The hosts were winless in seven but fully deserved their victory at York Road on Saturday.
Strikes from Nathan Blissett and Dan Sparkes in each half sent Town home back to Derbyshire with a lot to think about.
Bad day at the office
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This was as poor as we have seen Chesterfield under James Rowe and after the game he admitted it was his most disappointing defeat in the last 18 months as a manager. The performance fell well below the standard they set in the wins against Eastleigh and Yeovil Town. Maidenhead made life very difficult for the Spireites, they were well organised and denied the visitors any space. They took advantage of the windy conditions and sloped pitch much better than Town. Rowe’s men lacked that energy, pressing and creativity we are so used to seeing. The manner of the goals, both from crosses for Blissett after 20 minutes and Sparkes seven minutes after half-time, was very unlike the Blues. It was a bad day at the office but this was only their third defeat in the last 17 so we should cut them some slack and hopefully this is only a minor setback.
‘I trusted the wrong players’
There were some interesting comments from Rowe in his post-match interview about how he ‘picked the wrong team’ and ‘trusted the wrong players’. Understandably he did not mention any names but people will have their own thoughts about who he meant. Rowe said he warned his players all week about the test they would face at York Road but they did not show up and some will pay the price now.
Against difficult opposition and tricky conditions, it felt like Chesterfield needed an aerial threat but the man who could have provided that, Tom Denton, is out injured for the rest of the season. Most of Town’s play was in front of Maidenhead and they struggled to get in behind the home defence. The Magpies’ big target man, Nathan Blissett, was a handful all afternoon and he held the ball up extremely well in the second half when the hosts were playing into the wind. If Denton had been available he would have provided Town with a similar option to Blissett and he would have given Alan Devonshire’s side something else to think about. Chesterfield will no doubt come up against a similar style again this season so they will need a plan B.
Curtis Weston missed this clash through suspension after collecting his fifth yellow card of the season against Yeovil Town last week. I think Chesterfield probably did miss Weston, although I am not sure it would have altered the scoreline too much. The Spireites missed his energy and ability to pinch the ball back and make a tackle. He is someone who could have provided a screen in front of Blissett and stopped the ball going into him. Martin Smith came in but he was ineffective and was replaced before the hour.
Chesterfield XI (5-3-1-1): G.Smith; Carline, Evans (c), Gunning, Maguire, Whittle (Taylor, 65); McCourt, M.Smith (Yussuf, 58), Whelan; Mandeville (Tyson, 58); Asante. Unused subs: Kerr, Clarke.
Goals: Blissett (20), Sparkes (52)