Honours Even At The Proact
Chesterfield and Rotherham both had to settle for a share of the spoils in an entertaining local derby, as the Spireites were this time pegged back to draw their second successive game 1-1 in a matter of just five days. John Sheridan's side got off to a flying start in soaking conditions at the Proact Stadium, when Drew Talbot capitalised on a slip from Rotherham goalkeeper Scott Shearer to square for Jordan Bowery to open his account for the season, before Kayode Odejayi hauled the visitors level six minutes after the restart.
The manager plumped to make just the solitary change for the visit of the Millers, replacing Mark Randall in the centre of midfield with Mark Allott, who joined Sam Togwell. Tommy Lee was once again named behind a back four of Terrell Forbes, skipper Sam Hird, Neal Trotman and Nathan Smith, meaning new loan signing Liam Ridehalgh had to be content with a place on the bench. Talbot and Danny Whitaker lined up on each flank behind a strike force of youngster Bowery - who was twice denied by goal-line clearances in the midweek draw with Rochdale - and Marc Richards, as the pair sought their first goals of the campaign.
And Bowery didn't have to wait long, as just two minutes into the contest he gleefully steered home his first goal of the season in the most bizarre of fashions. With rain pouring from the Derbyshire sky, Togwell slipped a delightful ball in behind Millers left-back Laurence Wilson which Talbot chased down.
Rotherham keeper Shearer raced off his line to claim the ball, but in the sodden conditions his footing gave way on the glossy surface enabling the 21-year-old to slide home and give the home side a dream start after Talbot's centre. Bowery's pace was tantalising the visitors and after he forced a corner just four minutes later, Talbot's teasing ball was rifled over by Richards with the flag raised on the far side.
Typically of a local derby, the tempo began at allegro and similarly to the two previous league games, Sheridan's men had raced out of the traps and the sprightly Talbot once again tested the loose palms of Shearer. But the visitors finally awoke in the eighth minute and were unfortunate not to draw level when Smith misjudged an ariel ball and winger Lionel Ainsworth found the back of the net, only to see his effort chalked off after referee Mr. Drysdale penalised him for handball to cut the away supporters' wild celebrations short.
Ainsowrth went close again soon after, drawing a sprawling save from Lee before former Plymouth Argyle defender Kari Arnason nipped in front of the Spireites' stopper but could only angle his header wide when he was stooping to reach it. There was hardly time to draw breath and in the 14th minute, Chesterfield rattled the woodwork after Smith sliced his cross over the head of Shearer only to see it cannon off the upright and somehow squirm away for a corner.
Midway through the first half, the heavens opened once again as swashbuckling rain pummelled the roof of the Proact and with thunder and lightening illuminating the sky, it was Bowery's lightening pace which did the same on the field as he once again terrorised Rotherham captain Ian Sharps before hammering a powerful left-footed shot goalwards that went through Shearer and once again clattered the post.
But as the rain eased off, so did the chances and Richards once again fired an effort over the top just past the half-hour. Chesterfield were frustrating their opponents and their displeasure was evident when left winger Gareth Evans was booked for petulantly hacking the ball away after hauling down Talbot. Lee hadn't been forced into any desperate action as of yet and just four minutes before the break, Millers striker Ben Pringle came close after his dipping shot looped narrowly over the roof of the net. Smith was then harshly booked two minutes later after he had appeared to have cleanly took the ball with a lunging challenge, and it was his pin-point ball to Richards that presented a glorious chance for the hosts to double their advantage but Whitaker could only place his effort over when he should have driven it low.
Lee then kept the visitors at bay on the stroke of half-time, tipping over a Pringle drive after a loose ball had fallen to him as an enthralling opening period came to a close. Miraculously, the sun was now shining as the second-half began and it was Steve Evans' side who began the brighter, forcing a flurry of corners in front of their vociferous support, which the home side comfortably dealt with.
But just six minutes after the restart, the visitors were level and on the balance of play perhaps deservedly so, after Odejayi rolled skipper Hird before powering through to confidently dispatch past the advancing Lee. The former Barnsley striker was beginning to cause problems and he pressured Hird into a sliced clearance soon after the goal, but Trotman recovered to block Pringle's goal-bound effort and spare his captain's blushes.
Sheridan's side were having to weather the biggest storm of the game so far and Lee was once again called into action after he dived low to his left to thwart Ainsworth, who had galloped forward to retrieve Odejayi's delightful back-heel. With 69 minutes on the clock, Chesterfield responded as Togwell advanced forward but he mis-cued his effort, before Jack Lester replaced the hard-working Richards as Sheridan turned to the man who had scored from off the bench twice already this season to snatch a winner.
The 36-year-old talisman bagged a hat-trick in a 5-0 rout of Ronnie Moore's men when the sides last met, but it was Togwell again who looked the most likely for the Spireites when he lashed narrowly wide from 25-yards. Ridehalgh was introduced with just 13 minutes left in place of Whitaker as the home side began to regain control and Bowery was unfortunate not to control his lofted pass into the box with just seven minutes remaining.
The home side also had a huge penalty appeal turned down in the dying seconds, when Lester's effort looked to have hit the flailing arm of Sharps but another late goal wasn't to be forthcoming for the hosts, who had to settle for a share of the spoils against their local rivals and fellow promotion contenders.
Chesterfield (4-4-2) - Lee; Forbes, Hird (C), Trotman, Smith; Whitaker, Allott, Togwell, Talbot; Bowery, Richards (Lester 70).
Unused Subs - O'Donnell, Randall, Clay, Boden, Hazell, Ridehalgh.
Bookings - Smith (43), Hird (47)
Goals - Bowery (2)
Rotherham (4-4-2) - Shearer; Bradley, Sharps (C), Arnason, Wilson; Ainsworth (Agard 72), Taylor, Noble, Evans (Revell 81); Pringle (Rose 90+2), Odejayi.
Unused Subs - Warrington, Mullins, O'Connor, Nardiello.
Bookings - Evans (36), Sharps (77)
Goals - Odejayi (51)
Referee - Mr. Darren Drysdale
Attendance - 7,232 (1,978 away)