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Anderson Equaliser Ensures Spireites Feel the Love

Posted: Tue 14 Feb 2017

Tom Anderson gave the Chesterfield fans the perfect gift on Valentine's Day, after his late strike earned the Spireites a vital point at Priestfield.

The centre-back turned the ball home with the last kick of the game to earn his side a 1-1 draw at Gillingham, cancelling out Max Ehmer's 67th minute opener.

After a scrappy opening exchange it was the home side that fashion the first real opportunity of the game. 

Good work down the right-hand-side from Rory Donnelly won his side a corner. As the ball was whipped across the face of the goal Kristian Dennis was on hand to turn the ball behind at the far-post and spare the Spireites from an early deficit.

Moments later Chesterfield had worked their first chance too. Reece Mitchell broke clear down the left wing before beating two men and setting up Liam Grimshaw from 20 yards. The midfield star set himself, before firing just wide of Stuart Nelson's right-hand post.

As the clock struck 16 minutes there was danger for Chesterfield, Dion Donohue headed the ball back to Lloyd Allinson between the sticks and as the goalkeeper rushed from his goal-line to collect possession, he spilt the ball under pressure from Cody McDonald. The ball rolled loose and was promptly turned into the Spireites empty net by the Gillingham attack. 

Despite the mix-up, Chesterfield’s blushes were spared after referee Andy Haines awarded the visitors a free kick after a foul in the build-up.

Half an hour in and Chesterfield worked another good opportunity. Mitchell found space down the left, cut inside and whipped the ball into the centre of the Gillingham box. As the ball was cleared it fell to the feet of Dennis on the edge of the box. The centre-forward hit his shot on the half-turn but failed to make a good connection.

As the half drew to a close Chesterfield were lucky to keep out their hosts once more. Donnelly found space and time inside the Spireites box but his well struck shot rebounded off the post and was quickly cleared.

After the break Chesterfield were hanging on, Bradley Garmston found McDonald free at the back post with a deep cross but the forward's low shot was expertly saved by Allinson down at his near post.

The 96 visiting Chesterfield fans were made to wait until the hour-mark before their side worked another meaningful chance, good play down the left put the sparkling Mitchell in behind and the young wing-back did well to earn his side a corner. The resulting set-piece though left much to be desired as Nelson rose unopposed inside the six-yard box to collect.

Then came the visitors best chance of the game. David Faupala was slotted in behind by second-half substitute Rai Simons and found himself one-on-one with Nelson. The forward steadied himself but his effort was well saved by the keeper.

As the ball was cleared Gillingham broke away down the right and won a throw deep inside the Chesterfield half. Ryan Jackson launched the ball into the box and Ehmer rose highest to divert the ball into the top corner and open the scoring after 67 minutes.

With 15 minutes to play quick feet from Faupala won Chesterfield a free-kick 25 yards from goal. First-half change Angel stepped up, but could only fire his effort into the wall. 

As the teams entered the final 10 minutes the visitors worked another superb chance. Osman Kakay linked up brilliantly with Simons to work a shooting opportunity. Kakay smashed the ball goal-wards but was thwarted by Nelson from point-blank range. The ball rebounded to the Englishman who could only fire over second time of asking.

But as the final seconds ticked away Chesterfield struck back. Good work from a throw saw the ball fall to Ian Evatt on the edge of the box. His effort fell to the feet of Anderson and the centre-back’s drive nestled into the bottom corner, earning the Spireites a vital point a Priestfield.

Gillingham: Nelson, Jackson, Garmston, Ehmer (C), Oshiljaha, Wagstaff, Donnelly, McDonald (Parker), Dack (Martin), Wright, Emmanuel Thomas (Byrne).

Subs not used: Holy (gk), Hessenthaler, Osadebe, List

Chesterfield: Allinson, Kakay, Anderson, Evatt (C), Donohue, Mitchell, Grimshaw, Gardner (Ebanks-Blake), Nolan (Angel), Faupala, Dennis (Simons)

Subs not used: Duke (gk), Hird, El-Fitouri, Brown