Kabongo Tshimanga silences boo boys as Chesterfield strike late at Grimsby Town to remain top of National League

Chesterfield remain top of the league after scoring late to edge out promotion rivals Grimsby Town.

By Liam Norcliffe
Sunday, 12th December 2021, 10:31 am

Kabongo Tshimanga continued his incredible scoring record by volleying in the winner with six minutes remaining at Blundell Park.

MARCHING ON

This victory keeps the Spireites top of the table, one point ahead of Boreham Wood who don’t appear to be going away anytime soon.

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Kabongo Tshimana scored Chesterfield's late winner against Grimsby Town.

Importantly, it also means that Town have seven more points than Grimsby and have a game in hand, a huge swing considering the Mariners were four points clear on October 23.

Despite having a depleted squad due to injuries, the Blues’ unbeaten run extends to a magnificent 12, they have only lost one of their last 21 in all competitions, have won five of their last six and recorded clean sheets in four of their last five.

There are two more big games coming up this month against promotion rivals Notts County and Halifax, both at the Technique, and the small matter of an FA Cup third round trip to European champions Chelsea to look forward to in the New Year.

Add to that the fact that James Rowe believes they will have most of their injured players back in January and it all bodes well for the rest of the season.

BIG HEARTS

This was a game lacking in quality in possession, but boy did both teams make up for it with passion, desire and commitment.

Both sides were well-organised and defences were on top for most of the 90 minutes.

Both had one big chance each in the opening 45. First, Grimsby’s unmarked Harry Clifton headed wide from inside the box. Chesterfield responded just before half-time when Jim Kellermann was denied by a superb save by Max Crocombe.

The second-half was similar with neither goalkeeper tested until Tshimanga popped up with the winner. The Spireites have lost points to late goals this season so it was nice to be on the other end of one this time.

Chesterfield matched Grimsby’s physicality and battled their hearts out all afternoon. It wasn’t pretty but it is the type of result teams who win promotion at the end of the season achieve along the way.

BOO BOYS SILENCED

Tshimanga was on the receiving end of some stick from Grimsby’s fans throughout the 90. I’m not sure exactly why, but I assume it is because Mariners boss Paul Hurst revealed he tried to sign him in the summer.

Anyway, he rammed their insults down their throats with an emphatic finish on the volley and then celebrated in front of the home supporters which went down like a lead balloon.

This was goal number 18 in 18 in the league and 19 in all competitions for Tshimanga. He has now scored in seven consecutive league games, finding the net a remarkable nine times.

AA BACK ON THE ROAD

It was great to see Akwasi Asante involved in the squad after eight months out with a ruptured ACL.

Although he didn’t get on, his inclusion among the subs along with Jack Clarke and Saidou Khan, is a reminder of Town’s strength in depth once everyone is available.

TEAM

Loach; Kerr, Grimes, Whittle; Williams, Weston, Oyeleke (Khan, 81), Miller; Kellermann, Mandeville (Clarke, 68), Tshimanga (Payne, 90). Unused subs: McCourt, Asante.