Chesterfield took a point away from second place Scunthorpe United at Glanford Park, as Eoin Doyle’s equaliser keeps the Spireites at the top of the league and unbeaten in six.
Scunthorpe took the lead through striker Sam Winnalll in the 15th minute after Tommy Lee parried Paddy Madden’s shot into his path, but Doyle equalised from the spot in first half stoppage time after Christian Ribeiro brought down Richie Humphreys in the area.
The Spireites had the better of the opening exchanges and it took Ollie Banks just one minute to test Sam Slocombe in the Scunthorpe net, but his shot was comfortably held low to the right of the goal.
Banks was proving to be a thorn in the Iron’s defence in the early stages, this time turning creator, as his through ball was inches away from finding forward Doyle in the Scunthorpe penalty area.
It was Banks again who was giving the Iron problems, as his flick on was chased down by Doyle, who was able to force Slocombe into a smart stop who gathered at the second attempt.
Moments after the Spireites had a penalty appeal waved away, Scunthorpe took the lead against the run of play following a close range finish through striker Winnall, who did well to react to Madden’s initial shot which was saved by Lee in the Chesterfield goal.
The Spireites reacted positively to falling behind and continued in the same manner as they started the game, with Gary Roberts and Dan Gardner both delivering a couple of vicious crosses which were dealt with well by the Iron back four.
Despite having the majority of the play, Chesterfield appeared to be struggling to create any real goal-scoring opportunities, as Roberts was forced to try his luck from 40 yards to goal, but his chip missed the target.
The Spireites pressure continued as they pushed for an equaliser late on in the first half of play, with defender Liam Cooper trying his luck from range, but his pile driver was pushed away by Slocombe once again.
Just as the match appeared to be heading for half-time, Chesterfield then deservedly levelled the match through Doyle courtesy of the penalty spot. Humphreys’ darting run into the penalty area was brought to a halt by Scunthorpe full back Ribeiro, leaving Doyle to place perfectly into the bottom right corner, giving Chesterfield the chance to kick on after the break.
Kick on is what the Spireites did after the interval, winning a succession of corners early on, one of which saw Banks steer Gardner’s floated delivery just wide of the far post.
Moments later Doyle was presented with a fine chance to give the Spireites the lead for the first time, as he gave chase on Ian Evatt’s lofted ball over the top which allowed him to bear down on goal before eventually scuffing his shot wide of Slocombe’s goal.
Scunthorpe were searching for a foothold in the game, and in doing so created a golden opportunity for Winnall in the penalty area, as midfielder Terry Hawkridge’s free-kick found the head of Winnall whose blushes were spared by the linesman’s flag, as he headed over from close range.
The linesman then came to the rescue of the home side, as Chesterfield thought they had taken the lead through Doyle just short of the hour mark, as Roberts’ powerful half volley was saved by Slocombe, only for the rebound to fall to Doyle who tapped home, who was then flagged offside.
Set-pieces in dangerous areas were coming thick and fast for Scunthorpe, with former Spireite Gary McSheffrey coming off the bench for United delivering from a wide area, leaving Cooper to clear well from under his own cross bar, only for Mcsheffrey to take aim again and smash high and wide from 30 yards.
The tie had turned into a much more even contest in the second half, as Chesterfield reacted well to a spell of Scunthorpe pressure. After some neat play in and around the 18 yard box substitute Armand Gnanduillet teed up Jimmy Ryan to strike from distance, who saw his effort marginally miss the target.
As the clock ticked down the game began to become stretched, and the home side nearly took advantage of this following a Chesterfield set-piece, as McSheffrey drove at the heart of the defence only for Humphreys to spectacularly deny a goal-scoring opportunity with a last ditch challenge.
With the game entering stoppage time both teams pushed for a winner, but it was Chesterfield who came the closest from a Ryan cross as Cooper rose the highest in the area with his header fractionally missed the far post.
Cooper’s effort on goal was the last action of a tight affair at Glanford Park, where Chesterfield were left to settle for a point as it finished honours even at 1-1.
Scunthorpe United: Slocombe; Ribeiro, McAllister, Mirfin, Canavan, Hawkridge (McSheffrey 61'), Nolan, Syers (Sparrow 75'), Madden, Winnall, Williams.
Subs not used: Severn, Adelakun, Collins, Boyle, Hayes.
Chesterfield: Lee; Darikwa, Evatt (c), Cooper, Humphreys; Ryan, Morsy, Gardner (Talbot 61'), Banks (Richards 65'), Roberts; Doyle (Gnanduillet 65').
Subs not used: Dunbavin, Hird, O'Shea, Smith.
Goals: Scunthorpe United (Winnall 14') 1 - 1 Chesterfield (Doyle PEN 45+1')
Attendance: 6,131 (2,125 Chesterfield)