HOW do you make sense of the nonsensical?

When referee Lee Collins - about whom you will be reading much more - finally called time on a match that veered wildly between the exciting and farcical deep into injury time, it wasn’t so much a question of how it finished, but rather where to start.

In Swindon Town’s case was it two points dropped against a side rock-bottom of the English Football League, having registered just two league victories since the start of the season?

Or was it one point gained, the icy-veined penalty finish from substitute Luke Norris having rescued a draw in the nick of time as another rather inexplicable home defeat loomed?

Few seemed to have a convincing answer, nor for how a home side that had spent most of the opening 45 minutes on an almost incessant charge towards the Spireites’ goal found themselves trailing to two moments of magic from their struggling visitors in the second period.

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Timi Elsnik handed Town the lead with his curled effort.

Or for how Chesterfield’s goalkeeper Joe Anyon, who, having arguably been lucky to still be on the field after an early penalty-area tangle with Town’s Kaiyne Woolery, gave a passable impression of a rabbit in the headlights whenever the ball approached him in the air, but was barely tested otherwise, despite the hosts’ dominance.

Or especially for how Collins could deliver a performance with the whistle that could charitably be described as ‘eccentric’ leaving both sides feeling short-changed come the end.

The final analysis for David Flitcroft’s men reflected rather better on their attitude in adversity than their ability to put away limited opponents who nevertheless grew in confidence as the game wore on.

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Matt Preston battles it out for posession 

Flitcroft made two changes from the side that had thumped non-league Dartford in the FA Cup the previous Sunday, with Keshi Anderson returning having missed out in Kent due to parent club Crystal Palace not wanting him cup-tied.

Midweek Checkatrade Trophy goalscorer Woolery earned his first league start since the 2-1 defeat at Cheltenham early last month, while Paul Mullin and Donal McDermott, who missed out on the squad altogether after suffering an injury at Bristol Rovers on Wednesday, dropped out.

Mullin earned a place on the bench where top scorer Norris also had a seat after his recovery from injury, while former Town player Brad Barry was among the starting XI for the visitors.

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Jak McCourt celebrates his superb strike which handed his side the lead. 

Town suffered an early blow as midfielder Amine Linganzi limped off just a couple of minutes in, yet his replacement John Goddard almost made an immediate impact as he let fly from 30 yards, forcing Anyon to tip wide at full stretch.

Nine minutes in the home side had a huge shout for a penalty as Anyon took a heavy touch from a back pass and his attempted clearance was blocked back towards goal by Woolery.

As the Town striker attempt to regain his feet he appeared to be held back by the keeper, but referee Collins was unmoved, despite as evidenced by Flitcroft afterwards, being informed by the fourth official that a foul had been committed.

Still Town came, Harry Smith directing a powerless header goalwards before the visitors conjured up a fine move on 16 minutes as Louis Reed’s diagonal ball was acrobatically deflected back across goal by Joe Rowley but Kristian Dennis couldn’t shrug off Olly Lancashire to get any power in the header, which went wide.

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Harry Smith was forced off the field after suffering head injury

Anderson then beat the Spireites’ offside trap from a quickly-taken free kick but despite touching it past Anyon, was only able to scuff wide from an acute angle.

Chesterfield appealed for a penalty soon after as the ball seemed to hit Town skipper Lancashire’s arm in the box before the hosts suffered a second injury blow as Smith and Sam Hird clashed and required treatment, the Town striker coming off worse with a sizeable bump to the side of his head to be replaced by Norris.

Just after the half hour the substitute was convinced he had scored when meeting Matty Taylor’s corner from the right at the far post. The ball was headed out from under the bar and the officials’ verdict went against Town.

Home frustration with Collins grew as Andy Kellett received only a talking-to for felling James Dunne, but Woolery saw yellow for an admittedly poor tackle on Rowley.

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Both sets of players observe a minute’s silence in recognition of Armistice Day before kick off

Norris then flicked on a Ben Purkiss cross but the ball escaped the attentions of Anderson at the far post before Dunne was booked for a push and Chesterfield finished the half well.

An offside Dennis turned a mis-hit Rowley shot on to a post before Briggs found the ball at his feet 15 yards out, but his effort was blocked wide.

The sooner the first goal arrived for the home side the better and they didn’t have to wait long after the restart.

Anderson worked his way down into the corner and as the ball was sent across to Elsnik in the box, the midfielder turned and shifted the ball on to his left foot before curling a beauty beyond Anyon into the far corner.

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Luke Norris celebrates after dispatching his penalty. 

Chesterfield should have responded immediately as the ball fell to Dennis seven yards out but he ballooned miles over the top.

But on 57 minutes they were on terms courtesy of some sensational control from the striker. Reed lofted a fine ball over the top and Dennis, in between Town’s central defenders, controlled instantly before firing under Reice Charles-Cook.

The Spireites sensed blood as Town’s performance level appeared to drop, their midfield and left side of defence appearing to go AWOL at times.

Still, Goddard did superbly to create space and cross to the far post where Norris touched a bouncing ball over the top before Rowley, in acres of space, stung the palms of Charles-Cook, who got down well to block his fierce drive.

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Amine Linganzi also had his afternoon ended with injury. 

Woolery was replaced by Mullin for the home side before Goddard again lofted the ball to the far post where Anderson directed it back across goal from close range to no effect.

With just under 20 minutes left though Town were stunned as Chesterfield took the lead with another magnificent strike.

The danger appeared minimal as the ball arrived at the feet of Jak McCourt at least 35 yards out, only for the midfielder to let fly with a belter that saw Charles-Cook merely spectate as the ball rocketed into the top corner, although the keeper would have been entitled to applaud it on the way in, such was the quality of the strike.

Town’s response tended to fall into the huff and puff category as crosses failed to beat the first man or flew harmlessly away and Chesterfield could have added a third as the excellent Kellett went on a meandering run that ended with him firing inches wide of the far post.

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Town's final change saw Paul Mullin intorduced for Kaiyne Woolery. 

Increasingly desperate, Town poured forward and Taylor tested Anyon from 35 yards but somehow you felt that Collins - the centre of attention and ire for much of the afternoon - would still have a final say.

So it proved as Goddard lofted another ball to the far post and Norris was sent sprawling by an unnecessary tug from Scott Wiseman deep into injury time.

The visitors did their best to put the big striker off with a largely stage-managed confrontation involving players from both sides but after a few moments, Norris sent Anyon the wrong way to rescue his side.