Late FA Cup drama as Spireites hit back to earn a replay against Walsall

Chesterfield FC caretaker manager Mark Smith
Chesterfield FC caretaker manager Mark Smith

Mark Smith guided Chesterfield to an FA Cup replay against Walsall, as a late leveller from Sam Morsy kept Spireites in the competition.

Walsall went ahead against the run of play when Jason Demetriou beat his way to the byline before slotting home with the aid of a deflection on 19 minutes.

Lee Novak nearly levelled five minutes later when Etheridge rushed out of his goal and failed to clear his lines.

The ball then fell kindly for Novak’s, but he was unable to find the target after he spun well to get the shot away.

But came close to doubling their lead when George Evans shot just wide after Jordon Cook’s pass split the Spireites’ defence open on 38 minutes.

Donohue kept Chesterfield in the tie five minutes after the restart when he hooked Paul Downing’s goalbound header off the line.

Cook then wasted a great chance to give the impressive visitors breathing space when he headed over from eight yards after he had eluded his marker.

Etheridge pulled off an excellent double save on the hour mark as he saved a Novak shot before blocking at the feet of Ebanks-Blake as he prepared to pounce.

The Walsall goal led a charmed life on 70 minutes when Demetriou cleared a fierce Dan Gardner at the foot of his left post.

Seconds later Ebanks-Blake had an effort cleared off the line and hit the bar with an overhead kick before Walsall somehow hacked the ball to safety.

But Chesterfield finally got the deserved breakthough with just one minute to go when Sam Morsy swept home from close range after Sam Hird hooked Ollie Banks’ free-kick into the danger zone.

Walsall were inches away from going ahead straight away when Sam Mantom cracked a free-kick against the bar on 90 minutes.

Etheridge pulled off another superb reaction save three minutes into stoppage time when he beat away an Ian Evatt header.

Chesterfield (3-5-2): Lee 5, Hird 6, Evatt 7, Wood 5 (Raglan 70 6), Talbot 7, Morsy 6, O’Neil 6, Donohue 6 (Gardner 65 6), O’Shea 6 (Banks 65 5), Ebanks-Blake 6, Novak 5.

Subs not used: Simons, Dieseruvwe, Ariyibi, Cairns.

Walsall (4-2-3-1): Etheridge 7, Demetriou 7, O’Connor 8, Downing 8, Henry 7, Chambers 8, Evans 6 (Mantom 77 6), Morris 6 (Forde 60 6), Sawyers 7, Lalkovic 6 (Bakayoko 85 n/a), Cook 7.

Subs not used: Taylor, Baxendale, MacGillivray, Preston.