SAD SPIRE­ITES

The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Chris Dunlavy

CH­ESTER­FIELD’S chok­ers suf­fered a nine-minute melt­down as Wi­gan roared back to snatch a dra­matic vic­tory.

Dan Gard­ner’s pearler and an own goal from Leon Bar­nett had the Spire­ites 2-0 up and cruis­ing as the match moved into its fi­nal knock­ings.

But af­ter Bar­nett atoned with a scream­ing volley, Ch­ester­field fell to pieces, hand­ing Craig Davies the chance to equalise be­fore debu­tant Jordy Hi­wula net­ted a 90th-minute win­ner.

Many of Wi­gan’s 1,000-strong trav­el­ling con­tin­gent had fool­ishly headed for the ex­its in search of an early train, but those that re­mained spilled onto the pitch in breath­less delir­ium. For ev­ery­one else at the Proact, there was only des­o­la­tion.

“That’s football isn’t it? We’d played so well for 80 min­utes and we’re sit­ting there at 2-0 think­ing we’ve got the points in the bag,” said a de­jected Dean Saun­ders. “I think ev­ery­body in the ground felt like that.

“But they’ve scored from a cor­ner, that gives them a bit of hope. Then they’ve thrown ev­ery­thing for­ward and hoped some­thing would bounce. Un­for­tu­nately for us, it did.

“Af­ter the way we played, we’d have been dis­ap­pointed with 2-2.To lose is a kick in the teeth, but we aren’t the first team that’s hap­pened to and we won’t be the last.”

How Wi­gan walked away from this game with a vic­tory is mys­tery up there with Nessie and the Abom­inable Snow­man.

Though fleet­ingly dan­ger­ous – Tommy Lee made spec­tac­u­lar saves from Craig Davies and the clean through Michael Ja­cobs – the Lat­ics were sec­ond-best for huge chunks of an ab­sorb­ing, of­ten scrappy en­counter.

They should also have con­ceded a penalty when Don­er­von Daniels felled Gard­ner, only for ref­eree Mark Brown to bizarrely pull play back and award the Spire­ites a free­kick for a pre­vi­ous in­fringe­ment. “Clear penalty,” said Saun­ders. “He got that one wrong.”

Re­ward even­tu­ally came dur­ing what Wi­gan boss Gary Cald­well called “our crazy ten min­utes” – Gard­ner bending a de­li­cious 20yard strike into the top cor­ner be­fore Bar­nett some­how pow­ered Daniel Jones’ free-kick into the

PIC­TURE: Ac­tion Im­ages

FELLED: Wi­gan’s Chris McCann is brought down in the box by Sam Hird

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