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Thursday, May 05, 2011

Big Match Preview - Chesterfield vs. Gillingham

Chesterfield vs. Gillingham
Saturday May 7, 15:00, b2net Stadium

Two sides with plenty still to play for on the final day clash in Derbyshire this weekend as top of the table Chesterfield play host to Gillingham.

The Gills still harbour hopes of finishing in the play offs, and know they must get something from the game. A point for the home side will confirm them as the basement division winners.

John Sheridan's side would have expected to have sealed the title after months of leading the way. However, a recent blip has seen the already-promoted Spireites still needing a result.

That's because a defeat, coupled with a win for second-placed Bury, would see the Shakers steal the crown from under Chesterfield's nose on goal difference alone.

They will be hoping it's a case of third time lucky in sealing top spot though, having been beaten by Bury 3-2 in their last home match before a 0-0 draw at Torquay in their most recent game.

That loss to their title rivals was only Chesterfield's fourth defeat on home soil this term as they have built their promotion campaign on an imperious record at the new b2net stadium.

No League Two side has won more home games than the Spireites this term, and with 56 goals bagged in their 22 games, they pose an unnerving threat going forwards to visiting back lines.

In striker Craig Davies they also possess one of the division's deadliest strikers, with 25 strikes already to his name. Veteran Jack Lester also has 16 goals this term too.

John Sheridan's Chesterfield have led League Two almost all season

For opponents Gillingham, they know that a season that had begun with such high hopes still has a possibility to end in promotion.

Andy Hessenthaler's men had expected to be challenging in Chesterfield's position, but endured a nightmare start to the campaign languishing towards the foot of the division.

A loss to Kent rivals Dover Athletic in the FA Cup further compounded matters and heaped on the pressure on Hessenthaler - in his second spell in charge of the club - to start delivering.

However, the Gills recovered and, having ended their away day hoodoo, embarked on a run which propelled them firmly into the race for the top seven - and even automatic promotion spots.

They've stuttered over recent weeks though - suffering 4-2 and 4-1 home losses to Barnet and Macclesfield respectively. Those defeats have dealt a severe blow to their hopes.

Even a win at the b2net on Saturday may not be enough if play off rivals Torquay and Stevenage both earn three points themselves. The Gills could then miss out purely on goal difference.

It promises to be a tension-filled afternoon though, but I have a feeling that only set of supporters will be cheering come full time.

A point apiece will be enough to earn Chesterfield a deserved title, but with results elsewhere it may prove to be a disappointing climax to the campaign for Gillingham.

Nobes' Prediction: Chesterfield 1 Gillingham 1

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