Seven talking points from Chesterfield's big win against troubled Southend United
Chesterfield punished troubled Southend United with an emphatic 4-0 win at Roots Hall on Saturday.
Danny Rowe helped himself to a hat-trick and Saidou Khan got on the scoresheet on a dramatic day in Essex.
Believe it or not we are already a quarter of the way through the National League season and Chesterfield are sitting in fourth with 22 points.
That is exactly two points a game and if they continue that form then the champagne could be popping come May.
It is also worth pointing out that the Spireites have played seven of their 11 matches away from home whereas third-placed Halifax and Boreham Wood in second have only had five away days.
The Blues are in a healthy position with no league games for two weeks now as the FA Cup takes centre-stage on Saturday so this was a timely win.
GOOD DAY AT THE OFFICE
This was the Spireites’ sixth victory and clean sheet of the campaign and it was throoughly deserved.
It was a professional and clinical performance and the biggest away win under James Rowe.
Chesterfield were always in control and from the moment Rowe got his first goal of the afternoon it never looked in any serious doubt.
In the end, Town could have had five or six had it not been for a couple of clearances off the line.
The hosts missed a good chance to instantly equalise to make it 1-1 and another to pull one back after half-time but other than that the visitors were largely untroubled. It said it all that Scott Loach had to make his first save on the 70-minute mark.
Rowe took the match-ball home with him after clinching his first hat-trick in a Chesterfield shirt.
He has found himself behind Stefan Payne in recent weeks but his performance at Wrexham and then his goals here suggest he had a point to prove.
For his first goal on 19 minutes he was given far too much time and space by the home defence and he took full advantage as he found the bottom corner from the edge of the box on his left peg.
His second five minutes before half-time saw him fake to shoot on his right foot before he cut inside on his left and rifled it in from about 10 yards.
And he completed his treble with 17 minutes remaining when he smashed a penalty straight down the middle after Kabongo Tshimanga was bundled over in the box.
As well as his goals, Rowe’s all-round play was silky and he had a big part to play in Khan’s finish.
A mazy run in the first-half where he danced around two or three Southend players deserved a goal.
Rowe was not the only one to get a hat-trick – as Jeff King collected a treble of assists!
Following on from his fine performance at Wrexham, King was outstanding here and rivalled Rowe for the man of the match award.
King found Rowe on the edge of the box for the first, his corner found the striker for the second and he picked out Khan with a low cross for the third.
The wing-back caught the eye at Halifax last season with his goals and assists and we saw exactly why the Spireites were keen to bring him to Derbyshire here.
It has been a bit stop-start for him at Chesterfield so far but hopefully these last two outings will kick-start his time at the club.
So we got a hat-trick of goals from Rowe, a hat-trick of assists from King...and a hat-trick of injuries!
Manager Rowe must have run over a black cat because the Blues are having some rotten luck on that front right right now.
After losing George Carline for five months in midweek, Town were forced into using all three of their substitutions at Roots Hall.
Fraser Kerr went off after half an hour and both Khan and Curtis Weston had to come off in the second-half.
There is no indication yet how long they may or may not be out for so fingers crossed they are not serious.
Injured pair Akwasi Asante and Jack Clarke watched from the stands at Roots Hall. We would all rather them be out there playing but it was nice to see them supporting their teammates and it is a reminder of the talent the Spireites still have to come back.
The match was interrupted in the second-half when Southend fans invaded the pitch to protest against owner Ron Martin, who was not at the game.
A similar demonstration happened in their last home fixture so this was expected. However, that one took place after the full-time whistle.
Here, the Shrimpers fans ran onto the turf in the 73rd minute with a ‘Martin Out’ banner and protested in front of the main stand moments after Chesterfield grabbed their fourth goal.
Both sets of players had to come off the pitch and the game was halted for about five minutes.
The delay caused a whopping 14 minutes of added time before the fans came back on the pitch again at full-time.
Spireites fans, who know all about such dark times, showed solidarity with Southend fans throughout. They joined in chants and the ‘Martin Out’ banner was even in the away end for a while.
At the end of the game, the home fans went over to the travelling Blues and applauded them.
Before we had even started the post-match interviews news emerged that Southend had sacked manager Phil Brown after this defeat left them just above the relegation zone on goal difference. The feedback was that a managerial change would make little difference. It is the owner they want gone.
(3-4-1-2): Loach; Kerr (Grimes, 31), Gunning, Maguire; King, Weston (Oyeleke, 67), Kellermann, Miller; Khan (Mandeville, 65); Rowe, Tshimanga. Unused subs: Whittle, Tyson.