On a day which would also commemorate the lives of arguably two of the best managers for their respective clubs, the scene was set for a David v Goliath giant-killing act in the third round of the FA Cup. Photos are supplied courtesy of Tina Jenner
On a day which would also commemorate the lives of arguably two of the best managers for their respective clubs, the scene was set for a David v Goliath giant-killing act in the third round of the FA Cup.
It was Saturday 6th January 2024, the venue was Vicarage Road, and excitement was mounting to fever pitch as The Spireites flying high in the National League were set to play The Hornets, Watford FC, propelled into the golden era by Elton John and Graham Taylor.
With Watford three leagues higher up the pyramid, they were, of course, firm favourites, but every dog has its day, and Chesterfield had already knocked out both Portsmouth and Orient from League One!
“The blue end was awash with colour and a cacophony of noise erupted.”
A touching tribute to the late Graham Taylor and John Duncan preceded kick-off but once referee Gavin Ward had got the game underway, both sides showed early determination.
The home side bossed the early exchanges, but Chesterfield grew in confidence and took a deserved lead when Joe Quigley headed home Ryheem Sheckleford’s fantastic cross from the right.
The blue end was awash with colour and a cacophony of noise erupted. Could this be a repeat of 1997?
The Spireites played superbly, and with Dobra imperious in midfield, they more than held their own for so long against their mightier opponents.
It was late when the home side levelled with a quality finish from Rajovic and the live-wire Tom Dele-Bashiri clinched the win for Watford with a piece of magic in the closing moments of added time.
Defeat was hard to take, but Chesterfield did the town and their noisy support proud. They never changed their approach throughout and looked to have done enough to bring a talented Watford side back to the SMH.
The match was played in a fantastic spirit too. So much praise was heaped on the way Chesterfield played, as well as on the conduct and passion of their supporters.
To be present at such a pulsating game was a privilege; to watch it from the luxury of a hospitality box an added bonus! A classy lounge, delicious food, and an unbeatable view of the game, spiced up with high spirited camaraderie, were generously offered by Watford kit suppliers, Kelme Teamwear.
Kelme Teamwear is an international sportswear company which has provided the team kits for most of the elite Spanish teams, including Real Madrid. Their business link to the local area is through their sole UK distributor, Kelme UK which operates from Kick Off Sport, based on Holt Lane in Matlock, where much of the printing and embroidery takes place.