Four talking points as Chesterfield crash out of play-offs after Notts County score last-minute winner
Chesterfield’s promotion dream ended in late heartbreak against Notts County at Meadow Lane on Saturday.
In an enthralling match, the Spireites led twice but the Magpies’ Mark Ellis headed a 90th minute winner to send the hosts through to the semi-finals of the play-offs where they will play Torquay United.
It was a gutting way to end the season but the Blues gave it everything.
The feeling at full-time was one of major disappointment but the overriding feeling is one of pride.
Third bottom in November, sixth in May, it was an incredible effort from everyone.
The fact that fans gathered at the Technique to welcome the players home said it all.
The supporters feel connected again, they believe again, they have got their club back.
FUTURE IS BRIGHT
Town have a solid base to build from now and I am sure the recruitment drive will be focused on quality rather than quantity which has not always been the case in recent years.
Given James Rowe’s recruitment record so far, you would back him to pick out some more gems to improve the squad.
For me, they probably need a bit more strength in depth at the back and then it is all about the top end of the pitch.
Akwasi Asante finished the club’s top scorer on 10 goals and he did not play any of the last 12 matches due to injury. Tom Denton was second on nine goals and he has been out since January. Tom Whelan was next on five.
More goals are needed if they are to take the next step.
WHAT A GAME
For any neutrals watching this was a great watch, but it was like being on Blackpool’s Big Dipper for the rest of us.
It was absolutely breathtaking, relentless and end-to-end at times.
Twice the Spireites led, first through Danny Rowe’s thunderous long-range free-kick and then when Liam Mandeville finished a lovely counter-attack.
The frustrating thing is all three goals for Notts were soft, especially the last two from set-pieces.
To let County straight back into it after Rowe’s opener was bitterly disappointing.
Ultimately the match swung in County’s favour on the hour when Blues goalkeeper James Montgomery picked up a leg injury and had to be strapped up. With no sub ‘keeper on the bench, he admirably carried on for the remaining half an hour. Had he been fully fit, you would have backed him to claim Ruben Rodrigues’ drilled free-kick before it reached Ellis a few yards out.
Chesterfield also lost Manny Oyeleke in the same period in what was a double blow.
Nathan Tyson had two great chances to put Town ahead again. How pivotal they proved to be.
Deep into added time Laurence Maguire came agonisingly close to making it 3-3 but it was not to be.
Rowe was very frustrated after the game because he felt the free-kick which led to County’s winner should not have been given.
Whether it was or wasn’t a dive, you’ve still got to defend the delivery better.
To concede in the 90th minute of game number 43 was a cruel note to finish on.
(3-4-2-1): Montgomery; Evans, Gunning(c), Maguire; Carline, Weston, Oyeleke (McCourt, 58), Whittle (Taylor, 77); Mandeville, Clarke; Rowe (Tyson, 65). Unused subs: Whelan, Yussuf.