Steve Harris – @steveharris84
Match details: Torquay United vs Chesterfield
Venue: Plainmoor, Torquay
Date: Saturday 7th May 2022
Current Form (last six):
Torquay: W, W, D, L, D, D
Chesterfield: L, W, L, W, L, L
Torquay: Armani Little (14)
Chesterfield: Kabongo Tshimanga (25)
Chesterfield fact file:
Year founded: 1866
Nickname: The Spireites
Last season’s league finish: 6th in National League
Division Four/Division Three/League Two:
Winners: 1969-70, 1984-85, 2010-11, 2013-14
Division Three North:
Winners: 1930-31, 1935-36
Football League Trophy:
Manager: Paul Cook
Currently in his second spell as manager of Chesterfield, Paul Cook returned to the Spireites in February 2022, following the departure of James Rowe.
After making his name as a manager with Southport, Sligo Rovers and Accrington Stanley, Cook took charge of Chesterfield in October 2012. He led Chesterfield to the League Two title in the 2013/14 season, which they then followed up by reaching the League One play-offs in the 2014/15 campaign, where they were beaten by Preston North End.
Cook then left the Spireites to take charge of Portsmouth, who he guided to the League Two title in the 2016/17 season before taking charge of Wigan Athletic in the summer of 2017.
In the 2017/18 campaign, Cook steered Wigan to the League One title and guided them to the sixth round of the FA Cup, a run which included wins over West Ham United, AFC Bournemouth and Manchester City before they lost to Southampton. Cook remained in charge of the Latics until July 2020, after they bravely battled against relegation from the Championship despite being hit with a 12-point deduction for entering Administration.
A ten-month spell in charge of Ipswich Town then followed for Cook before he returned to the Technique Stadium.
Player to watch: Scott Loach
Former England Under-21 goalkeeper Scott Loach joined the Spireites in the summer of 2021 following two years with Barnet. After starting his career with Lincoln City, Loach joined Watford in 2006, for whom he made 163 appearances across six years until he moved to Ipswich Town in 2012. He later had spells with Rotherham United and Notts County, as well as loan stints with Bury, Peterborough United, Yeovil Town and York City before signing for Hartlepool in 2017. He remained with the Pools for two years before he joined Barnet in 2019.
Date of Birth: 27th May 1988 – 33 Years Old
International: England U21, 14 Caps, 0 Goals
Former Clubs: Lincoln City, Bourne Town, Radcliffe Olympic, Boston Town, Spalding United, Lincoln United, Grantham Town, Watford, Stafford Rangers, Morecambe, Bradford City, Ipswich Town, Rotherham United, Bury, Peterborough United, Yeovil Town, Notts County, York City, Hartlepool United, Barnet
National League Stats 21-22: Played 42, Conceded 49, Clean Sheets 15, Yellows/Reds 3/0
Chesterfield: Fraser Kerr, Jak McCourt
Last meeting: Chesterfield 2 – 2 Torquay United, 25th September 2021
Late goals from Armani Little and Tom Lapslie helped Torquay to rescue a draw at Chesterfield and prevent the Spireites from returning to the top of the National League.
The home side looked to have secured both points courtesy of two second-half goals from striker Kabongo Tshimanga, but they were undone in stoppage-time. The Spireites had the better chances in a goalless first half thanks largely to Tshimanga who created opportunities for Jak McCourt and Stefan Payne. Home goalkeeper Scott Loach pulled off two fine saves from Klaidi Lolos just before the break to keep the visitors out before Tshimanga took centre stage in the second half.
On the hour, winger Calvin Miller fired in a low cross which goalkeeper Shaun MacDonald could not hold and the former Boreham Wood forward was on hand to tap into the net. George Carline had his header saved by MacDonald on 74 minutes and Tshimanga was once more in the right place at the right time to grab his second. Midfielder Little fired a shot past Loach on 89 minutes for the Gulls, which looked like little more than a consolation.
But his corner in the fifth minute of stoppage-time found Lapslie at the near post and he slotted home a dramatic equaliser.
Chesterfield (3-5-2): Loach; Kerr, Gunning, Maguire; Carline, Weston, McCourt, Mandeville, Miller; Payne, Tshimanga.
Torquay (3-5-2): MacDonald; Wynter, Lewis, Moxey; Johnson, Hall, Little, Rogers, O’Connell; Wright, Lolos