ALLEN DENIED AT THE DEATH
HARROGATE T 1 Williams 90+7 CHESTERFIELD 1 Smith 57
AARON Williams’ 97thminute equaliser denied Chesterfield a first league win since August after a feisty encounter at The CNG Stadium.
The Town substitute rifled home from a corner right at the death to cancel out Jonathan Smith’s 57th-minute opener for the Spireites.
It meant a SIXTH consecutive draw for Martin Allen’s men, but the Spireites boss was still proud of his side’s battling performance.
“Our players showed great character, we were very competitive, tenacious and threw our bodies in front of everything that came at us,” Allen said.
“It was backs to the wall for the last ten minutes, they threw the kitchen sink at us and they’ve done it very well.”
The Spirities looked as though they would inflict Harrogate’s third league defeat of the season after Smith tapped in a cross from Jerome Binnom-Williams.
Allen’s side did all the could to frustrate the hosts when ahead – and that came as no surprise to Harrogate boss Simon Weaver.
“We knew if they went a goal up they would waste time at every opportunity which doesn’t help us build momentum, but we’ve got to be better than that if we want to be up there at the top of the league,” he said. “We knew it was going to be a test of resolve, Chesterfield bring a very physical game plan and are very direct in their play.”
Weaver named the same squad that overcame Barrow on Tuesday night, while Allen brought Will Evans and Zavon Hines into his starting line-up.
The best chance of the first half came after 23 minutes when Jack Muldoon met George Thomson’s cross with a first time finish, but couldn't hit the target.
Things then got bit heated seven minutes before the break when a bit of push and shove on the touchline between Weaver and Chesterfield striker Hines resulted in both parties ending up in referee Sam Purkiss’ notebook.
The second half started in much the same fashion as the first half ended with chances few and far between until the 57th minute when Chesterfield took the lead with their first shot on target. BinnomWilliams got into a dangerous position and squared to Smith, who beat James Belshaw from close range.
Harrogate’s frustrations grew when Josh Falkingham were denied a penalty with five minutes when a goalbound effort appeared to strike a Chesterfield hand, only for referee Purkiss to award a corner.
From the resulting setpiece, Kitching’s header was well saved by Callum Burton, and Mark Beck couldn’t quite bundle the ball home.
That job, eventually, fell to Williams with virtually the last kick of the game to rescue a point and frustrate the Spireites again.
TOO STRONG: Jack Muldoon holds off Laurence Maguire and inset, Harrogate’s late equaliser