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CFC - A New Season

Words & Images: Michael South

Welcome back my fellow Spireites. The friendly games are done. The signings have been made and the squad has been assembled for the assault on the 2022/23 footballing season... So, what could possibly go wrong?

Well nothing, for the first 27 minutes anyway. The opening game of the season was away at Dorking Wanderers and midway through the first half our new keeper Covolan was sent off for charging out of his area and lashing out at a defender after clearing the ball. So with ten men and no substitute keeper on the bench, up stepped Ollie Banks to don the keeper's jersey and swap midfield for the bloke between the posts. It was all going so well up until that point too as Asante became the first Spireite scorer of the new campaign after just 18 minutes. It got a bit more hopeful just before half-time when Dobra made it 2-0, so all looked back on track. But that all changed in the second half. Dorking, freshly promoted to the National League, clawed back 2 goals in 10 minutes, 67th and the 77th minute to level the game. Then to add to it all, on the 96th min, Horton was then sent off for time wasting during a throw-in. This was later rescinded however when CFC appealed the decision, claiming the second yellow card given to Horton was for mistaken identity. So that was something I guess. The game ended with a point a piece, at 2-2. So not the greatest start to a footballing season especially as the unexpected hunt was now on to sign another goalkeeper for the next fixture. After a short search though the club signed Fitzsimons as the new goalie.

Next up came the first home tie of the season to Aldershot. This did go as planned and it ended with a Spireite win, courtesy of Mandeville. He scored the only goal of the game midway through the second half.

Another home game followed three days later with Deadpool's Welsh side Wrexham coming to town. They sold out the entire away end and boy did they let us know they were there! Before the game even started they were very vocal. The Welsh like to sing! Shame then they decided to throw a red smoke grenade on the pitch in front of their own keeper just as he arrived on the pitch at the goal in front of his travelling fans.

The Spireites then played some of the best football I've seen at the club for many a year. Paul Cook has put together a fantastic squad. It really does look like they really do wanna play for Cookie and win the league outright. Well, accept for the keeper perhaps. I've not seen passing and movement for ages as good as what I saw that Tuesday night. And the goals...Outstanding!

Jeff King and Ollie Banks both got on the score sheet in the first half and for a while I heard the Kop sing "We are top of the league!" I really felt like we were back and heading in the right direction, all without Tshimanga, who was on the bench and not needed.

Next up came a short drive down the M1 to Nottingham for Notts County. This, like the Dorking game two weeks prior, ended 2-2. After being 2 goals up the Spireites seemingly switched off in the second half and conceded 2 goals within 4 minutes. No keeper was sent off though this time. But we still need to see our games out when ahead if we wanna dominate this league.

At the time of writing, we've just played Barnet and not only did we smash them 3-1 at home but Tshimanga scored his first of the season fresh from the bench, newly signed Jesurun Uchegbulam made his professional debut for the Spireites from Matlock Town. But, most importantly… We ended the night firmly Top. Of. The. League!!!

Plus, if you've noticed, all the goalscorers so far for Chesterfield have come from all positions, which is a huge positive for us. Cook has crafted an attack minded squad of players, like he said he would when he arrived. So, unlike last season, we aren't heavily reliant on Kabby to score the goals. Hence him not named in the starting lineup and being subbed on against Notts County. How much in technical terms have we improved if Cook can say to Webb or Roberts "Nah, we don't need him yet"? Now don't go thinking for a minute that we don't really need him, because we do. The season's only young. It's still in its short shorts, and we are bound to have our fair share of injuries as the games go by. No, he'll play his part and bag many more goals as the season unfolds, of that I am certain.

So, to recap. We are still unbeaten and the Kop once again can proudly chant "We Are Top Of The League" at the time of writing.

Happy Days!



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