Should have been out of sight by half time
After a huge disappointment in the midweek defeat at Bury we turned up at the Mem today with another game where we would start as favourites and in some ways I was pleased that Sinclair was suspended as I feel we are a much better side when we start with two attacking wide players and so was quite pleased that we were back to a straight 4-4-2 with Montano starting on the left and Ollie Clarke returning after suspension. I must say it is one of the first times that I have got the team selection exactly the same as DC.
It was very much a game of two halves where with the incentive of a first minute goal set the stage for what really was a shoot on sight performance where only the goalkeeper kept the score down to a respectable level. There was a lot of good football played as Gaffney produced an excellent first half performance. It was not all one way but Chesterfield despite good work down the flanks were very wasteful. The second half was also a fairly one sided half but not as exciting as the first half as we made too many wrong decisions with either the final shot or more often the final cross or pass. To be honest we did not look in any trouble until the visitors scored their later goal and then the nerves seem to set in but luckily we managed to see the last ten minutes through with no further incidents for a deserved win.
Competent in everything he did and must try to get him signed up for next season as he makes such a big difference. Had no chance with the goal but a safe pair of hands throughout and for one so young has great positional sense.
Storming game after a hesitant start where his winger had too much space on a couple of occasions. Made some great runs and put in a number of crosses of varying standard.
Distribution let him down at times but overall a good solid game where little went past him and unlucky not to score with a header in the first half.
Not quite up to his “rock” performances but still solid throughout,he was probably lucky that the referee was a bit lenient when his mistake let in a Chesterfield player for a clear run but he fouled him and I am sure if it had been Tuesdays referee we would have again been down to ten players. We will certainly miss him next week on International duty especially as his natural replacement Clarke-Salter is away as well but surely it will at last providea chance for Jonny Burns to show what he can do.
For me he relied too much on Montano to cover him in the first half and didn’t get close enough to his player but gave a good performance in the second half . Unlucky with a free kick in the first half but didn’t do as much attacking as usual and whereas last season Browner provided our main attacking down the wing this season Leadbitter is far more dangerous.
Chesterfield seemed aware of the danger that Bodin provides and they stuck to him like glue and he was very restricted and probably should have been the one substituted rather than Montano as he was the least effective of our attacking players.
O. Clarke 9 MOM
We have missed Ollie in our last two games but he marked his return today with a cracking goal in the first minute when a header down reached himn just outside the penalty area and he struck a powerful shot low into the left hand side of the goal. He got in some great challenges and also put in some strong runs particularly in the first half and I can only think that he must have been carrying a knock when he was substituted by Mansell in a substitution that did not really work.
Very dominant and some great runs and in him and Lines we have two midfielders who are on great form. Always trying to set chances up and rarely loses the ball. Had a couple of half chances from long range that didn’t come off but my main criticism would be his corners as they are so predictable and I just don’t know why DC doesn’t get Montano and Bodin to take them or at least take a share of them. Most of the corners we have stay in the air too long.
Ran himself into the ground in the first half and put over three crosses that each should have been attacked better and had a couple of shots blocked and also set up a couple of opportunities with good forward passes however his most eye catching work was the number of times he closed down opponents and protected Lee Brown but his reward was yet again a predictable substitution which surprised me on this occasion because Bodin was a far less influence on the game and his defensive work is very limited. We were well on top and therefore it was not as if we were relying on him to score one of his special goals.
Again ran his socks off and had a couple of good shots and set up the second goal for Gaffney but his penalty miss could have been very costly. I can understand why he took it to give him a goal and confidence but a poor penalty that was easily saved by the visiting keeper had the opposite effect and he faded more and more as the game went on. I am sorry DC but you can say all you like about us being a better overall side without MT and you can build up Luke as much as you like but until he scores some goals I am afraid that he looks well off a League 1 quality striker.
it was a close call between him and Ollie Clarke for Man of the Match but for me Ollie just edged it. Gaffs took his goal very well as he took a Luke James pass in his stride ,drew the keeper and calmly slid it past him into the far right corner of the net. He led the attack very well and was rarely beaten to any ball at all and only a couple of good saves by the keeper prevented him from scoring further goals.
A couple of reasonable runs but nothing really to suggest he should be starting a game ahead of Montano which will probably happen next week.
Great to see him back in the squad after a small operation and also having been told by DC he will not feature again. he did, understandably look short of Match fitness but surely he was denied a clear chance of a goal when he was clearly held back after getting the wrong side of the defender with a run on goal. He probably should have taken a shot himself late on when he had a clear sight of goal but instead set it up and the chance went begging.
Not really long to do a lot but got in a couple of interceptions but we did appear to be getting over run a bit in the later stages and it was not really surprising when Chesterfield scored as they did come back into the game in the second half and not for the first time recently the substitutions did not really work.
A noisy 8500 crowd on a cold day and not a bad attendance following the big defeat in the week when you consider that there is unlikely to be anything to really play for other than pride and Chesterfield are hardly the type of opponnets to draw in the fans.
I thought he gave a very good display which was a relief after Tuesday. Got the majority of decisions right and tried to keep the game moving whenever possible. The only decision I can recall him missing was the foul on Easter that he should have seen but there again surely his linesman should have been able to help him out.
Chesterfield 5 Easy to see why they are where they are in the League and could not have complained if Rovers were out of sight by half time. That said they did attack with purpose at times and found some success down the flanks but far too often their final ball was overhit. Scored a very good goal and provided a nervous last ten minutes but Rovers well deserved to end their mini revival which had seen them win one and draw two of their last four games.
DC Felt he got his initial selection correct and we were for the majority of the game in command but unless the players substituted were carrying knocks I see no reason for the three substitutions and if anything Bodin should have been the player replaced. We are now not far off our best total for many years and so I am not going to be critical as it has been largely an enjoyable season. Could DC produce magic again now by going on another winning run to the end of the season? I think not but will be happy to be proved wrong. I just don’t feel our attacking options are good enough and the failure to anticipate Taylor leaving will prove our downfall. In truth it might not be a bad thing as I don’t feel we are anywhere near ready but hopefully Darrell has in mind plans for the summer signings which can make us an even better side next season.
So we move on to another game next week where we will be favourites which is a role that we do not seem to be that comfortable with and our main problem is that for all our possession and chances we do not score enough goals and that means that no game is going to be easy. We will miss Sweeney and Clarke -Salter (his natural replacement) net week but surely it should give us an insight into next season with a chance for Jonny Burns to show what he can give us. Personally it is the only change I would make from the starting eleven today but no doubt DC will have other ideas. Anyway I just hope that another big following next week will be rewarded with a good performance and three points that could ; depending on other results; keep our season interesting. Lets hope we can keep our discipline and keep eleven players