Chesterfield fought out a goalless draw in the heat of Vila Real de Santo Antonio in South East Portugal.
With Kristian Dennis (calf) and Jordan Sinnott (quad) rested for precautionary reasons, Gary Caldwell gave first starts in Chesterfield shirts to Chris O’Grady in the first half and Jak McCourt in the second. Both showed tremendous work ethics and they look to be excellent acquisitions.
The game, between two sides that wanted to pass out from the back, began in a cagey fashion with the Portuguese side, wearing un-numbered training shirts, dominating possession but being unable to create any meaningful openings. Indeed, Benfica’s only effort on target before the break came after a wayward Spireites pass.
Chesterfield grew into the game and Bradley Barry and Chris O’Grady had shots but the opposition’s keeper’s only first-45 action was to catch a curling Reece Mitchell cross in from the left.
Wholesale changes in the 30-degree heat at the break, with only keeper Joe Anyon and wide man Mitchell staying on, but Dylan Parkin came on with 70 on the clock and by that point, Anyon had not been troubled for a second time.
Ian Evatt, Joe Rowley and Gozie Ugwu were the busiest performers in the opening half with skipper Evatt being the defensive lynchpin and passing fulcrum with much of the build-up play involving the big man.
McCourt took the armband after the break as Spireites continued with the three-at-the-back formation, though Mitchell moved in-field as Jack Brownell and Jerome Binnom-Williams took on wing-back responsibilities.
During the second-half, 10th summer signing Louis Reed arrived to join up with the squad and he could be involved when Spireites return here on Saturday evening for a game with Middlesbrough.
One thing’s for sure though; Chesterfield are unlikely to face too many sides in League Two that play the way Benfica B did and the Proact Stadium in unlikely to host too many games in the same level of heat.
Chesterfield looked fit and they played as a cohesive unit in a game of few chances against a side that finished fourth in last season’s Portuguese second-tier.
Chesterfield (First Half): Anyon, Wiseman, Evatt, Maguire, Barry, Wakefield, Hird, Rowley, Mitchell, Ugwu, O’Grady.
(Second Half): Anyon (Parkin 70), McGinn, Smith, Donohue, Brownell, McCourt, Binnom-Williams, Dimaio, Mitchell, German, Brewster.