He may have been disappointed with the result but Dan Gardner was delighted to get off the mark for the Spireites in the defeat to Wigan Athletic.
Struck with force from the left corner of the penalty box, Gardner’s stunning striker was the opener in the match which went on to see Spireites lose a 2-0 lead in the final nine minutes to lose 3-2.
Gardner said: “It was a good goal, but a bad result, the only good thing about it was to get off the mark for the season.
“I was waiting for Dan Jones to get around me and see if I could slip it through to him, but then I’ve come inside, seen it open up and hit it.
The wide man was at the centre of a controversial decision in the first half when referee Mark Brown failed to award what looked a clear penalty, but pulled play back to award a free-kick outside the area.
The man at the centre of the event said: “It was a definite penalty, the whole stadium, their bench and everyone was shocked that it wasn’t given, but that’s the way it goes in football and you just have to get on with it. These things happen but it was a shocking decision.”
One feature of Gardner’s play this season has been his fitness and consistency levels have both been significantly improved.
The former Celtic and Halifax man had appeared in 39 games for Chesterfield before the start of the season, and never made the full 90 minutes.
When starting he was regularly withdrawn around the hour mark: “When the sub board used to go up, I never even looked for the number, I automatically started jogging to the bench,” he said.
But this season he has played three full 90 minutes and passed the 80 minute mark in all but one of his other outings.
He said: “(Fitness coach) Mal Purchase has made a big difference and the confidence the manager gives me by keeping me on the pitch gives me great confidence and I’m a confidence sort of player,”
Spireites’ newly reformed reserves side play their first game of the season at the Proact against Doncaster Rovers at 2pm this afternoon. Entry is free.