Spireites earned a last gasp equaliser in the battle of the caretaker managers to ensure they’re in the FA Cup hat for the third round.
Who scored it remains something of a mystery with Lee Novak, Sam Morsy and Ian Evatt all claiming it’s theirs! What is certain is that Ollie Banks’ free-kick curled like a boomerang in the gale-force winds of Storm Desmond, Sam Hird kept the ball alive and it fell into a crowd populated by the three Chesterfield players and a host of red shirted defenders ahead of dribbling over the line.
That goal equalised one from Jason Demetriou, or was it? The Saddlers’ right back was seemingly content to keep the ball in play and cross it in, the flight beat Tommy Lee and squirmed in off Richard Wood’s shoulder for an own goal.
Between goals Sylvan Ebanks-Blake had a host of efforts blocked whilst he also saw a spectacular overhead kick rattle the bar whilst Dion Donohue, given the role of left wing-back in a much changed side and formation, cleared off the line to keep his side in the tie.
Demetriou hit the bar from a 35-yard free-kick after the leveller in a frenetic finish during which either side could have won it.
Smith made five personnel changes and a formation change for his first match in charge.
The Proact Academy manager left out Ariyibi, Simons, Raglan, Banks who are all on the bench, plus the injured Jones; in came Sam Hird, Richard Wood, Sylvan Ebanks-Blake and Drew Talbot as Smith went for experience. plus Dion Donohue, who has had a few minutes league experience plus one start in the JPT. He played left wing back with Talbot on the right and Jay O’Shea in the hole behind the front two.
Walsall have League One’s best away record. They were without leading scorer Tom Bradshaw, injured in the come from behind 3-1 win at Shrewsbury on Tuesday night.
Chesterfield: Lee, Evatt, Hird, Wood, Talbot, Morsy, O’Neil, Donohue, O’Shea, Ebanks-Blake, Novak. Subs: Cairns, Banks, Simons, Raglan, Dieseruvwe, Gardner, Ariyibi.
Walsall: Etheridge, Demetriou, O’Connor, Downing, Chambers, Sawyers, Henry, Lalkovic, Morris, Cook, Evans. Subs: MacGillivray, Taylor, Mantom, Baxendale, Forde, Preston, Bakayoko.
Ref: Richard Clark (Northumberland).