Saturday, 19 February 2011

Lincoln City v Chesterfield, 19 February 2011

Venue: Sincil Bank, Lincoln
Final score: 0-2
I have to confess that there are some clubs in football that I just don’t warm to, and Chesterfield are one of those.  They are a semi-local rival of ours, but it’s more than that – I just have an irrational dislike of them and find them obnoxious and unlovable.  On their trip to Lincoln today though, Chesterfield were flying high and 5 points clear at the top of the league.  Although they’d had a few away draws, giving City a chance of getting something out of the game, this was always going to be a stern test for the Imps.

There had been some player movement in the days before the game, with winger Albert Jarrett going out on loan to Aldershot for a month.  Jarrett has gone from being the Imps’ best player at the start of the season to not being able to get in the side and having the manager question his work rate.  Hopefully the loan will sharpen him up and get him back into form.

Another player departing the Imps is Drewe Broughton, who has joined AFC Wimbledon until the end of the season.  As AFC are currently three points clear at the top of the Blue Square Premier (only one step below League 2), they obviously don’t have a goalscoring problem, and it’s hard to see how Drewe would add anything.

It was a cold day at Sincil Bank, and the rain had been falling, making the surface slippery.  The game began evenly, but it was Chesterfield who fired the first warning shot, with Morris putting a long shot wide.  City seemed unable to keep hold of the ball for more than two passes, and Chesterfield were looking mobile up front

City did manage to create a half chance on 10 minutes, as Facey was slipped through by Howell, and put a good low cross into the area.  No-one was there to capitalize, but it was the first time the City strikers had looked to be on the same wavelength as each other.

Barely seconds later came a blow to the Imps.  Hoyte went down after an innocuous looking clash, and looked in some pain.  Although he was able to hobble of the pitch under his own steam, he was in no state to continue and was replaced by Ali Fuseini.  The change saw Kelly drop back into the right back position and Fuseini move into central midfield.

City started to make their presence felt in the game, and were pressing Chesterfield back, Facey in particular causing problems whenever he got the ball.  A City corner on 15 minutes, however, soon turned into farcical disaster.  The corner was cleared to the halfway line, where City defender Kelly and Chesterfield striker Davies were waiting.  Kelly beat Davies to the ball, and turned to deliver a passback to ‘keeper Carson.  It was a strong pass, and Carson tried to control it with his knees.  Unfortunately his control failed him, and the ball cannoned forwards about 20 yards, where the alert Davies picked up on it.  He rounded Carson, who was outside of his area, and ran the ball into the net as the City goalie sank to his knees in despair.  It was a suicidal piece of play at a time when the Imps had been in the ascendency.

The Imps began to attack again with Fuseini seeing two shots blocked in quick succession and Grimes hooking a shot just wide from inside the box.

The drama unfolded yet again at the other end on 20 minutes, however, as Davies tried to turn past Watts at the edge of the area, only to have the City defender foolishly put his hands on the Chesterfield striker’s shoulders and pull him over.  It was a crazy penalty to give away, and the chance was there for the Spireites to double their lead.  Davies took the spot kick himself, but Carson was in the mood to atone for his earlier error, and made a good save low to his left, emerging with the ball in his gloves.  It was a lifeline for City, the only question was whether they could capitalize.

City managed to have good possession but were struggling to create any real chances, and continued to be prone to giving the ball away far too cheaply. The next real chance again fell to Chesterfield, when on 32 minutes Watts did well to block a shot on the line.  The ball fell to Morris on the edge of the box, who saw his fierce shot well charged down by Hone.  City weren’t in the clear yet though, as Davies was then able to get a header on target, only for it to be saved by a superb fingertip save by Carson.

City did manage to create more half chances as the first half drew to a close, with Grimes shooting just wide from 8 yards out and the keeper claiming well after a corner.

One thing that did characterize the end of the first half was the notable amount of whinging and complaining at the referee coming from the Chesterfield crowd and assistant manager, despite the referee not making any contentious decisions.  Even clear cut fouls were met with howls of derision which were out of place with what had been a fairly contested and clean match.

The second half began with Chesterfield creating a chance in under a minute when Davies dragged a shot wide, and in the 6th minute, when Carson superbly saved from a close range Robertson shot.

The half continued according to a fairly consistent pattern – Chesterfield happy to sit back and wait for City to cheaply give them the ball.  It led to few clear chances being created.

City thought they had clawed their way back into the game on 65 minutes when McCallum maneuvered in the box before finding the back of the net, only to see his celebrations cut short by the linesman’s flag.

Chesterfield won their first corner on 84 minutes, and as the City defense failed to deal with it properly, Holden headed home from 6 yards to put the Spireites 2-0 up and the game beyond any doubt.  The game had nothing else to offer before the final whistle.

City had ultimately been the architects of their own downfall – consistently failing to keep possession and making simple defensive errors.  Chesterfield, for a top of the league side, failed to impress in the manner that Shrewsbury and Bury had previously done at Sincil Bank, and appeared to be a side more suited to thuggery and whinging than slick attacking football.  Ultimately though, it’s the result that counts, and maybe City can learn a lesson from such sides.

24. Trevor Carson
28. Gavin Hoyte
4. Adam Watts
6. Danny Hone
23. Stephen Hunt
14. Josh O'Keefe
15. Luke Howell
16. Julian Kelly
9. Gavin McCallum
18. Delroy Facey
29. Ashley Grimes
31. Ali Fuseini for Hoyte (12)
7. Mustapha Carayol for Howell (72)
27. Ben Hutchinson for McCallum (78)
2. Paul Green
19. Jamie Clapham
39. Scott Spencer
1. Joe Anyon

1. Tommy Lee
32. Dean Holden
16. Ian Breckin
6. Simon Ford
3. Gregor Robertson
25. Drew Talbot
18. Ian Morris
8. Derek Niven
19. Scott Boden
9. Craig Davies
30. Kieran Djilali
10. Danny Whitaker for Ford (28)
14. Jack Lester for Boden (82)
4. Jamie Lowry for Djilali (90+3)
12. Scott Griffiths
21. Jordan Bowery
24. Craig Clay
26. Shane Redmond

No comments:

Post a Comment