Season 4 - Chesterfield PDF Print E-mail
Written by Mark W   
Tuesday, 03 January 2012 22:12

Chesterfield v Oldham Athletic – League One


B2Net Stadium, Chesterfield


Monday 2nd January 2012, 15:00 K.O.





Latics’ first ever trip to the B2Net Stadium was only the 2nd new ground in the UK for the flag this season and having only had one in the first half, typically, it was the first of three in under a month. Not what the finances required after Christmas but what a fantastic month in prospect.


The build up was a bit unusual. The previous week had been taken up with the story of the Liverpool tickets where we managed to sell out over 6,100 much to most people’s amazement. It’s sad to hear about fans who have not been able to secure a ticket for that game but what a prospect to see the largest away following in almost twenty years. My own preparation was also out of the ordinary having spent New Year in Paris. I’d managed to convince my wife that we needed to come back on New Year’s Day as this might be my only chance to go to the new ground for quite some time. She was not amused when the Gods conspired to mean that it would actually be my last opportunity for… a fortnight.


Under normal circumstances, the excitement generated by a new ground leads to a much higher than normal away following but with the two huge cup games coming up, I wasn’t sure how many we would take. If I’d only been able to afford one trip to Chesterfield I think I’d have opted for the JPT match.


The weather had picked up for the day so I opted for a leisurely drive over Woodhead which was certainly a better option than the roadwork-laden M62. It was just Mike and I for this one so we were free to discuss the goings on at the World Darts including the quality of walk on girls. The trip over was uneventful but I was disgusted to note that the Flouch pub appears to be no more. I’m sure it has probably been gone for years but that’s not good, an iconic pub if ever there was one.


The journey took us through Sheffield and past the Manor estates. It is sometimes nice to be reminded that perhaps Oldham isn’t that bad after all.


We found the ground easily enough and after driving round for a few minutes we clocked a few pubs and managed to get parked up in a side street just a couple of minutes walk from the away end. It is good to see one of these new grounds that is not just in the middle of a soulless industrial estate. Don’t get me wrong, it has the obligatory Tesco and other retail establishments near by but it does have the feel of being ‘somewhere real’. There were even some proper boozers but as I’d last eaten in France the day before we opted for the Donkey Derby which was a Beefeater type place just the other side of the ground.




It was a large pub and fairly busy but we seemed to be the only away fans in there. At the time we assumed that was because we were early but in reality, it remained 95% home fans up until the time we left. This seemed strange as there didn’t seem to be any restrictions and you’d have thought it would have attracted the families if nobody else. The food was good though and after finishing, we retired to the bar area where we got to see a great comedy own goal from Hearts. You’ve got to love Scottish football.


The Chesterfield fans were providing most of the entertainment though, well, one bloke to be more precise. This guy somehow managed to have no hair yet huge sideburns. I don’t see how that is even possible. I guess you start loosing it at the top and eventually that is all that is left. He spoke in a broad accent and was telling his friends that he thought that Shez was only in a job because they couldn’t afford to sack him. He also thought that their only decent player was Neal Trotman. I turned to Mike. “If that’s the best they’ve got we could be on to a winner here.”  Despite this negativity, he had put £10 on a home win. Bloody hell, is that what other teams’ fans think of us?


There was only so much of this we could take. Actually, there was only so much Coke I could take once my driving limited alcohol was gone, so we headed over towards the ground not long after Hearts had made up for their earlier mistake with a couple of late goals in the right end.


I mentioned earlier that the ground is built next to a Tesco, this clearly has added benefits as you don’t need to build anywhere from which to sell programmes.




It was good to see that despite having a new ground, Chesterfield had tried to give it a bit of character and individuality. I was impressed with the twisted spires that welcomed you to the car park.




We managed to find a couple of fans to help us out with the flag photo outside the ground. Many thanks to Kenny and his friend. I should have asked her name but I didn’t because I’m useless. It’s amazing to think that on Friday at Anfield it will be the 60th different ground we’ve done this at.




The ground itself is in many ways a typical new ground. It has four separate stands and is probably best described as ‘functional’. That’s not really a criticism though. The fact is that it is exactly the kind of ground that we need. It’s is great to have tradition but with its large executive area the B2Net must bring in much needed revenue and since moving there Chesterfield have seen crowds boosted. If you missed the fake spires on your way in, you can even see the real thing from the away end.




The crowd was not as bad as I had suspected it might be although it appeared that Chesterfield v Oldham (part 1) was not going to be the biggest draw this year. Elton John performing in Chesterfield… Who’d have thought it? There has to come a point where you realise that your career isn’t quite what it once was!




The away fans even got a visit from Mark Allott before the game. He must be missing us.




The opening period was not great. I’d missed the Notts County game with my New Year jaunt but from the reports I’d been given, I suspect that it was probably of a similar level to the first half there. Despite this, I thought we looked fairly comfortable and could see us going on to take control. The Spireites had other ideas though and after 34 minutes when we failed to cut out a cross and Bowery fired home. After that, however, we pretty much took control. It looked like we had found a way back into it when we should have been given a clear penalty. A clear shove on one of our players (Matt Smith?) which saw him completely change direction in mid-air was somehow missed by the ref and it looked like we would go into the break one down.


Just as the ref was preparing to blow us though, Latics finally produced a moment to remember. Filipe Morais looked to have lost control of the ball on the touchline but managed to steady himself and put a cross right onto Smith’s head. Matt wasn’t about to waste this chance and buried it past Tommy Lee (no, not that one that you’ve seen in the Pamela Anderson video). Chants of ‘Ole Ole’ started from the visiting fans and the ref immediately ended the first half.


Kick off


We bossed the second forty five minutes more than we had done the first, but it was that age old tale of Latics creating opportunities without really creating chances. It was far from one-sided but there was realistically only going to be one team who won it. The opportunity to do so should have come when Matt Smith ran through on goal only to be pulled down by Trotman. Our end went berserk as the ref again waved away the appeals. The truth was that Smith should really have got a shot in before being bundled to the floor but I don’t see how it could have been anything but a penalty.


Still the chance to win the game hadn’t gone as we pressurised Chesterfield to the end. In the three minutes of injury time that were added on we could easily have had another couple of goals as Taylor had a effort well saved and Kuqi failed to get an shot in when presented with a chance. It wasn’t to be and we ended the match with just a point to show for our efforts.


Against a team bottom of the table, it always looks like two points lost when you only draw but in reality, it is still an away point gained and Chesterfield are not as bad as I was expecting. There was enough in the game to suggest that we are perfectly capable of getting through the JPT tie but also enough to warn us of what could happen if we don’t approach the games correctly.


The decision to take the motorway option on the way home was not the brightest. 50MPH is extremely frustrating when the roads are dead. We did have TalkSport and ‘Call Collymore’ to keep us amused. In particular, the world’s poshest child football fan. A lad called Dave who had rung in to talk about his beloved QPR. I think my favourite quote was “I’m rather concerned that QPR might just find themselves in some kind of peril”. Too right lad, there’s nothing worse than a spot of peril. Anyway, enough of that… Three days ‘til Anfield!


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Last Updated on Wednesday, 04 January 2012 09:00