UNITED secured a sixth draw in nine outings, but in the face of a growing injury list, most of Yellow camp will surely see this point away from home as one gained.
Rene Howe quickly cancelled out Tendayi Darwika’s 48th minute opener with a cool finish three minutes later, following an error in the Chesterfield backline.
United boss Martin Ling made two enforced changes to the side which started the 1-1 home draw with Burton last Saturday.
Ian Morris and Nathan Craig both picked up injuries in the build-up to the game, and were replaced by wingers Lloyd Macklin and Danny Stevens. Billy Bodin took Morris’ place in the Gulls’ midfield trio to give the side a distinctly attacking look. Daniel Leadbitter and Ashley Yeoman
took the two vacant spots amongst the replacements.
Chesterfield’s caretaker boss Tommy Wright, meanwhile, was able to name the same starting line-up that was held to a goalless draw at Northampton seven days ago, with new Blackburn loanee Micah Evans the only addition to the match-day squad, replacing Mark Randall on the bench.
United started with a real sense of urgency. Joe Oastler’s ball into the box caused havoc in the Spireites’ defence, with keeper Richard O’Donnell appearing to impede Lee Mansell as the Gulls’ skipper tried to net after the ball rebounded off the bar following a shot from Macklin.
Macklin’s second effort was then turned behind for a corner, but there was no let-up of Yellow pressure, as Aaron Downes nearly opened the scoring against his former club, but the defender’s header was blocked just short of the goal line.
The home side hit back with Drew Talbot’s effort forcing Michael Poke into a fine tip over the bar, but United seemed to be back in their passing rhythm and were bossing proceedings.
Unfortunately though, Ling’s patched-up side suffered yet another injury blow just short of the half-hour mark, when Craig Easton limped off to be replaced by Thomas Cruise.
The Gulls took some time to adjust to the change, and Chesterfield began to take charge. A number of chances were created and missed, with the experienced Jack Lester the most obvious culprit, flicking wide with the goal gaping as the game headed towards the interval.
Torquay held on until the interval, but were behind three minutes into the second half. Following a foul by Downes on Lester, Chesterfield took a quick free-kick which caught the Gulls’ defence out. The ball was fed down the right inside Kevin Nicholson, leaving Darwikwa clear to fire past Poke from the angle.
United responded almost instantly through leading scorer Howe. Following a mistake from Neil Trotman, the bustling frontman was alert to the opportunity and showed fine composure to finish coolly past Lee in the home goal and grab his sixth goal of the season.
Chesterfield, shocked by conceding so soon after grabbing the lead, set about restoring their advantage and took control of the match again but United were content to soak up the pressure and were looking threatening themselves on the counter, although the final ball was lacking in enough quality to create much in the way of clear-cut chances.
Not for the first time this season, Howe was proving the most prominent outlet for United, but the lack of service he received meant he often became an isolated figure up front.
Midway through the half, both sides had decent shouts for a penalty, but both were turned down by the referee. Firstly, Lester went down under a challenge from Brian Saah inside the box.
The home fans had barely finished voicing their disapproval before possession had moved up to the other end, and when Lee Mansell’s cross appeared to strike the hand of Trotman, the referee appeared equally uninterested and the status quo remained.
As the game entered the dying stages, neither of these two draw specialists appeared keen to add to their tally, but as substitute Jacob Hazell broke free and fired wide for the home side deep into injury time, it soon became apparent it would end with the spoils shared once again.
(4-3-3): 1 Michael Poke; 2 Joe Oastler, 5 Brian Saah, 4 Aaron Downes, 3 Kevin Nicholson; 7 Lee Mansell (capt), 18 Craig Easton (21 Thomas Cruise 28), 15 Billy Bodin; 14 Lloyd Macklin (29 Niall Thompson 71), 9 Rene Howe, 19 Danny Stevens (8 Ryan Jarvis 76). Substitutes
(not used): 12 Daniel Leadbitter, 13 Martin Rice (GK), 23 Ashley Yeoman
, 30 Kirtys MacKenzie.