Six big talking points as Chesterfield strike late to defeat Eastleigh

Akwasi Asante struck late against Eastleigh to continue Chesterfield’s impressive home record.

By Liam Norcliffe
Wednesday, 3rd March 2021, 8:32 am

The striker scored the only goal of the game on 85 minutes to secure a much-deserved win for the Spireites.

‘Best we have played’

This was a real gutsy performance from Town. After Eastleigh started bright in the first five minutes or so, the hosts got a grip of the game and controlled it from there on. Curtis Weston and Martin Smith started to dictate play and the visitors, unbeaten in eight, were chasing shadows. Chesterfield peppered the opposition with shots and corners and dominated territory, albeit without really forcing visiting goalkeeper Joe McDonnell to make a top save. The best chance of the first half fell to the returning Tom Whelan but he skewed his effort wide. After the break, the Spireites carried on where they left off and you wondered whether it was going to be one of those nights. But then substitute Nathan Tyson fed Asante for a deserved winner with five minutes to go. After the match manager James Rowe said it was the best they have played, and it is hard to argue against that.

Jack Clarke made his first start for Chesterfield. Picture: Tina Jenner.

Strength in depth

Rowe made five changes including handing a debut to new signing Fraser Kerr as well as giving a first league start to Martin Smith and a first ever start to Jack Clarke in a Chesterfield shirt. Alex Whittle and Whelan were the other two changes. Kerr slotted into the right of a back three with ease and was solid. Smith grew into the game and showed his quality and Clarke came on strong in the second half. To make that number of changes and put in a performance like that shows the strength in depth that the Spireites now have in their ranks for what is going to be a hectic second half of the season. Rowe said that the decision to leave Haydn Hollis, Joel Taylor and Adi Yussuf out of the squad was ‘tactical’.

Tyson and Wheels return

Having a fit Tyson with his pace and know-how could be a great weapon for the Blues for the rest of the season. The 38-year-old came off the bench to make his first appearance in four months after injury and he made a big impact, not only assisting Asante for the goal but breaking beyond the Eastleigh defence a number of times late on. Tyson has scored more than 125 goals in his career so he is not a bad option to have. It was good to see Tom Whelan return from suspension and he gave Chesterfield lots of energy as well as a goal-threat. They have missed him.

New signing Fraser Kerr made his debut for Town on Tuesday night. Picture: Tina Jenner.

Armband for Gav

With Will Evans benched, Gavin Gunning captained the side and he had an outstanding game at centre-back where he looks far more comfortable than in midfield. He didn’t miss a kick and kept Eastleigh strikers Tyrone Barnett and Ben House quiet all night.

Home comforts

After losing four of their first five home games, Chesterfield have now won five league games on the bounce for the first time since 2013. No place like home.

Akwasi Asante netted the winner against Eastleigh five minutes from time, his ninth goal for Town. Picture: Tina Jenner.

Spireites XI (5-3-1-1): G Smith; Carline, Kerr, Gunning, Maguire, Whittle; Weston, M.Smith (McCourt, 72), Clarke (Mandeville, 72); Whelan; (Tyson, 78), Asante. Unused subs: Evans, Dinanga.

Goals: Asante (85)

Tom Whelan returned to the starting line-up following his three-match ban. Picture: Tina Jenner.