The big talking points from Chesterfield's win against Wealdstone as Saidou Khan scores his first goal for Spireites

Chesterfield’s winning start to the season continued with a 2-0 home victory against Wealdstone on Saturday.

By Liam Norcliffe
Sunday, 29th August 2021, 9:52 am

The goals came in each half from Saidou Khan and George Carline in front of a crowd of 5,356 at the Technique Stadium on Saturday.

FAST START

During pre-season manager James Rowe spoke about the need for his team to start fast and score earlier on in games.

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James Rowe will be pleased with Chesterfield's start to the season.

There were times when they did not make their dominance in the opening 20 minutes of matches count last season but that was not the case here.

You always felt an early goal would be key to winning this one and Khan provided it on five minutes on his first start for the club.

The midfielder’s strike on the angle from the edge of the box was hit with some power although goalkeeper George Wickens will probably be disappointed he let it in at his near post.

The visitors had a couple of attempts up the other end but nothing too threatening while Danny Rowe forced Wickens into a save with a shot from 18-yards and Fraser Kerr had a good chance to double the lead from a well-worked short corner but he headed over.

Wealdstone kept plucking away and Rowe praised them after the game for sticking to their principles.

The Stones had a healthy number of attempts and corners in the second-half and the longer Chesterfield went without that second goal you did wonder whether there might be a sucker-punch late on.

But thankfully, and much to the relief of everyone in the ground, it was the hosts who got the next goal to secure the points when Carline, who replaced the injured Jeff King in the first-half, headed in at the far post to turn in Gavin Gunning’s acrobatic attempt following Jak McCourt’s corner.

Overall, it was a deserved win but it was not as straightforward as we might have predicted after five minutes and you feel the Blues have got some more gears in them.

KHAN IS KING

There will have been many Spireites who were watching Khan for the first time and no doubt they will have been left very impressed.

It was not just his goal, his all-round performance was exciting to watch and it was a shame he had to go off at half-time with a head injury.

There were times in the opening stages when he was in acres of space and was the free man in midfield but Chesterfield turned down the pass to him and you could see his frustration.

That steadily improved and every time he picked up the ball you could sense the anticipation from the fans and you knew something was going to happen.

He glided past players, he forced them to back off with his direct running and he pinched the ball with his relentless pressing.

His ability to commit opposition players will be a key weapon for the Spireites, particularly at the Technique.

KERR IMMENSE

Khan may well have won the man of the match award had he played longer than 45 minutes but Kerr deserved it in the end.

The defender returned to the starting line-up after a serious ankle injury and he was immense.

He thundered into one challenge, clearly winning the ball, but harshly received a booking.

There was one piece of calm and intelligent play when Joshua Umerah raced towards goal but Kerr managed to slow him down and send him wide and narrow the angle.

He could have got on the scoresheet twice as well, with two efforts separated by about 30-yards!

First, Calvin Miller and Jack Clarke worked a short corner and the former crossed for Laurence Maguire at the far post. The defender outmuscled his marker and headed it back across goal to his fellow centre-back who headed over from close-range. In fairness, he might have just been arching his head slightly and he seemed to get underneath it a bit.

His next attempt was definitely not a ‘chance’ as he strode forward over the halfway line with the ball and, totally out of nowhere, let off a 35-yad missile which was heading for the top corner until Wickens somehow got fingertips on it. If that has gone in, the goal of the season award would have had his name on it in August!

SQUAD DEPTH TESTED

The manager said in pre-season that they would need a squad capable of coping with injuries and suspensions and Chesterfield’s strength in depth was tested in this one.

King was forced off after 15 minutes on his home debut which was disappointing for the full-back but on came in his place last season’s player of the year Carline, who slotted in seamlessly and notched his first goal of the campaign.

Khan suffered a bang to the head as we approached half-time and he was not risked in the second-half as Jak McCourt made his first appearance of the season. Again, not a bad option to have.

In his post-match interview Rowe said that King will be ‘struggling’ to be fit for tomorrow’s trip to King’s Lynn Town, while you would think the same goes for Khan given the head injury protocols.

Manny Oyeleke was left out as a precaution but he has a ‘chance’ for Monday’s game, Rowe said.

Curtis Weston played the full 90 minutes which probably wasn’t the plan and he and Carline might have to dig deep and go again in Norfolk.

TEAM

(3-4-1-2): Loach; Kerr, Gunning, Maguire; King (Carline, 15), Weston, Khan (McCourt, 46), Miller; Clarke; Rowe (Payne, 69), Tshimanga. Unused subs: Grimes, Mandeville.