Monday 19th December 2022: Staveley Miners Welfare Ground, Staveley Derbyshire. Kick off 19.30 pm
As the freeze of the past ten days ended I noticed a game not far up the road at Staveley. Chesterfield FC had hired the all weather pitch to play their previously twice postponed ‘Derbyshire FA Senior Challenge Cup’ match. It was to have been played at Clay Cross’s ground but was postponed on 6th December due to a waterlogged ground and the 13th due to a frozen pitch.
Staveley had not missed out like other teams because of hard pitches and the drainage was more than adequate to cope with the change in temperature, a balmy 13 degrees and the slight drizzle that soon wet you through if you stood out in it.
Chesterfield’s team was styled as a Chesterfield FC XI as they were playing many youngsters as a group of their fans just behind me in the stand told me. They said that the only first team squad player was the goalkeeper Luke Chadwick.
This I’m sure was a disappointment to the Belper United players who would have loved to have pitted their skills against a team four promotions away from them. However it was understandable that Chesterfield were in this position as their FA Trophy game was postponed from Saturday and was to be replayed the next night. Chesterfield have also won through three rounds of the FA Cup, twice against League opposition, and now face a mouth watering home game against Championship team West Bromwich Albion in early January. They are also sitting third in the National League with games in hand with Notts County and Wrexham above them, this league is in my mind the hardest, most competitive to get out of in the pyramid structure.
The facilities as always are first class at this venue and the Chesterfield fans were expressing their admiration and comparing it to some of the grounds in their league. I had a coffee and some chips before the game but they did not come up to their usual standard and I will not comment further than say they were cold and I resorted to some tomato sauce to help them down.
Chesterfield FC XI 0 Belper United 3
3rd in National League v 14th in Unuted Counties Premier Division North
Chesterfield in an unusual all light green kit: Belper United all blue ki with a white flash across shoulder and down the arms.
You sometimes know the result of a game early on and this was no exception. Belper immediately showed that they wanted the win and pressed forward down the wings with some intensity and direction. Chesterfield however played the ball out of defense slowly from side to side and were overwhelmed by hungry opponents. How Belper didn’t take the lead on 12 minutes was a mystery. A corner for them was awarded after Chadwick had managed to tip a shot over the bar and when it came into the box it was met with some ferocity hitting the bar and bouncing down to a group of player of which a Chesterfield player managed to scramble it away.
Chesterfield did come more into it at the mid point of the half but they lacked any cutting edge and didn’t bother the away teams defense. The left full back for Belper was now playing more as a constant overlapping winger and one of his crosses was headed just over on 35 minutes. But two minutes later the inevitable happened as he again flashed in a cross which this time was met by Josh Gregory who right footed put the ball beyond the diving keeper into the left hand corner of the goal. So a deserved half time lead for Belper who came off the pitch to torrential rain.
Chesterfield were a little more direct after the restart but within 10 minutes another attack on the left made it to the goal line and the cross was rolled along the ground past the despairing goalkeeper for Richard Hanslow to tap home for Belpers’ second.
Belper played out the rest of the game with ease and made it three nil when yet another cross from the left was loop headed over Luke Chadwick’s dive by Jack Tyson.
The one bright spot for Chesterfield was the performance of the number 3, Archie White, according to the team sheet, who didn’t give up all night and provided many of their better plays.
Great to be back after the freeze and I would expect that Belper will have a harder game away against Gresley in the next round even if that club is a Division lower than them.