It was Dover all over again. Somehow, Chesterfield walked away from the Proact on Saturday with just a point against Havant and Waterlooville.
What was so strange about this game was that it presented probably both the worst and best football that Town have played this season. The first half was a shambolic 45 minutes which the visitors more or less edged and which yielded barely any chances at all for the Spireites.
The second half left the entire stadium baffled. For all the chances that Town created, none was converted. Whether it was poor finishing to blame or low confidence or just simply terrible luck, the lines are beginning to blur. No-one has a clue how the ball didn’t hit the back of the net even once, and how three points were not in the bag.
Even those who don’t believe in luck are starting to wonder if a curse had been placed. What was most bizarre was the atmosphere at the full-time whistle. A chorus of boos, followed by boisterous applause.
It goes to show that the supporters are becoming even more divided. It’s a battle between the ‘happy clappers’ and the protesters. But who can blame them? The desire to win football matches, and see increasingly good performances, is there for all to see. But the thing which matters most, points on the board, is not.
Whose side do you stand on in this situation? For some, sticking behind the team is always the number one priority. But for others, it feels like unrequited and unrewarded support.
The key improvement is that Town have stopped losing, and they now compete in every game they play. But it’s hard to smile about being unbeaten in seven league games when you are winless in 17, especially after coming second away from winning at promotion chasers Harrogate and having more than enough chances to put the game against Havant and Waterlooville to bed.
The obvious answer to Chesterfield’s problems is the addition of a clinical striker. Someone who is not afraid to shoot from range and will cause problems inside the penalty area.
That is easier said than done, however, and there is a worry that the lack of goalscoring form is more of an epidemic among the Chesterfield squad, a toxic lack of confidence which will affect any new addition to the team, no matter what their calibre is at this level.
But while the search for a striker looks continuingly tough for Martin Allen, the giant Tom Denton should surely be given more game time. He looked most effective after going on during Saturday’s game, and his strong presence will account for nothing if he is only kept on the bench.
Time is running out for Martin Allen. There have been improvements made, but the team is still not winning games. If this doesn’t change before the new year, then the gaffer’s job will most certainly be on the line and Chesterfield will be staring a third consecutive relegation in the eyes.