REPORT: Mansfield Town 2-2 Chesterfield
Jack Lester's Chesterfield were denied a famous win over bitter rivals and promotion hopefuls Mansfield Town by a late equaliser.
Town led 2-1 until the 88th minute when Stags broke a long spell of Spireites dominance to rescue a point.
The hosts looked the better side for large parts of the first half but it was Chesterfield who led early on through Joe Rowley.
Mansfield hit back through Hayden White but fell behind again in the second half when Andy Kellett headed home.
It looked like Lester had masterminded a third consecutive victory until Zander Diamond’s 88th minute header.
The first chance of game fell to the hosts, a dangerous cross from the right only palmed into the air by Joe Anyon, Rhys Bennett hooking it over his head and over the bar from a couple of yards out.
Referee Andy Woolmer turned down loud penalty appeals from the hosts when Alex MacDonald went down under the challenge of Robbie Weir in the box.
Chesterfield’s best moment in the opening 10 minutes was a counter attack that ended when Kristian Dennis failed to find Jak McCourt who would have been clean through.
And Mansfield were quickly back on the attack, Omari Sterling-James and Jacob Mellis both driving shots wide from 20 yards.
But against the run of play Chesterfield took the lead. Patient build-up allowed McCourt to have a shot, which he scuffed to the feet of Louis Reed and he Joe Rowley who curled a wonderful finish past Conrad Logan.
Mansfield were level withn 11 minutes, breaking from midfield afer Reed misplaced a pass, Sterling-James finding the run of Hayden White who beat Anyon with aplomb.
Stags were buoyed by the goal and looked dangerous going forward, Chesterfield not getting close enough in midfield and making life hard for themselves with careless play.
But other than a couple of half chances, Mansfield were kept out by the Spireites who had a better spell towards the end of the half, Kellett shooting wide from distance.
The second half started with a chance out of nothing for Town, Kristian Dennis looking up and thumping an effort onto the crossbar from 25 yards out on the right hand side.
It was a bright start from the visitors, Kellett leaving his marker for dead with a lovely turn in the box but just failing to link up with Dennis.
Their spell carried on, Rowley’s quick feet teeeing up Reed for a shot from outside the box that Logan saved comfortably, before Brad Barry sent the ball across the face of goal just too far ahead of Dennis.
Lester’s men got the goal their good work deserved with a quick break that saw them switch from right to left where Dennis dug out a cross to the back post and Kellett headed in his first for the club.
As frustration grew among home fans, Town attacked again, Dennis’ low drive turned round the post by Logan for a corner - Kellett swinging the set-piece onto Jerome Binnom-Williams’ head and Logan had to gather.
Chesterfield were playing the ball around nicely and giving Mansfield very little possession to work with, but as the game neared its conclusion a wicked cross from the right by MacDonald was headed in by Diamond.
Mansfield: Logan, Bennett, Diamond, MacDonald, Mellis (Atkinson 69), White, Hunt, Sterling-James, Hamilton (Potter 65), Byrom (Spencer 72), Rose. Not used: Olejnik, Pearce, Anderson, Butcher.
Chesterfield: Anyon, Barry, Binnom-Williams, Evatt, Hird; Weir; Kellett (De Girolamo 90), Rowley, McCourt, Reed; Dennis. Not used: Parkin, Wiseman, Mitchell, O’Grady, Dimaio, Maguire.
Goalscorers: White 26, Diamond 88; Rowley 15, Kellett 58
Referee: Andy Woolmer. Assistants: Robery Hyde, Adam Crysell.
Attendance: 7,525 (1,646 away)