REPORT: Spireites battle back to draw against Hartlepool

In the first game since Martin Allen was dismissed as manager, Chesterfield fought to a 1-1 draw against Hartlepool United.

The first half was mostly controlled by the away side and Luke James put the Pools a goal up on the stroke of half time.

However, the Spireites showed some grit and determination in the second half and found the equaliser through an unlikely source, Bradley Barry.

The first 15 minutes didn't provide that much in the way of opportunities. Josh Hawkes and Ryan Donaldson both had long-range efforts that Callum Burton comfortably saved.

A minute later, Lee Shaw created the hosts' first chance of the game, but the forward's cross failed to find Levi Amantchi in the penalty area.

Hawkes was causing problems for the Spireites as he was allowed space outside the area once more - this time, though, his curling effort whistled just wide of the post.

Just a few minutes later, Richard Money's side came even closer to the opening goal. A corner caused problems in the penalty area, but Carl Magnay couldn't adjust himself in time and the defender knocked the ball wide of the goal.

With just a few minutes left of the half, Joe Rowley worked his way into the box before seeing his shot deflected over the crossbar of Scott Loach.

The two sides looked like going into half time level. However, Chesterfield were dealt a sucker-punch blow when Liam Noble threaded the ball through to Luke James, who calmly slotted the ball through Burton's legs.

Hartlepool started the second half as they finished the first. the stronger team. James looked to grab his second of the game but his shot was deflected over the bar by Jerome Binnom-Williams.

On the 56th minute, caretaker manager John Pemberton brought Alfie Beestin and acadmey prospect Jamie Sharman on for Kyel Reid and Rowley.

This saw the formation go from a 4-2-3-1 to a 3-5-2 and it seemingly brought the Spireites to life.

Just a couple of minutes later, there was a big appeal for a penalty when Lee Shaw was brought down in the box. But referee David Richardson waved away appeals from the players.

The counter-attack from the away side almost produced the second goal. A cross found its way to Nico Muir, but the striker scuffed his strike well over the crossbar.

With 22 minutes to go, Pemberton brought on another academy prospect Luke Rawson for the struggling Amantchi. The debutant partnered Shaw up top.

Rawson had barely been on the pitch 60 seconds when he should have grabbed his first Chesterfield goal, as Curtis Weston's cross was headed on by Barry to the young striker, who somehow fired over from four yards out.

Just five minutes later, Rawson turned his defender from Jonathan Smith's pass, but the 17-year-old slid his effort inches wide of the left hand side post.

With 15 minutes left, the Spireites finally got their equaliser. Shaw's cross caused havoc in the box and the clearance fell to Barry who fired home into the bottom right corner from 12-yards out.

The draw doesn't take Chesterfield out of the National League relegation zone. However, the Blues are only a point away from Dover Athletic in 20th.

The Spireites first game of 2019 is away to Solihull Moors and Pemberton will look to stay undefeated as caretaker manager.


Post-Match Verdict: New life in Chesterfield

The first half of the game was mostly controlled by the visitors. However, the second half saw a better style of play from John Pemberton's side.

The introduction of Jamie Sharman and Luke Rawson brought new life to the team. Sharman was immense at the back and Rawson was so unlucky not to grab a goal immediately after coming on.

Pemberton said: "Jamie Sharman showed a lot of composure.  I think the first chance came for Luke too early. But the second one, he should’ve scored."

He also provided a positive update on the injured Tom Denton and Alex Kiwomya, who could both feature on Tuesday against Solihull Moors.

However, if the interim manager kept the team that finished the game against Hartlepool, then the Spireites could very well gain revenge on the Moors.

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