Key talking points from Chesterfield's defeat to Torquay United
Chesterfield dropped out of the play-off positions with five games remaining after defeat to table toppers Torquay United.
Goals in each half from Connor Lemonheigh-Evans and Billy Waters sealed all three points for the Gulls at the Technique Stadium on Monday.
Some may disagree but the scoreline felt harsh on Chesterfield Torquay had the better of the first 20 minutes and deserved their lead. I feared for the hosts at one point because the visitors were cutting through them just like Hartlepool did two days previous. But for the remainder of the first 45 I thought Town got a foothold in the game and they were denied an equaliser when George Carline’s header from Martin Smith’s corner was headed off the line. Before that, Danny Rowe’s burst forward was halted in the box by a great tackle and Kairo Mitchell might have done better with a header from Liam Mandeville’s cross. The one frustration from my point of view was the reluctance to shoot when the visitors were backing off on the edge of the area. It was a scrappy, stop-start first 15 minutes in the second-half but then came two glorious chances. Substitute Adi Yussuf saw his one-on-one effort cleared off the line by Dean Moxey and then Mandeville headed wide from a couple of yards from Rowe’s knock-back. That was the key moment in the game as Torquay, who had not offered much going forward after the break, doubled their lead not long after.
Overall, Town gave everything and if they had been more ruthless they could have taken at least a point. Being ruthless is something boss Rowe has mentioned a lot in his post-match interviews recently. The flip side to that is at least they are creating chances but we are at the business end of the season now and results matter more than performances.. They are snatching at opportunities and that will need to change if they are to make the play-offs. They also need to be more ruthless in defending set-pieces and second phases because it is costing them dear. There is not much wrong with their play between both boxes but they need to sharpen up at both ends.
This defeat left the Spireites eighth and two points off the play-off places after just one win in seven. They have had a tough run of fixtures against a number of promotion contenders in recent weeks but they remain in contention for a top seven finish and face three teams next in Woking, King’s Lynn Town and Wealdstone who are all struggling and have nothing to play for. Chesterfield probably need to win them all or collect at least seven points. They then face Dagenham and Redbridge, who have emerged from nowhere after five straight wins, when fans are allowed back in the Technique on May 22 and as the games tick by it is looking increasingly likely that the Blues will need to win at Halifax on the last day. It is going to the wire and the next three matches are crucial. Will they do it? I still think they will.
(3-4-1-2) G.Smith; Kerr, Gunning, Maguire; Carline, Oyeleke, M.Smith (Whelan, 81), Whittle; Mandeville (Clarke, 75); Rowe, Mitchell (Yussuf, 52). Unused subs: Rowley, McCourt.