It had been tipping it down all morning with the rain clattering the windows as we slowly counted down the minutes before we could set off just before lunchtime. It’s just 62 miles and less than an hour and a half away to Chesterfield, a real luxury and all the usual suspects were up for this one. It promised to be a tricky away game against a team third in the league, so hope, expectation, and reality were travelling with us today.
Staveley Miner’s Welfare are famous for being Lee Gregory’s first football club, as our route took us right through the centre of Staveley, it only seemed right that on Non-League Football Day we paid homage to the starting point of a great ex Shayman. As watching the local side was out of the question, the next best option was to locate the best chippy in the town. It was top quality too, £3.50 for a bucket of chips and curry sauce, sat on a bright orange bench in the shop window. You can tell we know all about fine dining!
Having been to Chesterfield many times before, our secret local parking spot was again available. It hides amongst the nearby factories and businesses, with rogue wheely bins and used beer bottles hanging around on the pavements. It’s free parking though, all in plain sight of the ground. We know how to spot a bargain.
With an admission price of £20 in advance or £22 on the day, the 325 travelling Shaymen were given the last block of 426 seats in the East stand. The North Stand, available for large away followings remained empty behind the goal. The rest of the ground was pretty much full, with over 7000 in attendance. The weather was much better in Derbyshire with bright sunshine appearing amongst the clouds. Although it made viewing difficult at times, the warmth of the sun generated a real feeling of Spring.
The first half started with the Shaymen in control of the game. They created a few decent chances as they attacked the far end of the pitch. The drum was beating loudly in the away end, and with most of the seats taken, it was a decent atmosphere. One big chance to take the lead went begging, all the hard work seemed to have been done but somehow the ball trickled away dead. Chesterfield asserted themselves towards half-time, a prolonged break in play for a Chesterfield player to get his hair done on the pitch disrupted the flow of the game. Just on half-time, deep into ‘injury’ time, the home team scored. The ball seemed to take ages to reach the net from a less than convincing attempt, and it was harsh on the Shaymen who had competed well and should have had the lead earlier.
The second half was uphill for the Shaymen. Chesterfield did all they needed to do to maintain their lead without really threatening and they doubled their lead midway through the half with a low-key goal. The home fans expected a routine home win and never really got too excited during the afternoon. The Shaymen created a few chances here and there, but the goal just on half-time really made the difference on the day. The team were, once again, applauded off at the end for their efforts on the road.
Driving back and it was still daylight as we reflected on a game that we didn’t really expect to win given Chesterfield’s resources, quality, and position in the league. We’ve beaten them this season and they’ve beaten us, so no complaints overall.
Next up, we’re back on the road to Wembley with yet another away draw in the FA Trophy with a short trip to Altrincham and the semi-final of the FA Trophy. We’re just 90 minutes away from the final with a decent away following expected. C’mon Shaymen!
Miles on the road 8716, Goals on the road 20.
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