Spireites match report: Chesterfield 2 Port Vale 2


A brace from Marc Richards earned Chesterfield a point against promotion chasing Port Vale at the Proact Stadium.

The Spireites were denied all three points when Tom Pope’s weak header crept under Tommy Lee five minutes from time.

Darren Purse had given the visitors an early lead before two goals in as many minutes from former Vale man Richards put the hosts in front.

Port Vale supporters were in good voice prior to kick off and the travelling contingent were sent into ecstasy when their team went in front with barely five minutes on the clock.

Former Birmingham City, Cardiff and Sheffield Wednesday centre-half Purse rose unchallenged to power Jennison Myrie-Williams’ corner into the top corner from six yards, with Tommy Lee rooted to the spot.

Despite the early lapse in concentration, Chesterfield had settled the better and continued to come forward with Mark Randall and Jay O’Shea finding pockets of space.

Richards, inevitably, soon became centre of attention as the hosts attacked the North Stand.

A strong penalty claim was waved away despite the centre forward seemingly shoved in the back as he attempted to chest down Conor Townsend’s cross ten yards from goal.

He was soon smiling though when he stood and watched his deflected free kick wrong-foot Chris Neal to bring the Spireites level, after O’Shea had been sent tumbling by Purse 30 yards out.

The Blues were smiling again two minutes later when O’Shea turned his marker and forced Neal into a save at full stretch only for the ball to fall into the path of Richards, who was in the right place at the right time to slot home from an acute angle for his second of the game.

The striker received rough treatment from his former team-mates but continued to let his football do the talking before O’Shea dragged one wide from the edge of the area.

Vale responded and Calvin Andrew would feel he should have done better with Doug Loft’s centre he nodded wide.

The Vale skipper would have similar feelings moments later when he hooked Liam Chilvers knock down from a Myrie-Williams corner over the bar from six yards.

There was concern for Liam Cooper when he was helped off the pitch five minuted from the break and was replaced by Sam Hird.

Tendayi Darikwa led a counter attack but his right wing cross was headed behind by Adam Yates in the last action of the first half.

Vale promised to begin the second half as they had started the first and it was soon their turn to have a penalty claim waved away when Myrie-Williams went over under the close attention of Townsend.

Chesterfield struggled to keep hold of the ball as Vale continued to press. Myrie-Williams curled one over before Andrew attempted to lob Lee but his effort went comfortably wide.

A long ball split the Spireites defence and only a last ditched tackle by Townsend prevented Andrew from getting a shooting opportunity from 12 yards.

Loft was then guilty of lifting the ball on to the roof of Lee’s net at full stretch from five yards before he unleashed a powerful strike that Lee was forced to tip over to the applause of the crowd.

Armand Gnanduillet, who had replaced O’Shea just before the hour, showed a glimpse of what he can do when he skipped past a couple of challenges and fired just wide of Neal’s left hand post.

Richards hobbled off 15 minutes from time to a standing ovation for his first half contribution and was replaced by Jack Lester.

Chesterfield’s stubborn performance was broken down by Tom Pope five minutes from time when his tame header somehow slipped through the grasp of Lee.

The Spireites stopper then produced a fantastic double save as he looked to make amends. He first got down well to his right to prevent Loft’s thunderous strike before reacting well to block Williamson, who had strayed offside, from point-blank range.

Spireites: Lee; Brindley, Townsend, Cooper (c) (Hird 40), Trotman; Darikwa, Togwell, Randall, O’Shea (Gnanduillet 59); Talbot; Richards (Lester 75)

Subs not used: Barrington, Henshall, Clay, Whitaker

Vale: Neal, Yates, Taylor (Birchall 34), Griffith (Williamson 63), Purse, Loft (c), Myrie-Williams, Pope, Andrew (Shuker 64), Chilvers, Jones

Subs not used: Johnson, McCombe, Morsy, Duffy

Bookings: Griffith 43, Chilvers 90; Trotman 62

Referee: Simon Hooper

Attendance: 6,669 (2,040)