Liam Norcliffe's Chesterfield column: Heart and desire got Chesterfield their first win of the season

Chesterfield manager John Sheridan.
Chesterfield manager John Sheridan.

The Spireites are up and running!

After six long weeks and 11 matches Town finally recorded their first win and clean sheet of the new season against Torquay United on Saturday.

Chesterfield’s club record for matches without a win at the start of a season is 13 which came in the 2003/04 season so thankfully that has been avoided.

It has been a miserable start to the campaign the 1-0 win against The Gulls at the Proact was definitely deserved.

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It might not have been swashbuckling football but the Blues really dug in and ran themselves into the ground to get the three points.

They got a bit of luck with Torquay striker Manny Duku firing wide when it looked easier to score after four minutes. If that had gone in then it might have been a different story.

Scott Boden gave the Spireites the lead with a well-taken goal for his fifth of the season.

Chesterfield 1 Torquay United 0 - match gallery
It was so important for Chesterfield to get the first goal given that they had gone behind in their four previous home fixtures against Woking, Barrow, Dagenham and Redbridge and FC Halifax Town.

John Sheridan’s men suddenly started playing with a burst of confidence after that and did not look like a team rooted to the bottom of the National League.

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They were unlucky not to get a second when Tom Denton’s looping header was cleared off the line and Liam Mandeville’s curling effort from the edge of the area was tipped wide.

Torquay had a lot of possession in the second-half but did not really test Town goalkeeper Luke Coddington.

There were one or two scary moments for Chesterfield but the visitors’ final pass let them down.

It was a strong team performance and some individual players really shone.

I thought Curtis Weston was terrific in central midfield and was rightly named Man of the Match.

Several times Weston won the ball back for Town which is something that has been missing this season.

He also assisted Boden’s goal and made a number of important defensive blocks.

The return of Denton gave everyone a lift and his hold-up play and height in both boxes contributed hugely to the win.

One of Chesterfield’s biggest downfalls this season has been not being able to retain possession and Denton certainly helps Town keep the ball further up the field instead of it coming straight back at them all the time.

If Denton and Boden can link-up like they did at the end of last season then Sheridan’s side should start moving up the table sooner rather than later.

They struck up a potent strike force to help Town climb to 15th after battling relegation for a large chunk of the season.

Against Torquay Boden knew exactly where to run and left Denton to get involved in the physical battles with the opposition centre-halves.

And it is not a bad option to have Mike Fondop, who has scored five goals in seven games, on your bench as back-up. He can certainly count himself a bit unlucky to have been left out.

However, although Fondop and Boden have scored goals, they have not really looked a partnership.

Will Evans and Haydn Hollis were rock solid at the heart of defence after a few shaky performances in recent weeks.

And I can’t mention Evans without talking about that heroic last-ditch tackle deep into injury-time.

Torquay’s Jamie Reid, top scorer in the National League, found himself one-on-one with goalkeeper Luke Coddington until Evans appeared out of nowhere and stuck out an outstretched leg to nick the ball off Reid’s toes.

It was a tremendous, match-winning tackle that drew huge applause from the home stands.

If that has found the back of the net, the players and fans would have felt lower than a snake’s belly.

It was a big moment for Evans, who was one of the players involved in the scenes with supporters after the full-time whistle at Bromley.

It just shows how quickly things can change in football.

After the match Sheridan said he did not think it was a particularly good performance. Perhaps it was not, but it was a million times better than what has been served up so far.

There was heart, desire, passion, fight and moments of quality like Boden’s finish and Evans’ tackle.

There was no huge celebrations from Sheridan after the game, he was very calm in his post-match interviews and was not getting carried away.

As he said, it was a ‘massive relief’ more than anything else and he was just pleased that people can stop talking about it now.

Looking at the next few fixtures let’s hope Chesterfield can kick-on now.

They face trips to Sutton United (17th) and Hartlepool United (11th) before home games against Aldershot Town (20th) and Eastleigh (15th).