Matlock Town take on Chesterfield on Wednesday evening for the first time in two years following the cancellation of last year’s annual meeting. Both teams come into this game with plenty of momentum following Matlock’s excellent start to pre-season and Chesterfield’s rejuvenation under James Rowe.
The Gladiators have won all four pre-season friendlies so far. In Matlock’s most recent game, they sprang a huge surprise in defeating League Two outfit Mansfield Town thanks to a first half goal from midfielder Callum Chippendale. This will be Matlock’s final pre-season friendly at home before the start of the 2021/22 NPL Premier Division which takes place on August 14.
As mentioned before, the new board and their appointment of James Rowe has totally transformed Chesterfield. After around five and a half years of total misery for the club following the resignation of the extremely popular Paul Cook, Rowe and the new board appear to have restored the club’s identity again; which, in many ways, is far more valuable than any trophy victory could possibly be.
Last season, the Spireites remarkably went from a relegation battle to a promotion push in the National League. Chesterfield ultimately fell short after an agonising 3-2 defeat away at Notts County in the play-off eliminator stage. Expectations are extremely high for the Spireites this coming season. The majority of the fan base believe that winning the league should be well within reach after signing players such as Danny Rowe and securing the signature of Jack Clarke on a permanent basis.
Chesterfield have played one pre-season friendly so far ahead of the upcoming season and surprisingly lost 2-1 away at Alfreton Town. Cult hero Tom Denton marked his long-awaited return from injury with Chesterfield’s only goal of the game.
One to Watch
The aforementioned Jack Clarke will be a key player to look out for in the Spireites team, if you’ve not already seen him play.
Clarke signed for the Spireites on a permanent basis very recently after he was released by Aston Villa shortly after the end of last season. Jack impressed Chesterfield fans last season during his loan spell at the club after bagging a number of assists and the announcement of his permanent deal with the club went down very well with Chesterfield fans.
Clarke plays in central midfield and certainly likes to get forward looking for a key through ball to feed strikers like Danny Rowe and Tom Denton. The 22 year-old Irish player has a big future ahead of him and should be at the forefront of Chesterfield’s title push for the upcoming season.
There doesn’t appear to be any injury concerns whatsoever within the Matlock Town squad. Midfielder Craig Carney is now back from holiday and Dutch goalkeeper Paul Cooper will be available for selection following his recent signing for the club.
The last time these two sides met was on July 16, 2019 at the Proctor Cars Stadium. So much has changed at both clubs in that time and this game must already feel like a lifetime ago considering the world events which has taken place since. The Spireites came away from the match with a 2-1 victory in front of a fantastic crowd of 1,474. Piteu Crouz gave the Gladiators a very early lead when he found the net in the third minute. Anthony Spyrou found an equaliser for the Spireites in the 13th minute before Jake Bennett gave Chesterfield the lead in the 36th minute of the game.