Chesterfield 2 Torquay United 2
- Credit: Lexy Ilsley/PPAUK
Talk about 'Gary-Time'!
After beating Southend United with a 90th minute winner at Plainmoor last Saturday, Torquay United scored twice in the dying minutes to snatch a dramatic point against unbeaten Chesterfield at the Technique Stadium.
It looked for all the world as if Kabby Tshimanga's two opportunist second-half goals had sent the Spireites back to the top of the National League.
But fit-again Armani Little gave Gary Johnson's Gulls a glimmer of hope with a goal in the 89th minute.
And, after Danny Wright had two efforts saved, Little's corner in the fifth and final minute of stoppage-time caused panic in the home goalmouth and Curtis Weston, trying to clear, sliced the ball into the roof of his own net.
United picked up so many points with late goals last season, and they showed the same fighting spirit when all seemed lost in Derbyshire.
It was an amazing end after United had played second fiddle for most of the game in which neither side really performed well in front of the BT Sport cameras.
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But Tshimanga, who is reported to have cost more than £200,000 from Boreham Wood in the summer, helped himself to two second-half tap-ins, taking his tally to nine goals from the first eight games of the season.
Johnson had both Little and Tom Lapslie fit again after injury, and it was Little who returned in place of Connor Lemonheigh-Evans, who had picked up a knock in the win over Southend.
Little had a 20-yard free-kick blocked early on, but United spent most of the first half in containment mode.
Tshimanga and Stefan Payne had shots deflected wide and over, Tshimanga's effort after Little had lost possession in midfield.
United, sporting their new black-and-white striped third kit, needed to sharpen up in that department, and another mistake by Keelan O'Connell led to Dean Moxey taking a knock trying to win the ball back.
But, after Payne met a George Carline cross with a header which Shaun MacDonald took easily, United finally started to ease the pressure on their solid defence just before half-time.
It did take a terrific last-ditch tackle by Ben Wynter to deny Payne on Tshimanga's pass, but the Gulls had moved up a gear in attack and it took a double-save by Scott Loach to stop the Gulls taking the lead in the 44th minute.
Danny Wright forced some uncertainty in the home defence, and Klaidi Lolos worked room for one firm shot which Loach did well to parry and a follow-up effort which Loach flicked behind for a corner.
Lolos mishit near goal when he was well placed on a Little cross just after the restart, as both sides visibly moved up a gear in search of a goal early in the second half.
Despite their stoic defence, United were still not keeping the ball well enough further forward, and Johnson had just signalled his intent to make a chance when Chesterfield took the lead in the 59th minute.
Miller delivered a low cross from the left, MacDonald tried to cut the ball out but only succeeded in parrying it into the path of Tshimanga, who tapped in…1-0
Johnson immediately sent on Holman for Lolos and Lapslie for Rogers.
United weren't without hope of an equaliser, but when O'Connell worked a one-two with Holman cutting in from the left, his next touch wasn't quite good enough and he hurriedly shot wide when he should have hit the target.
A second Chesterfield goal was always likely to settle the contest, and it came in the 74th minute.
Miller was again the creator on the Spireites' left, MacDonald made a brilliant first save as Carline met the cross at the far post, but the ball rebounded straight into the path of Tshimanga…2-0.
The hosts looked certain winners at the stage, but it was far from over.
Johnson sent on Alex Addai for Chiori Johnson.
There was nothing wrong with United's spirit, and in the 89th minute Little drove forward, received a return pass from Holman and slid a left-foot shot past Loach's right-hand from ten yards…2-1.
It was enough to inspire Torquay and put the skids under Chesterfield.
When Loach saved twice from Wright as the match moved into stoppage-time, it looked as if Little's goal might be only a consolation.
But in the 95th minute O'Connell forced a corner on the left, Little's corner was on the money and Weston's own-goal made it…2-2!
Chesterfield (3-4-1-2): Loach; Kerr, Gunning, Maguire; Carline, Weston, McCourt, Miller (Whittle 90); Mandeville (Khan 69); Tshimanga, Payne (Rowe 75); subs not used - Grimes, King.
Booked: Carline 62.
Torquay United (3-4-1-2): MacDonald; Wynter, Lewis, Moxey; Johnson (Addai 75), Little, Hall, O'Connell; Rogers (Lapslie 61); Lolos (Holman 60), Wright; subs not used - Omar, Brzozowski.
Booked: Johnson 56
Referee: Stephen Copeland (Wirral).