Chesterfield were robbed of a desperately needed win when Jimmy Ryan hit a 20 yarder to level for Scunthorpe in the second minute of stoppage time. After conceding midway through the first half when Niall Canavan headed home from a corner, Spireites hit back to lead through sub Scott Boden and Craig Westcarr before conceding the last gasp hammer blow.
Chesterfield went into this game with no wins in their previous 13 league games, looking to avoid their longest winless run since 2003 which came in a season that saw Roy McFarland’s Spireites succeed in their own Great Escape. John Sheridan’s side need to start winning consistently if they’re to match that achievement this term.
The manager made just one change to the team that lost 1-0 at Huddersfield. Tope Obadeyi’s loan from Bolton has ended so Craig Westcarr came in, meaning it was the team that finished the match in West Yorkshire that started. Scott Boden and Derek Niven returned to the bench. Alan Knill’s Iron had lost their last four home games in league and cup, so were desperate to end that terrible run. They plunged into the bottom four after losing 3-1 here against Knill’s former club Bury, despite the hosts taking an early lead.
The Iron featured former Blade Jordan Robertson and one time Barnsley man Sam Togwell in their lineup.
Neal Trotman retained the captain’s armband he wore for the first time at the Galpharm for a game that was key to both side’s hopes of staying up.
Spireites had an early chance after a mistake by the home keeper, who picked up a back pass but Morgan’s 16 yard free kick hit Johnstone as he and his entire team guarded the line.
Talbot and Trotman then erred allowing Robertson in but his angled shot clipped a defender to go for a corner that was comfortably dealt with.
Westcarr and Talbot were working well down the right earning plenty of early possession for the rock-bottom visitors. Trotman got his head on to a Whitaker free-kick but his pull back just eluded Bowery and Westcarr as Spireites worked well.
Morgan’s cross after Mendy had robbed Dagnall just fell short of Bowery as the majority of offensive play came from the white-shirted Spireites.
Smith tackled Dagnall well in a rare Iron raid though a Barcham earned corner soon followed, Trotman towered highest to head clear.
Bowery flicked on a header towards Morgan but he slipped at the vital moment allowing United to gather the ball.
A very nervy Johnstone was carded for handling outside the box with Morgan breathing down his neck and Westcarr drove the free-kick just wide of the post.
Despite the visitor’s early domination, they fell behind on 24. Barcham won a corner against Talbot on the left and from O’Connor’s delivery CANAVAN rose high to head home from the far post. It was his first goal since May 2010 again exposing Spireites’ weakness at set-plays.
Trotman just failed to reach Whitaker’s corner and from the break Dagnall stole in and tumbled as Lee challenged, earning the striker a booking for simulation.
Mendy shot wide under pressure from Byrne as Chesterfield looked to get back into the game.
Talbot cleared ahead of Barcham after Robertson got in behind the back four and from the throw United won another corner, on the right. Trotman headed the first ball in away but the second found Barcham on the box-edge and his diving header from distance was saved well by Lee.
Talbot was hurt in a moment of pinball play as Chesterfield were forced to defend. Holding his right arm, he was led off as the fourth official signalled four additional minutes. Boden came on as replacement and Mendy dropped in to the right back berth with Morgan moving to the left wing.
Half-time:Scunthorpe 1 Chesterfield 0
Wright came on for Byrne for the hosts at the restart whilst Bowery moved to right wing with Morgan returning up front for Chesterfield. With just over two minutes of the second half played, Spireites were level. Sub Wright got into a tizzy as Whitaker and Westcarr combined and the loose ball fell for BODEN who shot home from the left side of the box with the ball going in off the far post.
United failed to take advantage of two corners as both sides looked nervous all over the park. Lee had to tip over a Norwood long ranger and Robertson had to hack away the O’Connor corner as the home side stepped up a gear.
Westcarr was booked for throwing the ball away at a United corner on the halfway line.
Dagnall drove an acute angled shot across the face of Lee’s goal after neat work by Robertson and from the breakaway Canavan was booked for fouling Morgan 20 yards out. Westcarr, from the free kick, and Mendy from the rebound had shots blocked and the Boden drove wide.
A series of Spireites corners kept the action in front of the sizeable away following. Trotman forced a save and Bowery headed wide as the game threatened more goals with both sides hopeful.
Dagnall’s 25 yard effort was deflected for a corner from which the same player stabbed the ball in but the ref’s whistle had already gone for a United push. Grant soon afterwards replaced Dagnall.
Spireites took the lead on 70 minutes after an error by Manchester United loan man Johnstone. Boden hit long for Morgan to chase, Wright turned the ball to Johnstone who chose to attempt to control rather than hack clear. Morgan continued to pressure and the keeper’s kick out went to WESTCARR who had to bring the ball to heel before shooting home into the empty net from well outside the box.
Ryan went close from distance for the shell-shocked hosts as Niven came on for his 300th league appearance in place of Bowery. He went to the centre of midfield with Whitaker moving wide.
Mendy was booked for a foul as Chesterfield looked to hold on to their slender advantage and the Frenchman was soon in the action at the other end, forcing Johnstone to push the ball out for a corner that saw Trotman head over.
With eight minutes to go, former Chesterfield assistant manager Knill made his final substitution, Thompson replacing Norwood.
Lee had to punch clear as the ball flew all round the Chesterfield box from a Barcham ball in. Ryan shot over as Mattis replaced Morgan with a minute of normal time remaining though an extra five minutes was then signalled by the fourthth official.
United levelled in the second minute of stoppage time when RYAN hammered through a crowd after Smith’s foul had seen a free-kick headed away by Trotman.
Smith, Westcarr and Niven all had shots blocked as both sides went for a winner rather than settle for a point but the final whistle intervened.
Scunthorpe (4-4-2): Johnstone, Byrne (Wright 46), Canavan, S.Duffy, Togwell, O’Connor, Ryan, Norwood (Thompson 82), Barcham, Robertson, Dagnall (Grant 67). Subs not used: Slocombe, M.Duffy.
Goals: Canavan 24, Byrne 90+2
Chesterfield (4-4-2): Lee, Talbot (Boden 45+2), Trotman, Robertson, Smith, Westcarr, Allott, Whitaker, Mendy, Morgan (Mattis 89), Bowery (Niven 75). Subs not used: Fleming, Downes.
Goals: Boden 48, Westcarr 70
Ref: Andy Haines (Tyne & Wear)
Bookings: Westcarr, Mendy (Chesterfield), Johnstone, Dagnall, Canavan (Scunthorpe)