Half-time: Bristol Rovers 1 Chesterfield 1
A rare blooper by Bristol Rovers goalkeeper Neil Etheridge has offered Chesterfield a half-time share of the spoils at the Memorial Stadium this afternoon.
Rovers were offered an early gift when Chesterfield midfielder Sam Togwell could only steer the ball into his own net in the third minute – and looked in little if any danger of conceding an equaliser when Mark Randall prepared to swing a free-kick into the area in the 21st minute.
Standing within touching distance of the touchline, however, Randall floated a high delivery in from all of 25 yards away and was probably as surprised as everybody else inside the ground when Etheridge leapt to claim the harmless delivery as it plummeted under his crossbar before landing behind the goal-line with the ball still in his hands.
It was a poor error by the on-loan Fulham man, but it certainly didn't faze him; an excellent one-on-one save two minutes later denied Chesterfield and their striker Scott Boden an opportunity to take the lead.
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He then made an athletic save to palm Tendayi Darikwa's shot over the crossbar before making a double stop to deny Boden again as Chesterfield enjoyed the better of the opportunities, which some of their eye-pleasing football had probably deserved.
The Rovers stopper had also played a major part in the early goal with a pin-point kick out of his hands that offered Eaves the chance to get in an area down the left from which his ball across the face of goal left Togwell with no other choice than to direct into his own net.
Rovers boss Mark McGhee had welcomed Joe Anyinsah back in from the cold as part of a side that showed two changes from the one that lost to Southend United.
Anyinsah, who has been considered surplus to requirements for the last two matchday squads, played up front alongside Tom Eaves as McGhee ditched the controversial 4-2-3-1 system that proved unsuccessful in halting a three-game losing streak on Tuesday night.
Derek Riordan retained his place in the side on the left-hand side of a midfield that welcomed back Wayne Brown in place of youngster Seanan Clucas, who returned to the bench.
Rovers (4-4-2): Etheridge; Lund, Kenneth, Parkes, Paterson; Broghammer, Clarkson, W Brown, Riordan; Eaves, Anyinsah. Subs: Walker, Smith, Woodards, Richards, L Brown, Clarke, Clucas.
Chesterfield(4-2-3-1): O'Donnell; Talbot, Hird, Forbes, Smith; Togwell, Clay; Darikwa, Randall, Whitaker; Boden. Subs: Westcarr, Lester, Ridehalgh, Atkinson, Mason, Evans, Dickenson.