Spireites match report: Chesterfield FC 1 Notts County 1

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On loan defender Georg Margreitter’s first goal for Chesterfield earned the Spireites a point at home to Notts County in an enthralling derby clash.

Blair Adams had put Notts in to a half-time lead but Chesterfield fought-back with a much-improved second half performance.

Ian Evatt made a crucial clearance off the line from substitute Shaun Harrod before the striker came to the Magpies’ rescue to deny Margreitter a second.

The Spireites threw everything at their near neighbours - recording 16 efforts - but came across former Manchester United keeper Roy Carroll in inspired form. Chesterfield manager Paul Cook made four changes to his starting line-up that battled so bravely at Doncaster Rovers seven days ago, as the Spireites started in a 4-4-2 formation.

Georg Margreitter overcame concussion which ruled him out of the trip to the Keepmoat Stadium and he slotted in to the back four in place of Charlie Raglan.

Sam Morsy, who sustained a hamstring injury in that game, didn’t make the squad though Cook is hopeful a return is sooner than first thought for the midfielder.

Ollie Banks, Jay O’Shea and Armand Gnanduillet came in to the fold while Ritchie Humphreys and Romuald Boco dropped to the bench, which saw academy product Myles Wright in reserve of Tommy Lee following Aaron Chapman’s loan out to Accrington Stanley this week.

Chesterfield’s opponents boasted the meanest defence in the division prior to kick-off but gave the hosts a glimpse of their attacking menace inside the first minute.

A speculative ball from the start from former Manchester United and Leeds United man Alan Smith put Sam Clucas under pressure with the make-shift left-back conceding a throw.

Curtis Thompson’s long one in to the danger zone caught the Spireites defence napping and Zeli Ismail forced Lee in to a spectacular save diving high to his right to keep the header out.

Chesterfield, who had averaged almost two goals a game from the first eight, looked for Gnanduillet and the in-form Eoin Doyle at every opportunity. Both had given Hayden Hollis and Louis Laing, on loan from Nottingham Forest, the slip.

An opportunity presented itself to Gnanduillet from Tendayi Darikwa’s deep cross in to the box, but the Spireites’ number nine failed to control on his chest and Doyle was flagged offside as he looked to feed off the scraps.

The visitors had threatened more than once and took the lead in the 15th minute when Chesterfield failed to clear a second corner. Adams got the ball out of his feet and unleashed an unstoppable shot from just inside the penalty box through a crowd and in to the far corner of the net.

The Spireites looked to get level immediately when Clucas advanced down the left flank and crossed for Jay O’Shea, but the Irishman steered his volley agonisingly wide of the left hand post.

Sheffield-born Nicky Wroe was a thorn in the side of Chesterfield throughout the first half and came close to doubling Notts County’s lead, when he sent a thunderous shot towards goal that beat the out-steretched arm of Lee and crashed against the post.

Jake Cassidy and Ian Evatt battled for the rebound which went narrowly past Lee’s right hand post, with the keeper scrambling across his goal.

The Spireites grew in to the game and Gnanduillet looked certain to score when he rose to meet O’Shea’s corner but he flashed his header wide from inside the six yard box.

A quick free-kick from Dan Johnson, who got better with every minute of the first period, caught the visitors cold but O’Shea drive was wide of Roy Carroll’s right hand post.

The former Manchester United keeper had to be on his toes moments later to claw Doyle’s header away from O’Shea’s head. The danger wasn’t cleared and Gnanduillet sent a header a whisker wide of the target, with Carroll left sprawling in mid-air.

Chesterfield had given themselves an uphill task for the fourth league match in a row and another half-time team talk from Cook was required if the hosts were to find a way back in to the game.

A long kick forward from Lee gave Gnanduillet something to hold up and when he found Doyle Chesterfield had two chances to draw level. O’Shea was inches away from connecting with Gnanduillet’s header back across goal and when the ball fell for Doyle, it looked like the Irishman would add to his impressive tally to date.

Carroll, however, spread himself and made the stop from point-blank range.

The Spireites were knocking on the door and, when Johnson picked up the ball 25 yards from goal, his curling effort looked destined for the far corner of the net only to miss by a fraction, with Carroll well-beaten.

Big Chesterfield shouts for handball were turned down before Carroll was called in to action to make two crucial stops before the Spireites finally found a way through for a well-deserved equaliser.

Margreitter gave a preview of what was to follow when he sent a thunderous header against the cross bar from Johnson’s in-swinging corner, Banks was first to the follow-up and his drive was deflected wide.

And from the resulting corner it was all square.

Margreitter wasn’t to be denied his first goal in a Spireites shirt when, in almost a carbon copy of what had happened moments before, he rose highest to send a powerful header in to the top corner of the net.

It brought three sides of the stadium alive and the boys in blue responded. Doyle found room and threatened before Johnson’s follow-up was goal-bound before it was bravely blocked by Laing.

Evatt came to Chesterfield’s rescue after substitute Harrod had given the home side’s defence the slip and brought a good save from Lee. The striker was alert to the rebound and hooked an effort over his shoulder towards goal that needed Chesterfield’s skipper to head behind.

Hollis angled a diving header wide of the mark from the resulting corner.

Liam Noble received a caution when he lunged in on Jimmy Ryan which left the Spireites midfielder on the floor and the home faithful calling for stricter punishment.

Dan Gardner slipped Doyle in with a precise through ball but Carroll was quick off his line to close the angle and make the save. Harrod had to clear off the line from the resulting corner when Margreitter rose in similar fashion to his goal at the back post.

Lee was forced in to an acrobatic save to deny Noble from distance before Gardner tricked his way in to the box and cleverly set up Johnson, who was thwarted once more by Carroll. There was still time for the keeper to save from Gardner at his near post.

Noble’s driven effort was deflected wide of the post before Johnson ran the length of the pitch only to be denied one final time by Carroll.

Teams

Chesterfield (4-4-2): Lee; Darikwa, Evatt (c), Margreitter, Clucas; O’Shea (Gardner 79), Ryan, Banks, Johnson; Doyle, Gnanduillet

Subs not used: Wright, Raglan, Humphreys, Boco, Dawes, Lamb

Notts County (4-5-1): Carroll; Thompson, Laing, Hollis, Cranston; Ismail, Wroe (Harrod 57), Smith (c), Noble, Adams (Thompson 67); Cassidy

Subs not used: Murray, McKenzie, Haynes, Spiess, Traore

Goals: Margreitter 62 (Chesterfield); Adams 15 (Notts County)

Bookings: Banks 34, Clucas 90 (Chesterfield); Cassidy 55, Noble 79, Smith 80, Cranston 90 (Notts County)

Referee: Andy Woolmer (Northamptonshire)

Attendance: 7,422 (1,222).