Spireites FT: Chesterfield 1 Newport County 1

Dave Blakey, left, Chesterfield stalwart
Dave Blakey, left, Chesterfield stalwart
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On the day when Chesterfield paid their respects to one of their greatest ever servants, Jimmy Ryan looked as if he had secured victory before Newport hit back to draw.

The Proact Stadium showed its appreciation for long-serving Chesterfield centre-half Dave Blakey who sadly passed away this week.

Eoin Doyle

Eoin Doyle

Both sets of supporters, teams and their staff took part in a minute’s applause in honour of a man who made 617 league appearances for the club, from 1948 to 1966.

Spireites lined up to attack the Kop end first half and struggled early on as Newport County looked to make life difficult for the hosts.

Chesterfield were without the injured Banks and there was another noticeable absentee from the touchline in the form of manager Paul Cook.

His assistant Leam Richardson bellowed orders from the technical area as he looked to ensure there was no post-Wembley hangover from the players.

Spireites seemed out-of sorts during the majority of the opening exchanges, stringing together few passes and even less efforts on the Exiles goal.

Newport were organised and had first sight of goal when Jeffers sent a curling, dipping shot towards Lee’s top right corner that missed by a whisker.

The forward’s pace caused some problems for the hosts’ defence and after a sliding challenge with Evatt, the Chesterfield skipper had to leave the pitch momentarily to receive treatment to a cut lip. Evatt has been in the wars recently, nursing a cut above his left eye from last Sunday’s JPT final defeat to Peterborough United.

Evatt soon returned and Morsy went back into his holding midfield role. And it was from Morsy’s long ball that Chesterfield first threatened.

Feely got his head to Morsy’s pass but Ryan picked up the pieces and fed Doyle who sent an inviting centre from the right which narrowly evaded everyone.

Morsy showed good feet wide on the left side of the Newport penalty area and was eventually brought down. Roberts took the resulting free-kick and Cooper’s header forced a corner.

McLoughlin, in the Newport goal, had largely been a bystander before O’Shea’s weak strike bounced horribly in front of him and the keeper tipped it around the post.

His opposite number, Lee, was forced in to a smart save, diving to his left to deny Jeffers after the attacker had skipped away from Ryan in a swift attack.

O’Shea tried to spark some life in to the game. His shot was blocked. Kearns flashed a shot wide of the mark after he and Roberts had switched sides.

Chesterfield’s best chance of the half fell to Ryan, who was played through by O’Shea, only to drag his shot agonisingly wide of McLoughlin’s right hand post.

Newport threatened from the re-start with Minshull heading over from close range before a Darikwa cross caused Yakubu to head behind at the other end.

Chesterfield then took the lead in slightly fortuitous circumstances after a short corner routine found its way to RYAN 25 yards from goal.

The midfielder made his way in to the penalty area and sent a chip to the back post looking for Roberts that went over McLoughlin and in the top corner.

Spireites could and probably should have been two up moments later when O’Shea wriggled free in the area and missed when it looked easier to score. The Irishman forced McLoughlin into a smart save, diving low to his left when he received the ball on the edge of the area and searched for the bottom corner.

Chesterfield could have been out of sight by the hour-mark but for the assistant referee’s flag which ruled out not one but two efforts from the hosts.

Doyle was the first guilty party after Morsy had played him in before Roberts squared for Kearns to tap in from close range, only for celebrations to be cut short.

O’Shea blazed a shot high and wide from the edge of the area before Doyle’s angled header tested McLoughlin’s handling.

Morsy held off two challenges in another driving run from midfield before he saw his thunderbolt blocked by the covering Yakubu.

Substitute Richards had a glorious opportunity when Ryan put him through one-on-one but the striker’s attempted to lob was caught by McLoughlin.

And Chesterfield paid the price just moments later when a rare Newport attack saw PORTER slot the ball into the bottom corner.