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League Two Lowdown: Chesterfield

23 July 2013

Our look at Pompey's League Two opponents continues with the Spireites

Meetings with Pompey
Pompey will make their first appearance the Proact Stadium this season, with all their previous away visits to Chesterfield taking place at Saltergate.

The maiden meeting between the side was an FA Cup third round clash at Fratton Park in 1969, when Nick Jennings’ brace and a goal from Albert McCann secured a 3-0 victory for the second division Blues against their third division opponents.

They faced off at the same venue in the League Cup in 1973 – this time with two leagues separating the sides. A small crowd of 6,972 treated Pompey to a slow hand-clap as Ernie Moss’ strike sealed a shock win for the Spireites.

But it was not until February 1977 that the Blues made their first to Chesterfield.

In a season when they narrowly avoided relegation to the basement league, goals from David Kemp and Maitland Pollock ensured an invaluable 2-1 Pompey triumph. Earlier in the campaign, the visitors had won 1-0 at Fratton Park.

All of the previous 10 league meetings between the sides have taken place in the third tier of English football.

Pompey suffered heavy 3-0 defeats at Saltergate in 1978 and 1981, but gained revenge in 1982 when a hat-trick from Billy Rafferty and goals from Steve Aizlewood and David Crown saw Chesterfield crushed 5-1.

And the Blues did the double over the Spireites in 1982/83 as they finished top and their opponents bottom of Division Three.

A 4-0 thumping at Fratton Park in April 1983 – the last time the sides met – with goals from Kevin Dillon (2), Alan Rogers and Alan Biley all but doomed Chesterfield, while putting Pompey in promotion cruise control.

Chesterfield history
There were several sides playing in Chesterfield before the current club were formed in 1919.

The first is believed to have been an offshoot of Chesterfield Cricket Club in 1867. Both cricket and football sides moved into the Recreation Ground in 1871, becoming separate entities.

But a falling out left the football club homeless, with two other local sides – Chesterfield Livingstone and Chesterfield Spiral – taking most of their players.

The next version were formed in 1884 and played at Saltergate. They turned professional in 1891, entered the FA Cup for the first time the following year and joined the Football League in 1899, finishing seventh in the second division.

But Chesterfield had returned the Midland League by 1909 after three successive last-placed finishes ensured they failed to gain re-election. And things went from bad to worse when they were entered voluntary liquidation in 1915.

A new club was formed using guests from other sides during the First World War, but this latest model went the same way as the first and was closed down by the FA for making illegal payments.

The local council filled the void by creating Chesterfield Municipal in April 1919 and the side promptly won the Midland League. But the Football League and FA were opposed to council-run clubs and forced them to become the independent Chesterfield FC that we know today.

They became founder members of Division Three (North) in 1921, winning the title 10 years later before being relegated back there in 1933.

But another title triumph followed in 1936 and following the Second World War, Chesterfield achieved their highest ever finish of fourth in the old second division in 1947.

There have been plenty of promotions and relegations since, while the Anglo-Scottish Cup was won in 1981.

Chesterfield were also unlucky not to reach the FA Cup final in 1997, drawing 3-3 with Middlesbrough in a controversial last-four clash and losing the replay 3-0.

Following relegation back to the basement in 2000, they were deducted nine points for financial irregularities, which saw chairman Darren Brown receive a four-year prison sentence.

Ownership was passed on to the Chesterfield Football Supporters Society, but debts forced the club into administration.

The Spireites will also be remembered for producing one of the greatest ever goalkeepers. World Cup winner Gordon Banks made his debut for the club in November 1958, but was sold to Leicester for a then club record £7,000 at the end of the season.

Chesterfield present
Chesterfield left Saltergate at the end of the 2009/10 season after a dramatic final match against Bournemouth.

The game was finely poised at 1-1 when, in the sixth minute of stoppage-time, Derek Niven scored the hosts’ winner and sparked a pitch invasion.

But they got off to a fantastic start at their new home the Proact Stadium – then known as the B2net Stadium – winning the League Two title.

Chesterfield tasted both glory and despair in the following campaign – beating Swindon to win the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy at Wembley before being relegated back to the basement.

The Spireties finished eighth in League Two last term – just two points shy of a play-off place.

Information for Pompey fans
Away fans are housed in the Rubicon Print Stand, where there is room for up to 2,112 supporters. Additional seating can be made available in the East Stand.

There are several pubs on the road leading up to the stadium, including the Derby Tup (which is featured in the CAMRA Good Beer Guide) and the Red Lion, which is located near a fish and chip shop.

Other pubs, such as the Rose & Crown and Crown & Anchor don’t admit away fans.

The town centre is a 25-minute walk from the ground and contains the Spar Lane Vaults (Wetherspoon), which is not far from the town’s famed crooked spire. The Rutland Arms, Donkey Derby and Chesterfield Arms are also recommended.

Travelling by road
Postcode: S41 8NZ
Distance from Fratton Park: 215.7 miles
Estimated drive time: 3 hours 50 minutes

Leave the M1 at Junction 29 and take the A617 towards Chesterfield. At the end of the dual carriageway at the edge of the town centre, turn right onto the A61 towards Sheffield. At the first roundabout, turn left and the stadium is on the right. For the main entrance, turn right into Sheffield Road and then right again into the club car-park (please note that this is for permit holders only). Street parking is available if you arrive early enough, but parking at the nearby Tesco store may result in your car being towed.

Travelling by train
Trains from Portsmouth stations take approximately four-and-a-half hours, which includes using the underground. Chesterfield trains leave via London St Pancras, which accounts for one hour and 51 minutes of the journey. The standard adult fare when not bought in advance is £103.10.

Chesterfield station is approximately a 25-minute walk from the ground. You can catch a bus from nearby Cavendish Street or alternatively a shuttle service runs every 10 minutes from Rose Hill by the Town Hall between 1.30pm and 2.40pm.

League Two fixtures
Pompey v Chesterfield: Saturday, August 31 (3pm)
Chesterfield v Pompey: Saturday, March 1 (3pm)

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