The Reds didn’t even take home a point from a game that they twice lead, in front as late as the 71st minute. It was though a highly controversial decision by one of the assistant referees that decided the outcome, as he said the ball crossed the line in the 93rd minute, when Curtis Weston’s shot struck the underside of the crossbar, bounced down and then out.
This came after an own goal and Jordan Ponticelli’s first in a Wrexham shirt, had been levelled by first Tome Denton and then substitute Liam Mandeville, both only minutes after the Wrexham goals.
It allows Chesterfield to close the gap at the bottom end of the table, although the Reds will rue this one getting away from them.
Wrexham started to lift their game on 15 minutes when Jordan Ponticelli chased a lost cause and forced ex-Red keeper Shwan Jalal to hurry his clearance and the ball deflected off the striker for a throw-in to the visitors. The ball was played back in and the Coventry loanee was the one who ended up having a shot that went wide.
The Reds took the lead on 21 minutes, when Jay Harris’ very quick free kick from inside his own half was aimed for Ponticelli on the break, but in struggling to recover his position, centre half Will Evans could only divert the ball goalwards and over the outstretched hands of his keeper and into the net
Chesterfield did go straight toward the other end from kick-off and from distance Curtis Weston fired in an effort that forced Rob Lainton into a diving save low to his right, pushing the ball round his right-hand post for a corner.
The Spireites were level on 25 minutes, when Yarney’s cross was headed on by Weston to Tom Denton standing on his own and he had the time to fire back across goal and into the net- which coincided with a round of applause from both sets of fans for the recently deceased Jordan Sinnott, a former Chesterfield player.
Referee Karl Evans was surrounded by Chesterfield players two minutes later, when Shaun Pearson and Nathan Tyson barged into each other on the edge of the Wrexham box, the home team obviously claiming for a foul, but the match official was not interested.
Denton’s aerial presence caused more problems on 34 minutes, when he headed down for Tyson to fire a shot goalwards and force Lainton into another smart save. The following corner was once again met by the climbing Denton, but Lainton was behind this effort and held onto the ball.
Jonathan Smith was not too far off target with a shot two minutes later, taking the ball on the run and his effort from outside of the box carried over the Wrexham cross bar.
Luke Young’s free klick from 22 yards on 39 minutes was aimed at Kieran Kennedy, whose header from seven yards was tipped over his own cross bar by Jalal. The corner kept the pressure on the home defence, but Chesterfield were able to clear.
A quick break by JJ Hooper saw him race 40-yards before making Jalal block his low effort and as the ball rebounded up field, it just didn’t sit up right for Luke Summerfield, who had to check his movement before sending in a shot from the edge of the box that the keeper was able to smother.
Two minutes before the break, Jake Lawlor was booked for bringing Tyson down on the right-hand touchline, but the player was able to carry on after treatment.
As we entered added time, Tyler Garratt’s cross from the left flank was headed goalwards by Hooper, but Jalal was able to collect with Ponticelli closing in fast.
Six minutes into the second half and Ponticelli so nearly cut out a back pass from Weston to his keeper but was only inches away from robbing the ball.
Shortly after, another cross by Tyson saw the ball only cleared to edge f the Wrexham box, where Denton and Fondop got in each other’s way allowing Young to clear further.
With 59 minutes on the clock, Hooper brought Harris into the play, when laying the ball back to the midfielder whose effort from well outside the box carried over the target.
Moments after Liam Mandeville replaced Denton, Hooper fired a shot int, which hit Evans, with the Wrexham man claiming handball, but he got little sympathy.
Although the offside flag went against them, Kieran Kennedy was on the end of a Young free kick and forced Jalal into a save as he was having his arm pulled.
Hooper was unfortunate that a great long pass from Young, hit him on his heels as he looked t turn the last defender on 65 minutes.
The Reds were back in front on 68 minutes, as Ponticelli held off his marker 30-yards from goal, and then raced through to fire under Jalal. The keeper did get a touch to the ball, but it had enough power to get over the line.
Moments later the Wrexham bench were claiming for a penalty as Garratt was challenged on the left side of the box, looking to get into a deep cross.
The advantage didn’t last long though, as substitute Mandeville was able to capitalise on a half-cleared corner, firing in from close range when the ball was knocked down in front of him. There was also an arguement for a foul on Lawlor in the build up to the corner, but nothing given.
This also signalled the end of Pearson, as the skipper had been hobbling earlier after Fondop stood on him and was replaced by Paul Rutherford, with the sustitute going to the right and Thompson taking on a centre half role.
Hopper and Evans were both booked on 79 minutes, when Wrexham were awarded a free kick 30-yards out and the striker reacted to the challenge.
From the set piece the ball was played into the Chesterfield box and Hooper darted forward, but if he got any touch to the ball, it still carried inches passed the back post.
Fondop had a good claim for handball against Thompson, happily the referee was unsighted, and the ball ran out for a corner on 87 minutes. Evans got his head onto the cross, but Summerfield was able to clear off his line.
At the other end, Jalal saved again, this time from Summerfield.
Deep into injury time, Jalal hit the ball deep, Tyson crossed, it was half cleared and a shot by Weston came off the underside of the crossbar, bouncing down onto the line before being cleared. With the referee not indicating anything, it was left to the assistant on the far side of the pitch to flag for a goal.
Obviously a crucial decision and the match video might show he was right, but it was far from a clear decision that the whole of the ball had crossed the line, certainly to those supporters of both teams sat towards that end of the ground and indeed the media men in the press box.
It was given though and the Spireites won, but in a close fought game.
Chesterfield: Jalal, Yarney, Evans, Hollis, Buchanan, Cropper, Smith, Weston, Tyson (Boden 82), Fondop, Denton (Mandeville 60).
Subs: Fitzsimons, Weir, Hutchinson.
Wrexham: Lainton, Thompson, Kennedy, Pearson (Rutherford 74), Lawlor, Garratt, Harris, Summerfield, Young, Ponticelli, Hooper.
Subs: Dibble, Redmond, Jarvis, Keillor-Dunn.
Referee: Karl Evans (Lancs)
Chesterfield: Evans (79, UGC), Buchanan (90+2, foul)
Wrexham: Lawlor (43, foul), Hooper (79, UGC)