If there’s one thing that Chesterfield have carved out an unwanted reputation for over the last season and into this one, it’s conceding late goals and chucking points away.
One fan has worked out that in the whole of last season, plus the six games of this term, the Blues have conceded 23 goals after the 80-minute mark.
Effectively, 11 points were thrown away last year in the last ten minutes of matches, which would have kept us up, and four points this season, presuming we would have drawn the last two games had we not conceded late on against Salford City and Barnet.
So the Spireites go from three wins to three straight defeats, giving us predictably our worst-ever league or non-league position in 11th place in the National League. Many stats this season are going to be our ‘worst ever’ or ‘lowest ever’, so we’d better get used to it.
Only one team goes up automatically from the National League. Last season, that was Macclesfield Town with only eight defeats to their name. Tranmere Rovers, who also won back their Football League status, lost only 12 throughout the course of the season.
In the space of one week, we’ve lost Charlie Carter and Sam Wedgbury to injuries and Jerome Binnom-Williams to a red card, meaning that with a thin squad, the midfield looks bereft.
Give manager Martin Allen his due. He called it as he saw it. ‘Not acceptable’ is one way of looking at the Barnet game. ‘Incredibly dull and barely able to string two passes together’ is another opinion. It looks as though the management will have to act quickly to shore things up.
On the web boards, debate rages about the effectiveness of Robbie Weir, a bloke who has captained two teams to be relegated out of League football. Some fans see the Northern Irishman as a player who has been caught up by the ravages of time and previous injuries, while others see him as our only decent defensive midfield cover. However, in the last two games, taking Weir off and replacing him with Sam Muggleton has coincided with two last-minute losses to Salford and Barnet.
Muggleton clearly has one of the longest throws in football but needs to up his game to be effective in the middle of the pitch. In the midfield, it seems that Joe Rowley, who looked so good when he started at the club, is out of favour with Allen but, with few other options, it looks as though he must be thrown in and given a chance
The only bright spot of the week is that Callum Burton, on loan from Hull City, looks to be a good goalkeeper. He made two fine saves in the second half to keep Barnet at bay.