The Macron stadium was the most full it’d had been in years on Saturday, over 23 thousand people making the ground look rather similar to what it was in the long gone days of the Premier League. It was great to see and I’m sure it made us all nostalgic for the days gone by.
I don’t imagine we’ll many of the newcomers will be coming back though, as the Whites conspired to put on potentially the dullest performance ever. It wasn’t particularly awful or bad, it was just so meh. One shot on target in the whole game for the Whites does look bad, but there were very good chances to win the game, the finishing was just always wide of the mark.
It was clear the injuries suffered in the previous game effected Wanderers but, thankfully, with Fleetwood losing, it did turn out to be a point gained and not two lost.
So here’s how the players did:
Mark Howard - 5
The first of the three injured players the Whites missed on Saturday was Ben Alnwick. The goalkeeper has a pair of much safer hands than his stand in Mark Howard, and we looked aimless without his accurate distribution. Howard did manage to make a couple of decent stops, but he is a flounderer and how the Chesterfield striker didn’t take advantage of Howard spilling the ball right in front of him I’ll never know.
Dorian Dervite - 8
This was my first time seeing the second coming of Dorian Dervite and, I must say, I was pleasantly surprised at his extreme level of competence. He didn’t look completely comfortable in the back three, and was caught out a couple of times in the first half when Morais was upfield, but otherwise he was excellent. He read the game well and cut out several dangerous attacks and all in all just looked very competent. I hope Dervite continues to be like the player we first had all those years ago.
David Wheater - 8
It was another calm and assured display from, more than likely, Bolton’s player of the year. He looks right at home in the middle of the back three and it’s great to see him playing at such a high quality. It’s just a shame he couldn’t sort his feet out and grab a winner right at the end.
Mark Beevers - 6.5
I haven’t seen Mark Beevers out shined by his centre-back partners all that often this season, but he was thoroughly so on Saturday. He got caught out of position on a few occasions and was hopeless on the ball, he should have done better with a couple of chances in front goal and he was the number one culprit in spraying aimless and pointless balls to no one. It says something when one of the worst performances I’ve seen from Beevers in a White shirt was a 0-0, though.
Fillipe Morais - 7
So the mess that was Sheffield United aside, this was my first time seeing the Postman and bloody hell he doesn’t half have a great cross on him! He has a wicked delivery and it’s so good to see a winger whose only aim is to beat his man (which he did several times, #19 was fuming) and whip in a ball. It’s just a shame none of the great crosses were capitalised on, and even the absent Gary Madine can’t be given as the reason for that, as many Morais’ crosses were hit in low.
Jay Spearing - 5
I’m not sure as to why, but both Spearing and Pratley seemed a little off the pace on Saturday. Both looked very leggy and really struggled to get a grip of the game and really assert themselves. They did all the hard running, as you’d expect, but they were just lacking a bit of composure on the ball and were a little passive.
Darren Pratley - 5
Dean Moxey - 4
You can talk about Gary Madine all you like, but we missed Andrew Taylor so bloody much on the weekend. All of Chesterfield’s attacks, especially in the first half, were coming down Moxey’s flank as it was so easy to get in behind him and he offered nothing of substance going forward, just a couple of frustrating shanked shots and crosses.
Josh Vela - 6
Vela tried his damnedest on Saturday, and I was very impressed with his intensity and vigour when pressing the Chesterfield defenders high up the pitch and throwing himself headlong into crunching challenges. Sadly, due to the midfielders behind him not getting on the ball all that much the game just kind of passed him by in attack and he rarely got a chance to influence the game.
Adam Le Fondre - 5.5
Like Vela, I was also impressed with Alfie’s pressing and his ability to hold the ball up with a lumbering centre-back right up his arse. He didn’t get much of a sniff on goal, as nearly every Morais cross passed him by, but he should have done a lot better with the bicycle kick chance he had.
Chris Long - 4
It was my first opportunity to see Long and I was quite disappointed. Aside from one fast, mazy run which ended in the ball running out for a goal kick, he had next to no impact on the game. It was easy to forget he was actually playing at points as he was so anonymous and whenever the ball did fall his way his touch was loose and lacking. Maybe he’s better suited to an impact substitution role?
Max Clayton - 4
Looked tidy on the ball but couldn’t really get into the game.
James Henry - 5
Henry looked impressive in his brief cameo and should have been brought on much earlier. He was direct on the ball and was the main instigator in many of our final pushes to find a winner.