Spireites’ upped their game significantly to end a run of seven straight league defeats and five without scoring.
But the three points that have been so elusive, particularly at home, were snatched away when James Maddison drilled in a free-kick from 25 yards after he’d been fouled by Sam Hird following a burst from the halfway line. Maddison had hit the wall with a similar effort, but at the death he found the range perfectly.
Chesterfield had taken the lead in the first half when eight hours and eight minutes without a league goal was ended when sub Lee Novak headed in Jay O’Shea’s free-kick.
Novak replaced Coventry born Ian Evatt who was carried off but Danny Wilson, leading the team at home for the first time, hopes the injury isn’t as bad as first feared. The manager said: “Ian’s got a swollen Achilles, nothing’s snapped, but we’ll have to wait for the swelling to go down before we can fully assess it.
A fully committed contest saw City boss Tony Mowbray sent to the stands by referee Paul Tierney after he’d entered the field of play to protest whilst Chris Herd received treatment on the touchline. Herd and his colleagues’ endeavor was praised by the new boss.
Wilson added: “We asked them to do a certain thing today and that was to show commitment and passion and show what it means to them, and every man out there did just that and anyone who watched the game will say the same.
“We saw Sylvan Ebanks-Blake track back 60 yards to make a tackle and Chris Herd went in for a huge tackle; he lost a contact lens in that challenge and he couldn’t get the replacement in and after he’d banged into me three times on the touchline, I felt he needed to come off!”
Inevitably Wilson was gutted by the late goal. He said: “We had to be disappointed at the end conceding late on, it was a terrific free-kick though, but over the 90 minutes a draw was probably a fair result. We could have gone 2-0 up with a couple of chances, but would we have deserved it? To be honest at that stage I wouldn’t have cared.”
The chances he referred to at 1-0 fell to Ebanks-Blake who clipped the bar with one and had the other blocked a yard from the line by a defender.
The game was played in a superb atmosphere; a section of City’s large contingent invaded the pitch after the late leveller showing what it meant to them whilst the game started on a high with Wilson welcomed to the role in fine style.
He concluded: “The welcome I got was brilliant, I didn’t expect it. I’m extremely proud to lead the team after living in the area for so long, I never thought it would happen, but I’m here now and looking forward to the next challenge starting with Shrewsbury on Saturday, a big match but they’re all big from now on.”
Chesterfield: Lee, O’Neil, Hird, Evatt (Novak 21), Wood, Donohue, Herd (Banks 80), Morsy, Ariyibi, O’Shea (Dieseruvwe 61), Ebanks-Blake. Subs: Chapman, Simons, Onovwigun, Harrison.
Goal: Novak 38.
Coventry: Charles-Cook, Haynes, Stokes, Ricketts, Phillips (Tudgay 78), Fleck, Vincelot, Kent (Murphy 65), Maddison, O’Brien, Fortune (Armstrong 65). Subs: Burge, Lameiras, Bigirimana, Evans.
Goal: Maddisonb, 88.
Ref: Paul Tierney (Lancashire).
Bookings: Morsy (Chesterfield), Maddison, Fleck (Coventry).
Attendance: 9,057 (2,636 from Coventry).