In the absence of Captain Carl who had picked up a thigh strain at Hartlepool, Broadhurst was recalled, and with Feeney still injured, Holmes was again in the starting lineup. The plan seemed to be to play a 4-3-1-2 formation with Deadly and Big Fletch pushed out wide and hopefully creating gaps for Hayter to exploit.
Well, whatever the plan was, it failed dismally in the first half. We looked nervous and couldn’t get our passing game working at all. This quietened the crowd and the encounter soon had the air of a parks game with plenty of effort but precious little skill displayed by either side.
We were also looking shaky at the back and it was hardly a surprise when the visitors took the lead after 21 minutes. Following a corner, Niven’s shot was charged down and the ball came to Allott who drilled in a low shot from just outside the box.
Our best moment of the half came immediately after this when Cummings accelerated past a couple of defenders before pulling the ball back for Jorgensen, but the Dane failed to connect properly and his shot squirmed wide of the right-hand post.
However, we were still unable to get any real grip on the game and went further behind just six minutes later. Despite having everyone back defending, a free kick from the left was headed back across the goalmouth where DeBolla hooked the ball home from close range. Roll on half-time.
To everyone’s surprise, Tindall started the second half in place of Supa who had posed little threat in the first period. This forced change brought little improvement in terms of skill, but at least we started to take the game by the scruff of the neck and the crowd began to get behind the team. The Spireites for their part did everything they could to waste time and stop us getting any momentum. Their players suddenly became injury prone, writhing in agony for minutes on end before making miraculous recoveries as soon as the stretcher bearers appeared. Folan came on as substitute and was immediately booked for time wasting as the Cherries’ frustration grew.
Wade Elliott replaced Buxton on the hour mark and immediately began to look like his old self down the right flank. O’Connor then came on for Purches 10 minutes later in SOD’s tactical final throw of the dice. With a quarter of an hour left, Maher hobbled off leaving ten men to reduce the 2-goal deficit. However, the ten men were really buzzing now. Holmes forced a good stop from Muggleton, then seconds later Elliott crossed from the right and found Hayter who netted his 14th goal of the season with a close-range header.
And just two minutes later it was 2-2 when Hayter did well to pull the ball back for the unmarked Holmes who could hardly miss. How the Scotsman enjoyed his celebrations with the North Stand!
In the closing minutes we went for the winner, but Chesterfield held out and almost snatched a win themselves when Folan’s shot skimmed the crossbar. At the final whistle, both teams looked dejected, as they both badly needed to win at their respective ends of the table.
Sadly – and surprisingly - it looks as if our recent home form could cause us to just miss out on the playoffs. However, the fat lady is still just clearing her throat…
AFCB: Moss, Buxton (Elliott 60), Broadhurst, Maher, Cummings, Purches (O’Connor 70), Browning, Jorgensen, Holmes, Hayter, S.Fletcher (Tindall 45) Subs not used: Stock, Young
Ellis Griffin, Chertsey