Match Report: Chesterfield 1 Dagenham & Red 1

Sam Hird is shown the red card against Dagenham by Tina Jenner Chesterfield v Dagenham and Redbridge
Sam Hird is shown the red card against Dagenham by Tina Jenner Chesterfield v Dagenham and Redbridge

The ten men of Chesterfield produced a battling second half display to earn a point at home to Dagenham and Redbridge.

A Marc Richards penalty had put the Spireites ahead shortly after the break before former Arsenal prospect Abu Ogogo levelled with a thunderbolt.

Zavon Hines had earlier missed a penalty for the visitors before Chesterfield had Sam Hird sent off for a ‘professional’ foul on Rhys Murphy.

Murphy could have won it late on for the visitors but his effort struck the post as the Spireites finish 2013 where they dearly want to remain... at the top of League Two.

Manager Paul Cook had named an unchanged side and his team started brightly.

Chesterfield could have been ahead within the first ten minutes when Ritchie Humphreys’ corner fell to Sam Togwell on the edge of the area.

The midfielder’s goalbound effort was blocked inside the six yard box by Jack Conners with Chris Lewington, the visitors’ keeper apparently well beaten.

Lewington was by far the busier of the two keepers during the opening exchanges and he had to be quick to react when Armand Gnanduillet turned sharply inside the area.

The striker sent a fierce drive towards goal the keeper did well to parry over his own cross bar.

A crunching, yet fair, tackle from Ollie Banks midway through his own half on Hines acted as a springboard for another Chesterfield attack and left the winger in a heap. Tendayi Darikwa advanced with the ball before he unleashed a driven shot that Lewington was equal to diving low to his left.

Hines soon recovered.

Darikwa had another sight of goal after a flowing move involving Eoin Doyle, Richards and Gnanduillet presented the winger with space to shoot, but his shot was tipped over his own bar by Lewington.

A rare Dagenham break forced a corner for the visitors. S

cott Doe was first to Scott Shields’s resulting flag kick but his glancing header whistled past Tommy Lee’s left hand post.

Lawson D’Ath saw his volley sail over from 30 yards after neat chest control shortly before Darikwa dallied and Doe blocked from a promising position inside the area.

The visitors grew into the game and their task was made easier during five minutes of madness during the first half, which saw the Spireites concede a penalty and reduced to ten men in two almost carbon copy incidents.

Hines got goal side of the Chesterfield central defenders and, as he went to control the ball, Ian Evatt pulled the forward down. The referee pointed to the spot and booked Evatt.

Hines dusted himself down to take the kick but got his angles all wrong and sent the ball a long way wide of Lee’s left hand post, with the keeper diving the opposite way.

Just minutes later, it was the turn of Murphy to get the wrong side of Evatt and Hird with the latter tripping the division’s top scorer on the edge of the penalty area.

The man in the middle, Richard Clark, had no option but to show Hird a straight red.

There was still time in the half for Dagenham to waste a glorious chance to go in to the break a goal to the good. Hines skipped away from Ritchie Humphreys and crossed for Luke Howell, who had the simplest task of heading the ball in from inside the six yard box, but he missed the target.

The interval saw Nathan Smith enter the fray for his first appearance since away at Portsmouth on August 31 and Cook sent to the stands.

The hosts made them pay shortly after the break with a penalty of their own when Brian Saah was adjudged to have handled in a tangle with Gnanduillet. Richards calmly slotted past Lewington for his seventh goal of the season.

Dagenham applied the pressure and drew level through a piece of individual brilliance from Ogogo, whose 25-yard piledriver flew past Lee and into the top corner.

The Spireites showed plenty of guts and had an opportunity to get their noses in front when Doyle was sent through on goal. Lewington was quick off his line to narrow the angle and made the save with his foot as the forward attempted to slot the ball into the corner of the net.

Lewington had to be on his toes to push away Richards’ header moments later after good work from substitute Jay O’Shea down the right.

Dagenham, understandably, saw plenty of the ball but struggled to break through a reorganised Chesterfield defence. Lee had to be alert to keep out Gavin Hoyte’s header late on.