Chesterfield 5 Darlington 2

IN the Saltergate press box after the final whistle on Saturday an excited local radio reporter announced to his listeners “Yet another home win for Chesterfield in a completely one-sided game!” He was only half right.

Bearing in mind that Derbyshire’s answer to Alan Green had been confusing Ian Miller with Steve Foster all afternoon he can hardly be regarded as the most reliable of witnesses.

Home win? Undoubtedly, but one-sided? Do me a favour mate.

The final score was car crash stuff for Darlington supporters and will do nothing for the confidence of Steve Staunton’s inexperienced side.

But when Jonathan Hogg capped his impressive debut to make the score 3-2 with three minutes plus added time to play it looked like Quakers might snatch their first away point of the season.

Instead, Staunton, who before the game had declared that “clean sheets are vital,”

was left to reflect on Darlington’s heaviest defeat for two years.

“We got back into it through Hoggy and you think anything can happen at 3-2,’’ he said.

“I saw plenty of good things out there, but after keeping a clean sheet one week to concede five is very disappointing.

I told the lads they’d given away a shocking fourth goal.

3-2 you take on the chin, but 5- 2? no way.”

To prevent this setback from scuppering Darlington’s survival bid it’s crucial they take something from tomorrow night’s encounter with Morecambe at The Northern Echo Arena.

Despite the dreadful result, there were more signs of the positive impact Staunton and Kevin Richardson are having on the team.

Simon Thomas had a pointblank effort saved brilliantly by home goalkeeper Tommy Lee before James Collins, Hogg’s reserve team-mate at Aston Villa, showed superb control to net from 30 yards with Lee stranded.

It was the first time Darlington have scored two goals away from home all season and their efforts should have been rewarded with at least a point.

But a defence that had been immaculate at home to Burton Albion last week were slovenly against the Spireites.

“To concede a throw-in from taking too many steps from our own throw-in is poor and our centre halves didn’t stand firm for the fourth goal,” noted Staunton, whose only new injury concern is a kick in the back sustained by Hogg.

“It’s a harsh result but that’s football. If you make the kind of mistakes we made then you will be punished because they are a decent side.

“I thought we were comfortable until their opening goal and we played nice football.

But then we conceded cheaply. We come back to the same old thing, individual and team errors.”

Staunton rightly lauded his back five after they successfully protected a 1-0 lead over Burton for 83 minutes. But seven days later they couldn’t manage a similar feat for the closing moments of the contest.

As his side pressed for an equaliser the excellent Kieran Djilali and Jack Lester picked apart the visitors’ defensive line with devastating effect.

Scott Boden’s two late goals applied a gloss to a victory that extended his team’s unbeaten home record.

John Sheridan’s side deserve their reputation as League Two’s most attractive outfit.

Both sides represented their respective manager’s playing styles: one stylish and quick-witted the other doggedly honest and full of heart.

Chesterfield’s attempts at fluidity were well stifled in the first half by Staunton’s employment of a five-man midfield.

As Sheridan’s flying wingers marauded down either flank David Davis sat in front of the back four and barked out orders as Hogg and Gary Smith broke up play.

Chesterfield, however, possessed an inventiveness absent from most teams in this division. When Foster, Stuart Giddings and Corey Barnes made the odd defensive lapse, they were punished.

With Curtis Main isolated in attack the game plan was clearly intended to deliver an elusive clean sheet away from home.

So the two first half goals conceded from corners left Staunton fuming and undid all the good work that had seen his players dominate the opening 25 minutes.

“We pushed on in the second half. The boys gave us everything and the subs made an impact. We have to take the good things into the Morecambe game and get back to doing the basics in defence,”

he confirmed.

If his side can manage that, tomorrow’s game may offer the chance to hail a genuinely one-sided affair.

Match facts


1-0: Page (37, hit volley that deflected past Liversedge);

2-0: Allott (45, low drive into bottom corner from 20 yards);

2-1: Collins (59, fired long-range effort after Lee fluffed his clearance);

3-1: Djilali (67, nutmegged keeper after a stunning burst forward); 3-2: Hogg (87, tapped in from close range from Thomas’ pass);

4-2: Boden (89, clinical finish into the bottom right-hand corner);

5-2: Boden (90, squeezed the ball under the keeper and over the line);

Bookings: Giddings (52,foul), Little (64, dissent), Thomas (67, foul), Davis (90, dissent)

Referee: Jon Moss (Leeds). Let the game flow on a tricky wet surface 7 Attendance: 3,460

Entertainment: ✰✰✰✰


5Liversedge: A forgettable afternoon but can’t be blamed for the heavy deficit;

4 Barnes: Given a very tough afternoon but will learn from the experience

4 Foster: Magnificent last week but looked ordinary against an inventive attack

4 Miller: Made to pay for trying to play the ball rather than clear his lines

4 Giddings: Struggled to get tight enough to his man;

6 J Smith: Had a decent first half, passed well and showed intelligent movement

6 Davis: Good defensive qualities but his passing left a lot to be desired

7 HOGG: Lived up to the manager’s billing as a tough tackler with an eye for goal

5 G Smith: Not his best afternoon, was caught in possession on more than one occasion

5 Thomas: Seemed far more suited when pushed into attack after struggling at left midfield;

6 Main: Had the unenviable task of playing lone striker but never shirked his duties


Gray (for G Smith 58): Brought a spark to the side 6

Collins (for Main 58): Took his goal with aplomb 7

Mulligan (for J Smith 70): Another tidy display 6

(not used): Jones(gk), Bower, Groves, Burn

CHESTERFIELD (4-4-2): Lee 5, Little 6, Page 7, Breckin 7, Picken 7; Talbot 8 (Lewis 90), Allott 8, Perkins 8 (Niven 80), DJILALI 8; Lester 8, Small 7. Subs (not used): Crossley (gk),Gray, Austin, Hall


KIERAN Djilali – a stunning home debut from the left winger who terrorised Quakers all afternoon .