Boreham Wood v Chesterfield
Saturday 4th February 2023, 3.00pm
LV BET Stadium Meadow Park, Vanarama National League
The Wood begin February with the visit of promotion hopefuls Chesterfield, looking to continue their recent run of form and build a gap on those below them, having jumped into the play-off places after victory at Aldershot Town last time out.
IN FOCUS: CHESTERFIELD
Back-to-back relegations in 2017 and 2018 saw Chesterfield drop out of the Football League for the first time since 1921, and they initially struggled to adapt to non-league football with two bottom half finishes including another battle at the wrong end of the table. However, the arrival of James Rowe saw them pick up form in the National League, with a sixth place finish in 2020/21 before Paul Cook’s return to the Technique Stadium helped them maintain their positive streak, and he guided them to another top seven finish last season in which they fell short in the play-offs at the semi-final stage. They have added a number of players to their ranks from the Football League as well as fellow National League clubs though, including Ollie Banks, Armando Dobra, Ash Palmer, Branden Horton, Darren Oldaker and Ryan Colclough, and will be hoping the third time is the charm as a result. Indeed, the Spireites currently sit fourth in the National League table with just two league defeats since the start of October, and will want to close the gap on league leaders Notts County sooner rather than later.
LAST TIME OUT
Barnet 3-0 Chesterfield
Saturday 28th January 2023
Vanarama National League
Nicke Kabamba’s hat-trick condemned Chesterfield to a 3-0 defeat at play-off rivals Barnet, with the Bees narrowing the gap to the Spireites.
The first chance of the game fell to the hosts, with Kabamba testing Lucas Covolan in the Spireites goal as they looked to make an early start against their play-off rivals. The visitors hit back with opportunities for Joe Quigley and Ryan Colclough on his full debut, before Covolan kept it goalless when he made a point-blank stop to deny Kabamba. Ash Palmer would have an effort of his own saved in similar fashion seconds later, before Covolan was once again called into action to stop Sam Woods from giving them the lead. It wouldn’t be goalless for long though, as the Bees struck first on the half-hour mark when Kabamba bundled the ball home from a corner, leaving their opponents trailing at the break.
A bright second half from Chesterfield saw them go close through top scorer Jeff King, who saw a cross-shot was deflected goalward resulting in appeals that it crossed the line before it was cleared, but the officials were unmoved. Quigley had another chance to level midway through the half when he scuffed an effort from close range, and he would soon pay the price as the Bees doubled their advantage with a little over ten minutes to go when Kabamba raced through before firing his effort into the top corner. They would then make the game safe with a third late on, as the former Northampton Town man raced through again to complete his treble and ensure there was no way back for the Blues, as Barnet held out for the win.
Barnet (A) L3-0
Altrincham (H) W1-0
West Bromwich Albion (A) L4-0
West Bromwich Albion (H) D3-3
Scunthorpe United (H) W4-1
Scunthorpe United (A) W1-2
Chesterfield have lost just two league games since the start of October, but the return of the FA Cup has seen their overall form drop slightly in recent weeks. Successive victories over Scunthorpe United over the festive period saw them bounce back to winning ways after losing in the FA Trophy, before a stunning six-goal thriller saw them shock Championship outfit West Bromwich Albion in the FA Cup Third Round, as an injury time equaliser from Brandon Thomas-Asante was all that stood between the Spireites and Round Four. Instead they would be forced to visit the Hawthorns for a replay, with the Baggies making use of their home advantage by overcoming the National League side 4-0. Paul Cook’s men did react with victory over Altrincham a week later, but they fell to a first league defeat since December against play-off rivals Barnet last time out as a Nicke Kabamba hat-trick condemned the Blues to their heaviest loss in the league all season.
IN THE DUGOUT: PAUL COOK
Veteran manager Paul Cook returned to the Technique Stadium at the start of February having previously guided Chesterfield from League Two to the League One play-offs between 2012 and 2015. After a 23-year playing career came to an end in 2006, he took over at Southport before moving to Sligo Rovers, and returned to England in 2012 for a short-lived stint with Accrington Stanley, preceding his first spell with the Spireites. He also achieved success in charge of Portsmouth and Wigan Athletic, and after his dismissal from Championship hopefuls Ipswich Town, he dropped down two divisions to re-join Chesterfield.
ONE TO WATCH: JEFF KING
Liverpool-born midfielder Jeff King joined Chesterfield after winning FC Halifax Town’s Player of the Year award as well as being named in the Vanarama Team of the Season, for the 2020/21 campaign. After coming through the ranks at Altrincham, King made just one first team appearance for the Robins prior to a brief loan spell at Prescot Cables, which preceded his permanent departure from the J. Davidson Stadium. He would go on to bounce between six other non-league clubs over the next two years, including Nantwich Town, Kendal Town, Trafford, Ashton United, Witton Albion and Droylsden, before finally making the jump into the Football League at the age of 21. A move to Bolton Wanderers saw him spend time with the Under-23’s before signing his first professional deal in July 2017, resulting in his inclusion in the first team’s pre-season trip to Scotland. He would feature just three times for the Trotters though, and after a loan spell at FC United of Manchester made the switch to Scottish Premiership side St Mirren where he continued to struggle for game time. He returned to the non-league in 2019 and made a breakthrough, with a move to FC Halifax Town seeing him go on to make nearly 70 appearances for the club. The versatile midfielder later joined Chesterfield, and has added 65 games to his career total since moving to Derbyshire where he has featured in countless positions, most prominently playing as a wing-back for the Spireites.
LAST TIME WE MET
Chesterfield 2-0 Boreham Wood
Saturday 29th October 2022
Vanarama National League
Boreham Wood succumbed to their first away defeat of the season courtesy of two excellent free kicks from Jeff King and Darren Oldaker.
The visitors got off to a positive start and attacked with intent, with Cameron Coxe causing plenty of problems on the right flank as he produced a couple of openings for Danny Newton early on, but Chesterfield grew into it and had their first real chance after 20 minutes when George Cooper headed wide. It wouldn’t be long before they took the lead when King hit a free kick beyond Nathan Ashmore, and this gave the Spireites the momentum as the Wood struggled to regain control, with the hosts dominating possession for the remainder of the half.
It took just two minutes into the second half for the Wood to produce their first chance, showing plenty of intent just like in the first half as Tyrone Marsh crashed Dennon Lewis’ centre off the crossbar. The Blues once again started to maintain control and went close to a second when Armando Dobra tested Ashmore, but would soon have a golden opportunity to extend their lead. Just a couple of minutes had passed before Ashmore turned villain, bringing down Oldaker in the box and giving the referee no choice but to point to the spot. Former Wood man Kabongo Tshimanga stepped up to take the penalty, but Ashmore instantly returned to hero status when he denied his former teammate from 12 yards, giving his side a lifeline. Buoyed on by this, the Wood went up the other end where Newton hit an effort just wide shortly before David Stephens headed straight at Chesterfield keeper Ross Fitzsimons, but unfortunately for the visitors, their efforts would prove in vain as the Spireites put the game to bed just minutes later. Once again from a free kick, this time it was Oldaker who stood over the set piece before firing into the top corner, giving Ashmore no chance. The Wood were unable to react, with Chesterfield seeing out the victory.
HAVEN’T WE MET BEFORE? JOE QUIGLEY
AFC Bournemouth academy product Joe Quigley spent more than a decade at Dean Court, and spent a number of loan spells away as he gained experience early on in his career. The last of these loan spells saw him make the move north to Boreham Wood, joining the club midway through the 2017/18 campaign after spending the first half of the season at League Two side Newport County. With stints at Poole Town, Torquay United, Wrexham and Woking, Quigley knew what non-league football was about already and he played a part in a memorable season in the Wood’s history which ended in a Wembley Stadium appearance as the club reached the play-off final. The Republic of Ireland youth international made his debut on the same day he was announced when he played 80 minutes in a 3-2 victory at Dagenham & Redbridge, before scoring his first goal in a 3-0 win over Ebbsfleet United. Although he wasn’t a regular starter due to the form of the likes of Morgan Ferrier and Bruno Andrade, Quigley went on to play 12 times for the club in all competitions, including an appearance in each round of the play-offs before returning to Bournemouth at the end of his loan spell.
OUR TOWN. OUR CLUB. OUR COMMUNITY.