It is something that football fans of all clubs argue about. What is the best, most memorable or favourite goal scored by your heroes?
Each week we are taking a look at some of the best to hit the net for Chesterfield over the past decades. If you have a goal you would like us to feature, email firstname.lastname@example.org with brief details and your memories of the strike and we will try to include in a future article.
Among those suggested for future weeks are Derek Niven’s 96th minute winner against Bournemouth in the last Chesterfield match at Saltergate and a Paul Holland cracker against Blackpool in the 90s.
The second golden goal in our series, following last week’s look back to Craig Westcarr’s Johnstone Paints Trophy final goal against Swindon, takes us back to 1997 and arguably the Spireites’ biggest day on the national footballing stage.
It was the day Chesterfield-born Jamie Hewitt became something of a national hero for the most dramatic of goals at the end of the most dramatic of FA Cup semi-finals. He reclled in an interview for the Football Association: “It was amazing scenes for us, a sea of blue and white as we turned into Old Trafford.
St Albans Spireite, responding to our request for suggestions for the golden goals’ feature, said: “I doubt any goal can beat Jamie Hewitt’s header versus Middlebrough in the FA Cup semi in 1997, surely?”
Chesterfield, a team from the third tier of English football, had reached the last four of the greatest club cup competition in the world and a day at Old Trafford against Middlesbrough from the Premier League.
Listen to Jamie Hewitt’s memories of the big day
Watch highlights of the match, including Jamie Hewitt’s goal
Golden Goal - Craig Westcarr scores at Wembley
There was just one minute left of extra-time when Hewitt rescued the Spirites to make it 3-3 and earn a replay — which was the least they deserved from the day. A deep cross came in from the right touchline and Hewitt, close to the penalty spot, watched as the ball bounced in front of him before launching himself forwards and looping his header over motionless keeper Ben Roberts and into the roof of the net.
It sparked pandemonium on and off the pitch.Hewitt said: “We were shattered in extra-time. When it went to 3-2 we thought that was our shot. It was strange for me to be up there (for the equaliser). What a cross. It was like a slow motion thing, something you dream of. “I saw the ball all the way and threw myself at it. Luckily it hit me straight in the middle of the head and looped over the keeper. When it dropped in it was like what dreams are made of.”
It was the most dramatic ending to an action-packed semi-final. All Chesterfield fans will argue to this day that had a wrongly disallowed goal been allowed to stand with the score at 2-1 to the Spireites, they would have gone on to make an historic apearance in the final. As it was, they lost the replay 3-0 and Boro went on to play Cherlsea in the final at Wembley.
Hewitt said: “My initial reaction was that it had gone over the line and I am sure the linesman gave it and ran up to the halfway line, but for some reason he didn’t attract the referee’s attention. It hurts more as the years go by.”
Spireites stalwart Andy Morris opened the scoring in the 54th minute and then won a penalty on the hour, which Sean Dyche converted in style. Chesterfield looked to be on their way to a famous victory over the 10-men of Boro following Vladimir Kinder’s two first-half yellow cards.
Four minutes after Dyche’s emphatic spot-kick Fabrizio Ravanelli pulled a goal back for the top flight side, but then came the controversy as Jonathan Howard’s shot appeared to cross the line after hitting the bar.
Referee David Elleray thought otherwise, although television replays suggested he was wrong, and it was a decision Chesterfield still rue to this day.
Within a minute mercurial Brazilian winger Juninho won a penalty at the other end and Craig Hignett equalised from the spot. In extra-time, Chesterfield looked to be heading for a heartbreaking defeat when Gianluca Festa struck, but then came Hewitt’s heroics.
Chesterfield manager John Duncan, who had masterminded a famous quarter-final win over Nottingham Forest, celebrated the equaliser so much that he famously lost his spectacles in the jubilation — a moment captured live by the BBC TV cameras.