On Tuesday 22nd October 2013, I went to the Proact Stadium to watch Chesterfield play York City.
Over two months in to the new season and the Proact Stadium was finally hosting its first evening game of the campaign. Chesterfield had slipped off the top of the table and headed in to the match with no win in their last four league matches and on the back of a disappointing 2-0 home defeat at the hands of Burton Albion. Tonight’s opposition, York City, had made a slow start to the season. The Minstermen had picked up just three wins in 11 league games and so it appeared to be a good chance for the Spireites to get back to winning ways in a match they were clearly favourites.
Paul Cook made a dramatic number of changes to the Chesterfield starting eleven, clearly hoping to bring an end to this poor run of form. Ryan Edwards, Ian Evatt, Jamie Devitt, Gary McSheffrey and Armand Gnanduillet took the places of Drew Talbot, Sam Hird, Tendayi Darikwa, Chris Porter and Eoin Doyle in the side.
Former Northern Ireland manager Nigel Worthington currently takes charge of York City and he also made changes to his side, with Lanre Oyebanjo, Ben Davies and Ryan Brobbel replacing Jamal Fyfield, Ashley Chambers and Wes Fletcher following a 3-0 defeat to Newport in their previous game.
The game got off to a quiet start in front of just under 6,000 supporters. Armand Gnanduillet came close to putting the Spireites ahead. Jamie Devitt crossed the ball in to the box and found the Ivorian forward, whose header beat the keeper but bounced just inches over the crossbar.
Ryan Brobbel, who is currently on loan from Middlesbrough, had York’s first good chance of the game. The midfielder hit a powerful goal-bound strike that forced a fingertip save out of Spireites goalkeeper Tommy Lee in order to keep it scoreless.
But the Minstermen did open the scoring in the 35th minute. Luke O’Neill picked up the ball outside the box, cut inside and fired a low driven strike in to the bottom corner to put the visitors ahead.
Gary Roberts came close to restoring parity early in the second period when he turned and fired a strike that flew just wide of the far post.
On the hour mark, it was York who doubled their advantage. Ryan Jarvis jumped highest to get on the end of a corner and found the net with a strong header that took a slight deflection on its way.
But the Spireites were handed a huge lifeline just three minutes later. Roberts was brought down in the box and the referee was given no choice but to point straight to the spot. Gnanduillet stepped up and confidently fired the ball past Michael Ingham to reduce to deficit to one.
And with 14 minutes to play, Chesterfield completed their come back. Gnanduillet was again involved as he charged down the flank, before picking out Sam Morsy just inside the box. The midfielder scuffed his effort but the ball was bundled home by substitute Jay O’Shea to send the majority of the crowd in to joyous celebration.
Chesterfield were now in the ascendancy and they charged forward in search of a winning goal. Club captain Ian Evatt came close with a header that smashed off the crossbar. As the six minutes of added time was announced by the fourth official, a huge roar went up from the supporters who willed their team forward – but the home side couldn’t find a break though and the game ended level.
From 2-0 behind, a draw felt like a good result at full time from a home fans’ perspective. However, against a struggling side such as York it was a little disappointing and it is now no win in five league matches for the Spireites.
Chesterfield 2–2 York City
O’Neill ’35, Jarvis ’61, Gnanduillet ’64 (pen), O’Shea ’76
Lee, Edwards (O’Shea ’67), Huphreys, Morsy, Evatt, Cooper, Devitt, Ryan, Gnanduillet (Richards ’80), Roberts, McSheffrey (Doyle ’65)
Ingham, Oyebanjo, Davies, Montrose, McGurk, Parslow, Carson, Whitehouse, Jarvis (Fletcher ’74), O’Neill, Brobbel (Platt ’62)