Spireites held at York

Chesterfield retained their long-standing unbeaten record against York City following a 1-1 draw but they’ll feel they should have held on for the three points after dominating until City’s later changes made the game a more even contest.

Jeff King’s well-struck early goal gave the Spireites a dream start but they failed to step up a gear and add to their tally.

York had looked second best but their three substitutions all added fire and threat and their well-worked equaliser could have been predicted after a failure to match the first-half control in the second period.

It is over eight years since Chesterfield’s last competitive fixture against York City, a 2-0 win at the much-loved Bootham Crescent, on the way to the League Two title under Paul Cook.

The two clubs have suffered a major decline in fortunes since but, hopefully, both are now back on the right track…..an ideal metaphor on the club’s visit to York’s impressive new LNER Community Stadium for the first time, hoping to keep their 30-year unbeaten record against City intact.

The two sides have mixed recent form with both experiencing three losses in the last six league fixtures but the Spireites claimed a morale-boosting home win last weekend whereas City, down to ten men, fell to a 78th minute defeat at Aldershot.

Paul Cook chose to make  two changes from the side that began against Bromley. Armando Dobra and Liam Mandeville had to settle for places on the bench as Akwasi Asante and Jez Uchegbulam grabbed a starting slot.

The footballing conditions were perfect on a cooling autumn evening. The pitch uses reinforced natural grass and looked as sleek as a snooker table; ideal for flowing football.

The Spireites kicked off defending the end of their massed support and York started like an express train but failed to carve out an early opening that their pressure warranted.

The Spireites slowly inched back into their stride and won a free-kick just outside the area after Jeff King was felled. King took the ninth minute free-kick himself and curled the ball sweetly round the wall into the bottom right corner for his fifth league strike of the season.

City’s first corner was claimed easily and from the clearance Asante burst into the box and hit goalwards. Maxim Kouogun’s block ended the move.

King picked up well on the right flank, edged forward several paces before hitting an angled blast that was narrowly wide of the left upright.

Another lively move saw King’s cross into the box find Asante but he was unable to control and hit a bobbly effort wide.

Moments later a prolonged spell of Spireite possession involving five players ended with Jones finding Horton, whose cross found Uchegbulam at the far post, but his effort missed the target.

York got forward when they were able; the lively Maziar Kouhyar wasted a good opportunity to gain ground when he decided to hit from distance; his rushed effort flew wide.

The Minstermen gained their second corner and from Kouhyar’s well-flighted dead ball Gus Mafuta headed narrowly over.

York went close after a great ball from the left found Olly Dyson on the edge of the six yard box with only the keeper to beat. Ross Fitzsimons got down well to block and avert the danger.

York’s claim that King’s challenge on top scorer Lenell John-Lewis in the box warranted a penalty was dismissed by referee Scott Jackson who was just as adamant that it didn’t. City were incensed and failed to regain their composure in the two added minutes of the half as the Spireites took their one-goal advantage into the break.

Chesterfield were kicking towards their fans in the second period but City started strongly and gained a corner from their first attack, the planned one-two failed.

The Spireites burst forward and neat play from Uchegbulam found King, whose cross into the area was too difficult for Ollie Banks to connect cleanly, his header going over the crossbar.

Moments later Darren Oldaker’s perfectly weighted ball into the area ran too fast for Tshimanga to capitalise on.

It really should have been two, ten minutes into the half. A gem of a ball from Uchegbulam found King on the right; Asante was inches away from connecting with his angled ball across goal.

Banks took a knock and Paul Cook decided not to take any risks as Tom Whelan took over after 64 minutes.

Kouhyar’s mazy run forced King to concede a free-kick just outside the are; he took the kick himself and simply floated the ball into the arms of Fitzsimons.

Cook completed his changes as Mandeville replaced Uchegbulam and Dobra took over from Asante.

Dobra’s lay-off for Tshimanga was inches away when Dan Pybus got a toe to clear.

City made their three changes and a leveller by substitute Mitch Hancox soon followed as he ran in to connect well with ex-Spireite Alex Whittle’s ball across goal.

City had their tails up and were eager to keep pressing forward. The Spireites, meanwhile, needed to regroup get their rhythm back.

It was a wild last five added minutes as both sides went agonisingly close to breaking the deadlock with City substitute Manny Duku forcing a fantastic save from Fitzsimons in the last minute of the five.

Chesterfield: Fitzsimons, King, Williams, Grimes, Horton, Jones, Banks (Whelan 65), Oldaker, Uchegbulam (Mandeville 72), Asante (Dobra 72), Tshimanga

Substitutes not used: Cook & Cooper

Attendance: 6,325 including 1,708 Chesterfield supporters

Referee: Scott Jackson