The Spireites ended their pre-season with a 1-1 draw with Sheffield Wednesday.
A late sucker-punch from Owls striker Chris Maguire levelled the scores after triallist Hamza Bencherif had opened the scoring for the Spireites in the first half.
Chesterfield came into the game on the back of a 2-1 defeat to Wolverhampton Wanderers in midweek, whilst Wednesday beat Scottish giants Rangers through a first half goal from Michail Antonio, who wasn’t involved for the Owls today.
On a sun-drenched day at the Proact Stadium, neither side managed to take control of the early stages. It took until the 10th minute for the first effort from the visitors. New signing Atdhe Nuhiu’s shot from the edge of the area was hit into the side netting, when he should have really done better.
A minute later and it was former Wednesday man Drew Talbot who nearly inadvertently put past Spireites goalkeeper Tommy Lee, but thankfully for Chesterfield, the wide of the post.
The first clear-cut opportunity of the game came 20 minutes into the game. Good passing between Liam Palmer and Maguire provided Giles Coke with an opportunity, but the midfielder hit the ball straight into Lee’s arms.
Chesterfield’s first half chance came midway through the first half. Ritchie Humphreys swung in a cross for Gary Roberts, but the attacker couldn’t direct his header on target.
The Spireites took the lead soon after. Some brilliant passing in the middle found its way to Roberts. His cross fell perfectly onto the head of triallist Bencherif and the ball nestled past former England international Chris Kirkland to put the Spireites ahead.
A great knock-back by goalscorer Bencherif presented Richards with an opportunity from around 25 yards out, but the striker snatched at his effort and the ball trickled to the Owls goalkeeper.
Chesterfield started to dominate the game, and deservedly led at the break. Heading into the second half, the Spireites made a change as the impressive Bencherif was replaced by new signing Jamie Devitt.
It was the Spireites that started the second half the brightest. Richards fed right-back Talbot, but the defender’s first touch let him down and his effort didn’t trouble Kirkland.
Some impressive wing-play between Talbot and Devitt saw the latter produce a teasing cross for Richards, but the ball just evaded the striker.
Sheffield Wednesday had their best opportunity of the game soon after. Jermaine Johnson raced through on goal, and produced a cross for Paul Corry, but the midfielder, with the Chesterfield goalkeeper out of his goal, couldn’t direct his header on target.
Eoin Doyle replaced striker Richards, and he nearly made an instant impact, playing through Roberts, but the attacker was flagged offside.
Just after the hour-mark, Lee produced a beautiful save, denying the dangerous Nuhiu from levelling the game up. The goalkeeper got down superbly to his left, saving the striker’s attempt.
Substitute Doyle nearly extended Chesterfield’s lead with 15 minutes remaining. Humphreys’ cross found the Irishman, but his header nestled into the stands.
Sam Hird thought he’d given the Spireites a two goal lead, but his back-post header was ruled out for offside, with most of the Chesterfield fans thinking the linesman had given the goal.
Some great work by Chesterfield in the midfield fell to Roberts. His trickery got him away from a Wednesday defender, but unfortunately the winger couldn’t get his effort away.
With two minutes remaining, Doyle played a defence splitting pace through to substitute Armand Gnanduillet. The Frenchman was presented with an opportunity to seal it, but his heavy touch meant that Owls goalkeeper Kirkland could easily collect the ball.
That missed effort would torment the Spireites, as seconds later Sheffield Wednesday equalised. With a minute remaining on the clock, Maguire picked the ball up from around 25 yards out, and unleashed a thunderbolt that sailed past Lee, and nestled into the Spireites goal, with the aid of the post.
That was the last action in the game, and the referee blew the whistle to signal the end of Chesterfield’s pre-season. Played in-front of 5,491 supporters, Maguire’s late leveller proved enough to force a draw.
Chesterfield: Lee; Talbot, Edwards (Brown 69'), Hird, Humphreys; Ryan (Thomas 83'), Bencherif (Devitt 46'), Darikwa (Gnanduillet 87'), Roberts, Togwell; Richards (Doyle 61').
Subs not used: Chapman, Smith.