MATCH REPORT: Chesterfield share six goals in Posh thriller
Chesterfield finally found their shooting boots in a topsy turvy six-goal thriller with Peterborough United.
The 3-3 draw was the first time Town hit the net more than twice in a game since their 5-2 defeat by the same opposition in December.
There was an element of good fortune to the result, the Posh hitting the woodwork no fewer than four times.
And in the context of the League One relegation battle it wasn’t quite enough, Oldham’s win meaning the gap between Town and safety is now 10 points.
But in terms of entertainment no one could ask for more, especially after a first half that saw both sides throw caution to the wind.
Peterborough cut the hosts open as early as the fourth minute, Tom Nichols getting in behind the defence on the right but cutting the ball back behind Bradden Inman.
And seconds later Chesterfield were ahead.
Rai Simons got the ball on the left flank, looked up and found Sylvan Ebanks-Blake who had acres of space and enough time to pick his spot from the edge of the area, beating Luke McGee to his left.
That lead lasted just two minutes, Inman firing in a great cross from the right, Craig Mackail-Smith afforded the freedom of the Spireites box to blast the ball past Thorsten Stuckmann.
It was an action packed start and Peterborough could feel very unlucky not to have gone ahead themselves, Mackail-Smith with another effort deflected past the post before Christopher Forrester cracked the bar from 30 yards.
On 18 minutes they did have the lead, Inmann crossing into the feet of Tom Nichols who, again, had all the time in the world to control and shoot low into the net.
The game being so open didn’t seem to suit the Spireites, especially at the back, where a slip by Osman Kakay allowed Forrester to get the ball at the back post, but the Posh man took a touch instead of shooting and Kakay blocked.
Town might have looked shaky under pressure but they were having their moments in attack too, Ebanks-Blake showing lovely control to create a shooting chance, the shot deflected wide.
And when the ball was knocked back across the Posh box following a Dion Donohue free-kick, Kristian Dennis fluffed his first shot and hammered his second high into the net to level.
But yet again they conceded within two minutes, Forrester playing in Mackail-Smith who rolled the ball into the corner of the net for a 3-2 lead.
The game actually settled down for a spell after the break and bar a Mackail-Smith shot that rose into the stand, Chesterfield weren’t really troubled.
And things took a turn in their favour when Ebanks-Blake received the ball on the left side of the area and slipped it back to Donohue who controlled and slotted home from just inside the box.
With just over an hour gone the Spireites were well on top and Donohue could see his name in lights as he took a lovely touch to set himself for another shot, this one blocked, leading to unsuccessful penalty appeals.
As the game entered its final quarter of an hour Chesterfield continued to probe without really creating a chance of note, while at the other end substitute Junior Morais ran onto a through ball and was beaten to it by Stuckmann.
The goalkeeper then watched a Michael Bostwick header clip the top of the crossbar from a dangerous Posh free-kick.
Gary Caldwell threw on Dan Gardner, for the tiring Dennis, with 10 minutes left and having been on the pitch several seconds, the replacement’s swerving 30-yard drive brought a fine save from McGee.
There was sheer relief for the majority of fans inside the Proact when Mackail-Smith took advantage of chaos in the Town box to poke home, but the flag went up for offside.
The Posh striker should have put the game to bed with five minutes left, running onto a sliderule pass to beat the offside trap and curl the ball past Stuckmann and onto the bar.
And the woodwork came to the rescue yet again almost instantly, Stuckmann making a fine reaction save from Michael Smith and palming the ball straight to Morais who hit the outside of the post instead of the gaping net.
A tired looking Chesterfield were unable to regain the momentum in the closing stages and in the end had to settle for a share of the spoils.
Chesterfield: Stuckmann, Hird, Anderson, Donohue, Kakay, Jones (Mitchell 87), Nolan, Dimaio, Simons (Faupala 70), Ebanks-Blake, Dennis (Gardner 80). Subs: Fulton, Angel, Mitchell, Grimshaw, Rowley.
Peterborough: McGee, Smith, Hughes, Tafazolli, Baldwin, Forrester, Inman, Taylor, Mackail-Smith, Nichols (Morais 70). Subs: Binnom-Williams, Tyler, Anderson, Samuelson, Grant, Penfold.
Referee: Mr Sebastian Stockbridge.
Assistants: Mr Matthew Parry, Mr Craig Taylor.
Goalscorers: Ebanks-Blake 5, Dennis 28, Donohue 54; Mackail-Smith 7, 30, Nichols 18.
Yellows: Donohue 31, Nolan 64, Kakay 81.
Attendance: 5,048 (246 away).