Four big talking points as Chesterfield lose at home to Sutton United
Chesterfield’s impressive home record came to a halt against league leaders Sutton United on Tuesday night.
The Spireites had won six on the bounce at the Technique Stadium but Donovan Wilson’s 35th minute strike was enough for the visitors.
The loss is manager James Rowe’s first on home soil since he was appointed last November.
Double injury blow
We will have to wait to find out exactly how long defenders Fraser Kerr and Gavin Gunning will be out injured for but Rowe’s post-match comments suggest it will be a while. It was sod’s law that Kerr had to go off injured in a match where Will Evans, who could have slotted into that position, was not on the bench. It meant that George Carline had to tuck inside one to the right of a back three and the left-footed Alex Whittle moved to right wing-back when he came on. The Spireites had a disjointed look about them from 20 minutes onwards after that. The injuries mean the Blues are looking a bit threadbare in terms of defensive cover should anyone else head to the treatment room but it gives Evans and Haydn Hollis another opportunity.
Rowe was left frustrated after another refereeing decision cost his side. Gunning was pushed in the back and it caused him to head the ball into the path of Wilson who smashed the ball into the bottom corner. The Town boss said he had watched it back three times and that it was a ‘blatant foul.’ I think Sutton deserved their victory but the circumstances of the winner is very frustrating. There have been a number of decisions which have gone against the Blues recently so hopefully it will start to even out soon.
Have Town been worked out?
This was a better performance in terms of battling qualities and energy than the one against Maidenhead United but there was a similar pattern in that most of the Spireites’ play was in front of the Sutton defence. Akwasi Asante was having to drift out wide to get involved. Rowe rightly changed it at half-time by bringing Nathan Tyson on for Tom Whelan. The idea was a good one but it did not have the desired effect against a stubborn opposition backline. Chesterfield passed the likes of Eastleigh and Yeovil Town to death, but they are going to have to find different ways to break teams down.
The visitors controlled the game despite not dominating possession or creating that many chances. They played a simple 4-4-2 and got the ball forward quickly. They were fit, strong and powerful. Their pressing was excellent and they forced Chesterfield into making errors. Manager Matt Gray was very vocal on the touchline, almost talking his players through every pass, tackle and header. Sutton’s behaviour in surrounding referee Thomas Parsons and demanding a card for every foul, particularly in the second half, became irritating but is unfortunately part of the game, especially with no fans inside stadiums. They had that ‘know-how’ and you can see why they are top of the league and have only lost four of 26.
Chesterfield XI (5-3-1-1): Smith; Carline, Kerr (Whittle, 21), Gunning (Hollis, 68), Maguire, Taylor; Weston, McCourt, Clarke; Whelan (Tyson, 46); Asante. Unused subs: Mandeville, Dinanga.
Goals: Wilson (35)