now because a few years ago nobody really looked at them so that has helped me out a little bit now!”

The 26-year-old has been on corner duty this season and they have played a big part in Chesterfield racking up an impressive 22 goals in eight games. The Blues have scored from a corner or a free-kick against all eight teams they faced this season.

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“I had a stint at Morecambe where I took them quite often but apart from that I have never been a corner taker,” he explained. “I used to take a few set-pieces at Doncaster.

“I just seem to be hitting good areas at the moment. It is quite underrated how tall we are. Nayls (Tom Naylor) is a big boy. Our back three are massive. It is a big part of our game so to get it right is good.”

‘Mandy’ played right-back on Saturday in the win against Dagenham and Redbridge. It is a position he has filled before when needed but it is not his natural role.

He said: “I enjoyed it. It is different receiving the ball in deeper areas. I see some of the problems Kingy and Shecks face now! But I enjoyed it. You can get into some good areas. I thought I put in some good crosses.”

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The Spireites came from behind to win for the third game in a row and Mandeville thought the victory against the Daggers was deserved.

“I thought we completely dominated in the first-half until the drinks break at the 25 minute-mark,” he told the media after the game. We looked dangerous and had a few good chances. If we had got that early goal we could have made it much easier.

“Sometimes things are going to go against you in games but thankfully we are reacting well to them. I think we just outlasted them in the end. But fair play to them because they worked very hard.

“I thought we looked a lot more assured at the back today. I thought the three centre-halves did very well.”

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Next up is a trip to newly-promoted Ebbsfleet United, who are seventh, this Saturday.

He added: “They have settled in well and I have heard they play some good football so it is going to be a tough test.”