Alex Whittle gave the Blues the lead in Dorset with 20 minutes remaining but substitute Ahkeem Rose scored eight minutes into stoppage time to grab a point. However, the resullt almost felt irrelavant at full-time as all thoughts turned to Tshimanga.
There is only one place to start and that is the devastating injury to Town’s 25-goal man. With Chesterfield leading one-nil with ten minutes remaining, Weymouth’s Haji Mnoga put in a strong challenge on the striker from behind near the halfway line. He won the ball but it did look like he went through the back of Tshimanga. It was very similar to Jeff King’s tackle against Stockport County in the previous match and that resulted in a straight red. This time, referee Greg Rollason did not even give a foul, let alone a yellow.
It was distressing to watch and that was from my position high up in the press box so there is no doubt it would have affected Chesterfield’s players on the pitch. He needed oxygen, was stretchered off and taken to hospital. As a result of the delay, there were 12 minutes of added-on time and Weymouth scored with four of those remaining to compound a bad day at the office.
We await further news on Kabs but it did not look good and it is heartbreaking for a player who is in the form of his life. If Chesterfield have lost the top marksman in the league for the rest of the season and possibly longer then Paul Cook may have to dip into the transfer market sooner than he anticipated.
Before the injury to Tshimanga Chesterfield had put in a far from inspiring performance considering they were trying to impress the new manager. They started brightly in the opening ten minutes and had some chances with Liam Mandeville, Jim Kellermann and Tshimanga all being denied by former Spireite Ross Fitzsimons in the Weymouth goal. A great piece of play Akwasi Asante deserved a goal but his curling finish went inches past the post.
But after that they gave away possession far too easily and were lucky that Weymouth did not have the firepower to pounce on some sloppy mistakes. The Spireites did not move the ball quick enough and too often they chose to go back when a forward pass was on. The second-half was not much better but they did find the breakthrough when Whittle burst into the box and drilled low past Fitzsimons. Whittle has been a consistent performer for a while now and he, along with Jamie Grimes and Asante, was one of Town’s better players but the rest were below par.
Credit to the hosts because they played well and did not look like a team who were third from bottom and ten points from safety before kick-off. They let Chesterfield have the ball at the back and as soon as the first pass went into midfield they swarmed like bees and won it back.
Given what had just happened to Tshimanga, the late equaliser was gut-wrenching but overall I think the Terras deserved it. Chesterfield had the ball deep into the Weymouth half but they worked it back to Fraser Kerr who stumbled and got caught on the ball and the hosts broke and scored despite a great block by Grimes which deserved more. It was a missed opportunity to go two points clear at the top of the league and it felt like a defeat at the end.
This was Paul Cook’s first game in charge since being appointed but his influence on team selection and tactics was minimal. Having only been in the building two days, he did not want to make any big changes and it was Danny Webb who was leading on the touchline. Cook now has a full week on the training pitch to put across his ideas ahead of the first of five successive home games starting with Solihull Moors on Saturday.
(3-4-1-2) Loach; Kerr, Grimes, Whittle; Mandeville, Oyeleke (Weston, 57), McCourt, Miller (Khan, 68); Kellermann; Asante, Tshimanga (Quigley, 87). Unused subs: Williams, Rowley.