Late, late equaliser denies Spireites

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York City 2, Chesterfield 2

Chesterfield’s caretaker boss Tommy Wright said he was pleased with his team’s work-rate, despite the Spireites being robbed of victory at York by a late late equaliser.

He said: “We’re frustrated at this moment in time with it being such a late equaliser but they’re a decent side, playing with a lot of confidence, we came here and we played well. There were some good individual performances, especially young O’Donnell coming in the goals, he’s got big boots to fill and he handled the occasion well.”

It was a goal in the fifth minute of stoppage time, after four had been signalled, that cost Chesterfield their first league win of the season.

Jason Walker twisted his body to volley home a fine last gasp equaliser after Chris Smith had headed back a hopeful and somewhat desperate ball into the box. A minute earlier, the Spireites were in control of the ball at the other end of the park and seemingly set for the three points, but they lost out to allow York to pump it forward and snatch a share of the spoils.

After a somewhat slow start on a red hot day, the game burst into action in the final 10 minutes of the first half. Sam Hird was on hand to stab home his first goal since February 2009 after Craig Westcarr’s free-kick had twice seen Marc Richards thwarted by keeper Michael Ingham in the 36th minute, a goal that had threatened to come for the team.

Just four minutes later, City were back on level terms. Walker fed Michael Coulson and his deft chip from the right side of the six-yard box beat Richard O’Donnell, who was making his first start for the Spireites.

Parity lasted just a minute. Drew Talbot and Sam Togwell made some space on the right in their own half and the latter sent a low ball through to Westcarr to run on to and slip beyond the keeper. That gave the visitors, who’d been unbeaten in their last nine visits to Bootham Crescent, a halfway lead and they were good value for that.

But Walker’s hammer blow cost Tommy Wright’s side the victory they’d looked set for throughout the second half.

With Danny Whitaker picking up a groin injury in training, Wright gave a first start to 18 year old Jacob Hazel. He showed some neat and tidy touches and had an angled shot fly just wide, but he didn’t really influence the game. O’Donnell, in for shoulder victim Tommy Lee, had a couple of sharp saves to make, from a Chris Smith downward header and a Walker free-kick, both before the break. Throughout he looked competent and confident, communicating with his defence well and he was faultless with both goals.

Mark Allott’s experience was given the nod over Mark Randall, mainly due to Hazel’s selection with Wright looking to keep plenty of knowhow in the middle whilst Westcarr returned from suspension in place of Scott Boden, who eventually came on for Hazel.

Neither keeper was overly busy, though O’Donnell had to deal with and organise his colleagues for nine York corners during the game.

On the 22nd anniversary of York player David Longhurst collapsing and dying in a home game against Lincoln City, it looked like his memory was going to be reminisced with a home defeat but, somewhat poetically, Walker’s goal flew into the end with a stand named after the unfortunate player to send the home contingent away happy.

York: Ingham, Oyebanjo, C.Smith, Carlisle, Taylor (Fyfield 65), Blair, Parslow, Coulson (Reed 81), J.Smith (Challinor 69), Chambers, Walker. Subs (not used): Musselwhite, Bullock, Potts, McReady.

Chesterfield: O’Donnell, Forbes, Hird, Trotman, Ridehalgh, Talbot, Togwell, Allott (Clay 87), Hazel (Boden 59), Westcarr, Richards (Lester 89). Subs (not used): Crossley, Wafula, Randall, Darikwa.

Ref: Darren Bond (Lancs)

Bookings: Forbes, Talbot (Chesterfield), Walker, Coulson (York)

Attendance: 5119 / 1444 from Chesterfield