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Match Reports

REPORT: Robins 1-1 Chesterfield

17 March 2018

Super-sub Brian Graham came off the bench and scored with his first touch to equalise late on as Cheltenham Town were held by Chesterfield in Sky Bet League Two at the LCI Rail Stadium.

After a poor first half, Kristian Dennis controlled a long pass and poked the ball under Cheltenham goalkeeper Scott Flinders to give the Spireites a surprise lead in the 74th minute.

But just five minutes later, Graham turned in Joe Morrell’s cross to score his fifth goal of the season and make an instant impact off the bench to earn the Robins a point in a snowy Gloucestershire.

Gary Johnson named an unchanged side after the impressive 3-0 win at Swindon Town last week.

The Robins lined-up 4-5-1 and Harry Pell also returned to the bench after serving a two-match suspension.

Chesterfield, chasing only a second away victory since October, started with intent as full-back Drew Talbot shot straight at Scott Flinders after a deep cross into the box.

Fresh from his first goal in the Football League last week, Jake Andrews hit a dipping long range shot into the side-netting, before nearly getting onto the end of a neat passing move inside the six-yard-box.

It was the hosts who were enjoying most of the possession during the opening 20 minutes, with two tight offside flags denying them a route in behind the Chesterfield defence.

After a poor defensive header, Carl Winchester played a lifted through ball over to Kevin Dawson, but the Irishman failed to make a connection with an outstretched leg.

Morrell and Nigel Atangana then called Spireites’ goalkeeper Aaron Ramsdale into two smart saves with strikes from long distance as Cheltenham began to turn the screw.

But then came a big let off for the hosts, as Spireites top scorer Kristian Dennis completely missed the ball when unchallenged inside the penalty area after Taylor Moore’s wayward header.

At the other end, Eisa raced through on goal but a brilliant one handed save from Ramsdale pushed the ball wide before Andrews missed the target at the back post, sliding wide with an open goal gaping.

Andy Kellett then really should have put the visitors ahead, but after a direct run into the Cheltenham box, his bobbling shot agonisingly dribbled wide as the teams went into half-time level.

Chesterfield captain Robbie Weir then sliced a volley well wide after a miss-kick from Atangana as snowfall descended over the Cotswolds.

With results going their way elsewhere, the visitors enjoyed a better spell in the early stages of the second half, despite not testing Flinders.

Will Boyle then headed wide before substitute Pell half-volleyed a shot from the edge of the box just off target in the 58th minute for Cheltenham.

Following a Spireites corner, Jacob Brown curled a shot into the arms of Flinders, but they were still yet to test the Cheltenham keeper.

Johnson’s side were back in control as the second period wore on, but they still lacked that crucial ball in the final third, as they continued to force corners and crosses into the penalty area.

But against the run of play came the opener, as a long ball found Dennis inside the six-yard-box and the Chesterfield striker brought it down and prodded underneath Flinders for his 16th of the campaign.

Johnson made two changes shortly afterwards, and striker Graham scored with his first touch to bring Cheltenham level in the 79th minute when he tapped in Morrell’s brilliant cross.

That goal clearly got the hosts going, as Ilias Chatzitheodoridis hit a swerving shot just over and wide of the target as they went all out to try and get a winner.

Louis Dodds’ cross was carried by the wind and nearly resulted in a late winner for Chesterfield, but the score remained level at full-time.

ROBINS: Flinders (Gk), Grimes (Rodon 73), Atangana, Dawson (Graham 78), Winchester ©, Boyle, Eisa, Morrell, Moore, Chatzitheodoridis, Andrews (Pell 54).

Subs not used: Cranston, Lovett (Gk), Odelusi, Lloyd.

CHESTERFIELD: Ramsdale (Gk), Dennis, Smith, Talbot, Kellett, Barry, Weir ©, Whitmore, Nelson, Kay (Binnom-Williams 82), Brown (Dodds 73).

Subs not used: O’Grady, Anyon (Gk), McGuire, McCourt, Hines.

ATTENDANCE: 2822 (300 away)

REFEREE: Ollie Yates

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