Rochdale were cruelly denied victory on Tuesday night as Chesterfield netted a late goal to steal a point at the Proact Stadium.
Andrew Tutte had fired dale ahead shortly after the interval, but a last gasp goal from Jack Lester meant Dale had to settle for a share of the spoils.
Following Saturday’s goalless draw at home to Northampton Town, Manager John Coleman named an unchanged starting eleven for the match at the Proact Stadium.
Dale headed into the encounter on the back of the weekend’s deserved draw against the Cobblers, while Chesterfield were looking to kick-start their season following their opening day defeat at the hands of AFC Wimbledon.
Jordan Bowery had the Spireites first opportunity of the match on four minutes after running through on goal at pace and past Josh Lillis who had come off his line. In what was a fine piece of defending from Ryan Edwards, the onloan Blackburn Rovers youngster blocked the incoming shot on the line to stop the ball going in.
The early onslaught from Chesterfield continued but the Dale defence continued to stand strong and it was Phil Edwards who did well four minutes later to get a head on Danny Whitaker’s cross into the box for a group of awaiting Spirites.
Jason Kennedy then came close for Dale as he hit a curling effort goalward after breaking on the counter attack. The shot looked headed for the net, but instead it rattled the stanchion behind the goal.
As the end to end football continued, Ryan Edwards was again in the right place at the right time as he cleared a glancing header from Bowery off the line on 11 minutes.
The Spireites continued to apply the pressure and just a minute later the Chesterfield fans behind the goal thought their side had finally broken the deadlock, and they would have done if not for the quick reaction of Lillis stood strong to clutch the ball as it travelled towards the net.
After early pressure from the Spirities, Dale then had a spell where they tested the Chesterfield goal through some fantastic passing play from back to front.
On 13 minutes Dele Adebola looked on as his strike from inside the area inched just wide of the upright, while just minutes later he got onto the end of a ball which had been headed down into a dangerous position by Phil Edwards following a Kennedy corner. The shot however was deflected wide by Whitaker and out for another set piece.
Lillis, who was in fine form throughout the half, then pulled off a fantastic block to keep out Marc Richards who had tried to chip ‘keeper from inside the area.
Defender Matty Pearson then tried his luck at the opposite end as he fired an ontarget shot at Lee, in the end it was a comfortable save for the former Dale stopper.
With both defences and goalkeepers doing a remarkable job during an enjoyable first half, the two teams went in level at the interval.
There were no changes to the starting eleven at the break as Manager John Coleman continued as was for the start of the second half.
Dale came out after the break all cylinders firing and it didn’t take long for Andrew Tutte to opening the scoring. The Rochale vice captain smashed the ball past Lee and into the top corner of the net leaving the goalkeeper with no chance.
Dale looked comfortable after taking the lead and never really looked likely to concede as the defence put in yet another fine performance.
With Chesterfield unable to find a way past the Rochdale back four, Coleman introduced Ray Putterill onto the field of play on 64 minutes to freshen up the attacking force as Dale searched for goal number two.
Putterill, who has been impressive throughout pre-season and the early stages of the new campaign, showed what he was capable of within minutes of replacing Dele Adebola.
He cut open the Spireites defence sending a neat side footed pace in the direction of Tutte who had unfortunately mis-read the pass.
Chesterfield’s Bowery had a weak effort comfortably saved by Lillis on 69 minutes as McIntyre applied enough pressure to stop his making a decent connection with the ball.
Grimes then came close to adding a second for Dale with a shot from 18 yards, it curled the wrong side of the woodwork.
On 78 minutes, a piece of great defending from Pearson saw off the danger from substitute Craig Westcarr who had managed to get through on goal.
Up the other end and Putterill, who had spotted Lee of his line attempted to lift the ball over the keeper, but instead the effort curled up and over the cross bar
Donnelly sent Lee full stretch across the face of goal on 86 minutes as pulled a shot across the face of goal. The ball however flew past the up right.
With just three minutes of the 90 remaining, Ryan Edwards again the man of the moment as he yet again cleared the ball off the line to keep Chesterfield out.
But it wasn’t over yet and in the final minutes of the game Chesterfield through absolutely everything forward as they bombarded the Dale goal.
Trotman was the first to head wide from a free kick which was delivered into the box, while Lillis pulled off a top drawer save to keep out the Spireites.
But in what was a cruel end to the match following a fantastic display from Rochdale, Jack Lester hit home from the resulting corner kick to snatch a point for Chesterfield.
It finished Chesterfield 1, Rochale 1.