Harrogate Town 1 Chesterfield 1: Williams' late, late show salvages a point

Jumping for joy: Aaron Williams netted late on against Chesterfield. Picture: Matt Kirkham
Jumping for joy: Aaron Williams netted late on against Chesterfield. Picture: Matt Kirkham

Aaron Williams netted with almost the last kick of the game to earn Harrogate Town a last-gasp draw at home to Chesterfield.

Simon Weaver's team looked as if they were headed for a third defeat in four matches following a below-par display until substitute Williams forced the ball home from close range in the 96th minute.

A sizeable crowd of 2,291 packed into the CNG Stadium, but had little to get excited about during what was a fairly uneventful opening period.

With the Spireites well-organised at the back and lacking any real forward ambition, Town saw plenty of the ball in the first half though clear-cut chances were at a premium.

They probed away throughout, passing the ball nicely in spells, yet Callum Burton in the away goal was largely untroubled.

George Thomson's deflected 20-yarder was easily claimed by the visiting custodian early on, while the former then crossed for a stretching Jack Muldoon to fire over the top, first time.

The hosts' best opening fell to Joe Leesley in the 40th minute, but his venomous strike from inside the box was blocked by Burton at his near-post.

Moments earlier a bizarre moment had unfolded in front of the dug-outs, Spireites forward Zavon Hines booked for shoving Town boss Simon Weaver, who was also cautioned, following a bout of handbags.

That was it for the first-half action, though the second 45 began with Chesterfield showing slightly more intent.

They were rewarded in the 57th minute, substitute Jerome Binnom-Williams' strength and determination inside the home penalty area enabling him to slide the ball across goal for Jonathan Smith to stroke home the simplest of close-range finishes.

Town struggled to build pressure in the final third during the 20 minutes that followed, the Spireites looking more than comfortable at the back.

The closing stages did see Weaver's men belatedly begin to force the issue, Callum Howe rising at the back stick to meet a Leesley corner but directing his header too close to Burton.

A couple of scrambles then ensued inside the Chesterfield box, however the visitors threw their bodies in front of a succession of strikes at goal.

Liam Kitching's header was brilliantly parried by Burton, Mark Beck following up from close range, only to see his effort adjudged not to have crossed the line.

Seven minutes of stoppage-time were added, however the Derbyshire outfit looked to have seen them out unscathed until, with just seconds remaining Kitching had a strike deflected just wide of the post.

The resulting corner sparked pinball on the Chesterfield goal-line and Williams managed to apply a vital finishing touch to snatch the latest of late draws.

Town remain fourth in the National League standings following the result but are now four points behind leaders Wrexham.