John Pemberton praises ‘unbelievable response’ as Chesterfield fight back for point against Ebbsfleet United

John Pemberton
John Pemberton

John Pemberton lauded an ‘unbelievable’ response to the angry words he spoke at half-time during today’s incredible 3-3 draw with Ebbsfleet.

It was the final game of his unbeaten caretaker stint, in which Town have come from behind three times to secure a hat-trick of draws.

This was the game that will live longest in the memory, however.

Three goals down at the break, Town mounted an unlikely comeback and equalised in stoppage time through Will Evans.

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Chesterfield keeper Callum Burton was then sent off for a punch and Evans had to go in goal to face, then save, a Michael Cheek penalty in the 99th minute.

“Obviously the first half wasn’t great,” he said at full-time.

“I just thought the goals were poor, poor mistakes.

“Half-time was interesting. I said a few things I felt they needed to hear.

“I made a few changes I felt needed to be done and we just focused on getting the first goal and then you just never know.

“The response in the second half was absolutely unbelievable.

“I thought Robbie Weir was unbelievable in there.

“The second half performance was a little bit special.”

Pemberton, who will give way to incoming manager John Sheridan this week, says the Spireites have been playing with fear.

“We needed a little bit of luck, we earned our luck the second half, with how we went about it,” he said.

“They played with no fear second half. That’s been a problem, they’ve been playing with fear.”

Chesterfield appeared to have lost the point they fought so hard to gain when Burton lost his temper.

Pemberton called it a ‘stupid’ reaction but revealed the keeper had apologised to his team-mates.

“Callum gets the ball, he’s trying to get to the edge of the box to break away, we could have been on the counter.

“Their player, it looks like, catches him, Callum’s reaction - he knows, it’s a stupid reaction, a ridiculous reaction.

“The first thing he did was apologise when the players walked in.

“It’s probably a little bit easier to apologise after a 3-3 than a 4-3.

“That’s getting wrapped up in the moment of a game that’s all of a sudden snowballed.”

There were a number of incidents involving Ebbsfleet keeper Nathan Ashmore and Town fans at the Kop end of the ground.

Chesterfield’s equaliser sparked a pitch invasion and since the game finished there have been ‘serious allegations’ made against supporters according to CEO Graham Bean.

Pemberton refused to condone the invading fans’ treatment of Ashmore.

I don’t condone what happened with the fans and the goalkeeper, it’s not right. But I felt he didn’t need to get involved with them initially,” he said.

“There’s an atmosphere in the game, the game has an edge to it.

“My academy staff have not witnessed anything like that. Unless you’ve been in it, it’s easy to get wrapped up in it, that’s why I was telling everyone to be calm.

“When you get wrapped up, that’s when stupid things happen.

“It’s a difficult situation but it’s not right the fans doing what they did.”

The academy manager hopes the players will take confidence from their three-game unbeaten run, as a new man takes charge.

“I felt the Solihull result was a turning point for us, a really important point,” he said.

“That gave us, you would think, a big platform.

“We’ve come from behind now in every game, unbelievably from behind.

“You’re hoping they grab something with that, a little more confidence.

“I’m hoping for the players’ sake, because they’ve been unbelievably supportive with me, they can turn the corner.

“The glimmer of hope is that there’s fight in them.

“In the three games they’ve been behind, there’s a never-say-die attitude.”