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Monday, 10 March 2014

Rodrigo strike saves Chesterfield from drop; Wolves relegated


Wolverhampton Wanderers 0 Chesterfield 1
Chesterfield sealed a dramatic 1-0 win over fellow relegation candidates Wolverhampton Wanderers courtesy of a solidarity strike from Spanish starlet Rodrigo. The result meant that the Spireites would secure their Division Three status for the second consecutive season while the reigning English Shield winners Wolves were left to ponder their future after being relegated into Division four.

In a week where the Spireites fans were calling out for a heroic display, Chesterfield duly delivered and reproduced some of their finest form which saw them challenge for a promotion spot last season. 
Coming into matchday 38, the tussle for the relegation spots was intense with as many as 7 sides who have could ended up in bottom three, Chesterfield sat in the relegation zone with 44 points whilst Wolverhampton had rallied since their English Shield triumph by winning four of their last five matches and sat one point above the Spireites. 

Manager Glory Days made a few tactical changes for the big clash with American fullback Fabian Johnson 
 replacing Hiroki Sakai; Marcos Rojo partnered Mikel San Jose in the centre of defence instead of Vladimir Granat and returning Spanish starlet Rodrigo came in for Angelo Henriquez.

In a tense encounter, both sides were tentative in the early stages but Chesterfield played the better football which produced a dangerous set piece situation when Wolves central defender Kouyate tackled Garmash instead of the ball. Spanish winger Pablo Hernandez whipped in a dangerous cross which landed at the feet of English midfielder Leon Britton who struck a low shot but was denied great reflexes by Wolves keeper Kevin Trapp keeping the shot out.  

Pablo Hernandez was once again turned creator when he produced a brilliant cross field ball to Adam Lallana who nodded the ball forward into the path of his run into the penalty box, unleashing a shot which was kept out by a great reaction save from Trapp. 

Chesterfield were unrelenting at the Wolverhampton goal and Spanish starlet Rodrigo created an opening with a lovely one-two move with Leon Britton but a stunning reaction save by Trapp kept the scores level.

Wolves had their backs to the wall for much of the match but produced a golden opportunity when a dangerous cross by Markel Susaeta was well met by Lucas only for a dazzling save by in-form Chesterfield keeper Claudio Bravo keeping the effort out.

The deadlock was finally broken when Spireites new signing Pablo Hernandez skinned the defender for pace and supplied a delicious cross which was met by Rodrigo who guided the ball into the back of the net to give the Spireites the shock lead.

It was the perfect way to cap off what had been disappointing season for the Spanish striker who promised so much but was marred by injuries and indifferent form making only 17 appearances. There were even doubts whether Rodrigo would be able to start against Wolves however if his star performance is any indication, Rodrigo will be seeing more starts next season.     

The remainder of the match was epitomised by Chesterfield’s stubbornness to not allow Wolves anywhere near their penalty area and only afforded long range shots at goal. 
When the final whistle blew, a huge wave of euphoria washed over the sea of blue Spireites fans after the general consensus had condemned Chesterfield to relegation but it wasn’t to be and the fans duly celebrated.

In such a high tension match, Chesterfield exhibited some of their greatest qualities; their defensive resilience, stout midfield and clinical finishing. With the 1-0 win over Wolves, Chesterfield secured 15th place leapfrogging Rochdale and Scunthorpe.

Manager Glory Days commented on the emotions and pressure he felt during the match

“It was a tense atmosphere throughout the match; both sides wanted maximum points so badly. There were scrappy moments in the game but I thought we had the better chances and we took them. I’m so proud of the boys, they played their hearts out and our effort was rewarded with a vital three points.”

He commented on the significant improvement in Chesterfield’s leaky defence and their clinical finishing in front of goal

 “We worked hard on the training ground in the last few weeks to alleviate the problems we had in defence, the team as a whole felt that the defence weren’t playing up to their potential and I agreed, so we used that motivation in the final weeks.

I think what we lacked against Plymouth was a cutting edge but credit to Rodrigo who clinically put away a great opportunity at goal. He just returned back from injury but he was determined to help the team over the line and that’s just what he did”

Glory Days was also questioned on why he turned down the Barnsley job

“I felt responsible for the side being down in the relegation zone and I wasn’t right of me to leave the club when they needed me the most. The most surprising thing to me was the response of the media and the fans upon hearing of supposed offer to manage Barnsley, everyone was nothing but supportive and appreciative of my time here and they accepted that if it was my time to move on to a bigger club, they wouldn’t stand in my way.”

When questioned whether his decision would have been different if Chesterfield had been relegated, he answered

“No, it wouldn’t have been any different. There is a belief and passion at this club where I haven’t experienced anywhere else in management. I guess you could say I did have a contingency plan if we were to be relegated but I had full faith in the team that we were capable of saving ourselves.”


  1. Well done on saving the team from relegation! Good luck in the new season :)