Spireites fail to capitalise after red card

Tendayi Darikwa celebrates after putting the Spireites ahead on Boxing Day.''Pic by Tina Jenner
Tendayi Darikwa celebrates after putting the Spireites ahead on Boxing Day.''Pic by Tina Jenner

League Two leaders Chesterfield were held at home in a thrilling clash by the 10 men of Hartlepool United.

Tendayi Darikwa volleyed the Spireites in to a deserving lead but the hosts were pinned back by a resurgent Pool side. Matty Dolan slotted in a penalty early after the break to level before the visitors had Andy Monkhouse sent off.

Chesterfield captain Ian Evatt had a late sight of goal before Tommy Lee produced an outstanding stop to deny Luke James’ spectacular volley late on in an end to end game.

Colin Cooper’s Pools side weren’t to be taken lightly and one of the division’s emerging talents, James, showcased his attacking menace early on.

The 19-year-old turned sharply away from Evatt on half-way and, as he bore down on goal, Sam Hird produced an expertly timed tackle to thwart the striker. Lee was soon called in to action when a well-worked move down the right by Hartlepool presented Jonathan Franks with the ball inside the penalty area. The striker, with his back to goal, unleashed a volley which looked destined for the top corner only for Lee to tip over the cross bar.

Chesterfield responded with a move which ought to have brought about the opening goal when Darikwa got the better of Austin and presented the ball on a plate for Gnanduillet to slot in. But the striker’s shot was headed off of the line by Jack Baldwin. Gnanduillet had another sight of goal moments later but placed his shot wide of the right-hand post after Ritchie Humphreys, facing his former club, steadied the ball for the striker.

If there has been an Achilles’ heel for Chesterfield this season it has been their vulnerability from crosses. The visitors almost took advantage when Jack Compton floated a ball to the back post for Monkhouse to get above Talbot and head wide.

Doyle flashed a shot wide of Flinder’s left-hand post from 30 yards, after a smart knock-down by Marc Richards, before the hosts grabbed a deserved lead.

Richards picked out Darikwa at the back post who volleyed across goal and in to the far corner.

It didn’t take long for the visitors to draw level after mix up between Humphreys and Hird, which allowed Poole, who had replaced the injured Compton, to get goal side. As he shaped to shoot, Hird brought the striker down. Dolan slotted the ball past Lee.

Ollie Banks blazed over the bar from the edge of the area ubefore Richards got too much underneath his shot from a promising position inside the area.

Gnanduillet had another goalbound effort cleared off of the line, after a mix up between keeper and defender, presented the striker with a clear sight of goal. Burgess the covering defender, Gnanduillet would send an effort over the bar before the game turned sour when Monkhouse received a second yellow and given his marching orders. Dolan had Lee scrambling across his goal with a fierce effort before Richards curled a left-footed effort which missed the bottom corner by a whisker.