The Spireites came from a two-goal half time deficit to draw 2-2 at Scunthorpe United in a classic FA Cup third round tie at Glanford Park.Alex Davey gave the Iron a first-half lead when he drilled home from the edge of the area, before Lyle Taylor pounced on a long ball to double United’s lead heading into the break.
Eoin Doyle dragged the Spireites back into the game with the coolest of penalty kicks to set up a shaky showdown.
The turn-around was then completed with five minutes to play, when the substitute Jay O’Shea latched onto a Roberts pass, and his emphatic finish gave Chesterfield another crack in the cup.
An unchanged Spireites side were required to whether the storm in the opening stages at Glanford Park as the Iron top goalscorer Paddy Madden threatened in the first minute, but his header looped over Tommy Lee’s crossbar.
Scunthorpe continued to pose questions of the Chesterfield defence, this time with skipper Neal Bishop climbing highest following a Gary McSheffrey free-kick, but Lee reacted brilliantly to smother his effort.
The former Spireite McSheffrey was proving to be a real problem to Paul Cook’s side, as he drove forward with the ball towards the Chesterfield faithful, but after teeing up Madden, he fluffed his lines as the ball sailed off target.
Despite Chesterfield not enjoying the best of starts in Lincolnshire, they do have a man full of confidence in Doyle, and the Irishman nearly fired the Spireites into the lead when he speculatively let aim from 25 yards to goal, but a scrambling Sam Slocombe was able to see the effort wide.
Chesterfield looked to gain confidence from Doyle’s strike as a panicky home defence struggled to deal with the tall frame of Armand Gnanduillet, and after the striker held off Miguel Llera, his goalbound swivel and shot was impressively blocked.
Despite the Spireites gaining a foothold in the tie, it was the hosts who broke the deadlock when United full-back Davey was able to pick up the ball following a Ritchie Humphreys clearance, before the defender made no mistake as he smashed the ball past a stranded Lee from 20 yards.
Chesterfield have often reacted well to going behind this season, and this third round FA Cup tie was no exception, as the Spireites began to knock at the door of the Scunthorpe eleven, with Gnanduillet nodding Tendayi Darikwa’s cross straight at Slocombe.
Sustained Chesterfield pressure before the break gave the travelling 1,663 Spireites fans something to shout about, and the ever-influential Romy Boco had two opportunities to draw the visitor’s level, but after his initial shot was well blocked, a volley attempt forced Slocombe into a decent save.
There looked to be only one team who were going to grab the second goal before the break, but that team against the run of play was Scunthorpe, as from absolutely nothing, a long Slocombe punt up field was met by Taylor who marched through on goal to slot into the net.
A replenished and revitalised Spireites side came out all guns blazing after the break with Gnanduillet again being the vocal point in attack, and after Boco weaved down the right, his dinked cross found the head of the big man whose header was expertly saved, before a follow-up effort was cleared off the line at the second attempt.
An excellent start to the second half was nearly capped with a goal which would have given Chesterfield fresh hope, but Boco’s swerving cannon bent into the arms of Slocombe.
The impressive Slocombe was denying Chesterfield in every capacity, and again it was the Iron number one who saved the day, as after a goalmouth scramble, Sam Clucas let fly from eight yards but a stunning paw was there to deny the Spireites yet again.
Despite the seemingly unbeatable Slocombe coming to Scunthorpe’s rescue on countless scenarios, the Spireites did pull a goal back from the penalty spot, and it was unsurprisingly Doyle who stepped up to reduce the arrears.
After fantastic link up play between Roberts and substitute Dan Gardner, Roberts was brought down which left Doyle to do the rest.
Scunthorpe had barely left their own half since the break, and it was Doyle yet again who nearly levelled the scoreline with a flicked header, but as a routed Slocombe kissed the ball goodbye, he was fortunate to see the attempt fall inches wide of the post.
Relentless pressure from the Spireites eventually took its toll with all of five minutes to play, as a neat move released Roberts down the right before cutting back for an onrushing O’Shea who made no mistake, smashing the ball into the goal to level the tie.
Chances arrived at both ends following the equaliser, but Scunthorpe had a golden opportunity to win this belting tie, as Madden went through on goal only for Lee to produce a fantastic save, with the Chesterfield FA Cup story set to continue in the replay, Derby County still awaiting to discover their fourth round opponents.
Scunthorpe: Slocombe (gk) - Williams, Llera, Boyce, Adelakun (Nolan 59’) - McAllister, McSheffrey, Davey (Canavan 72'), Bishop (c) - Madden, Taylor (Wooton 78’)
Subs not used: Weaver (gk), Myrie-Williams, Hawkridge, Mosanya
Chesterfield: Lee (gk) - Darikwa, Hird, Raglan, Clucas - Morsy (c), Humphreys (O’Shea 66’), Roberts, Boco (Gardner 66’) - Doyle, Gnanduillet
Subs not used: Wright (gk), Jones, Banks, Talbot, Ariyibi
Scunthorpe: Davey 18’, Taylor 44’
Chesterfield: Doyle 71’ (pen), O’Shea 84’
Attendance: 4,307 (1,663 away fans)