A goal five and a half minutes into stoppage time after the board had indicated the need for just four cost the Spireites their first league win of the season.
Over the full course of the game, a draw was probably a fair result, but to lose the lead in such circumstances meant the away side trooped away from Bootham Crescent feeling like they’d suffered a defeat.
After a slow-paced opening on a beautifully-sunny afternoon, there was a goal rush leading up to the break.
Skipper Sam Hird was on hand to poke home his first goal in more than three and a half years after keeper Michael Ingham had twiced blocked Marc Richards’ efforts from Craig Westcarr’s free-kick.
But that initial lead lasted just four minutes. Jason Walker, highlighted pre-game by caretaker Tommy Wright as York’s dangerman, slipped the ball neatly to Michael Coulson. He skilfully took the ball in his stride and deftly chipped it above advancing keeper Richard O’Donnell.
O’Donnell, making his first start for the club, had previously had to deal with an awkward downward header from Chris Smith and a fierce free-kick from Walker. He showed plenty of promise and looks more than capable of filling the boots of shoulder victim Tommy Lee for the next few weeks.
Chesterfield regained the lead just 60 seconds after losing it. Drew Talbot, consistent as ever despite being booked after just 30 seconds, and Sam Togwell combined in the right-back vicinity to send a low ball through for Westcarr to chase.
Aided by a Chris Smith misjudgement, the striker, back after a single-game suspension, raced towards Ingham and kept his cool to make it two goals in two games for him.
That meant half-time was enjoyed by a visiting side with six wins and three draws in their previous nine visits to this ground, which will become redundant in a couple of years when City plan to move to the edge of York and a new home.
Having lost Danny Whitaker to a training-ground groin injury, Wright gave a first start to 18-year-old Jacob Hazel down the left, to better balance his side. The youngster showed a few glimpses of potential but he was replaced by Scott Boden just before the hour.
Chesterfield’s rearguard looked more than solid as the game ticked by. Despite York notching plenty of corners, O’Donnell’s second-half action was somewhat limited, as was Ingham’s, as the visitors looked set to hold out for the win they so crave.
But, right at the death, Walker lived up to his pre-match billing by volleying home from a seemingly impossible angle after a head-back by Smith to earn the home side a share of the spoils.
Wright’s tenure to date has provided two away draws and a home cup win against a side a division higher than the Spireites, a more than decent return.
The playing style of the team has become a little more pragmatic. Wright’s not afraid to use long throws and other set-pieces as genuine methods of breaching the opposing defence. He’s playing players in their best positions and isn’t fearful of changing formations and tactics to suit, but he continues to play in a way that puts football first and hump-ball second. And, without doubt, he’s getting maximum effort from his charges.
Two home games are coming up and could put him in the driving seat for a permanent position.
Wright rued: “It’s frustrating. I thought we’d done enough to win the game. The officials put four minutes on the board and played over four minutes. That’s the biggest frustration.
“The goal we conceded was poor as well; we’ve got to stay disciplined. I’ve just said to the players in there, that’s the difference between a successful side and an average side. 94th minute, or second minute, you’ve got to defend your goal. We went to sleep.”