Chesterfield recover from first defeat to topple high-fliers

HOT HODGSON -- Chesterfields Andy Hodgson (right), who capped a fine display with a goal.
HOT HODGSON -- Chesterfields Andy Hodgson (right), who capped a fine display with a goal.

The shock of their first defeat of the season the previous week was quickly erased by Chesterfield, who produced a scintillating victory against high-flying Telford and Wrekin in the Midland Men’s Hockey League.

The reverse at Stratford had cut short Chesterfield’s flying start to the Second Division season, which had featured five straight wins and a hatful of goals and hat-tricks from Polish international Damian Jarzembowski. But they bounced back to beat Telford 4-1 and return to second place in the table, ideally poised for a promotion push.

“It was a great performance on the back of a nightmare the previous week,” said captain Chris Battye. “The guys responded brilliantly and everyone played their part. We now have a real belief, but we need to keep our focus.”

The only downside to the game was a nasty-looking injury picked up by Joe Morton, who will miss the trip to mid-table Shrewsbury this week. “Joe has been terrific for us and will be a big loss,” said Battye. “He caught a stick to the ear and ended up with a bad one that needed several stitches. But he’s a tough lad and will bounce back.”

After slow starts in their previous matches, the home side began on the front foot, forcing Telford into repeatedly turning the ball over. Jarzembowksi was closely marked but displayed maturity beyond his years to lead the frontline effectively. He was ably supported by Adam Bointon and Mike Fearn, who caused the visiting defence problems all afternoon.

A period of sustained pressure finally led to Chesterfield breaking the deadlock through player/coach Ben Lamb. Clever play involving Morton and Battye at the top of the circle set up Lamb, who netted his first goal of the season with a shot that was too hot to handle for Chris Kelly in the Telford goal.

The visitors fought back well and although goalkeeper Matt Lloyd put in another assured display, he was unable to stop Dave Tracey netting his tenth goal of the campaign to draw the scores level. It did not stay even for long, though, as quick thinking from Danny Dunn enabled Fearn to find space in the area before twisting and turning and shooting low into the net.

The second half saw Chesterfield assert control and they were rewarded with a third goal as Andy Hodgson capped a fine display by deflecting the ball into the net from close range. Inevitably, Jarzembowski also found his way on to the scoresheet with his 20th goal in seven games. The 19-year-old beat two players before applying a cool finish from the top of the circle.