A header in each half undid Spireites 2-0 at Shrewsbury Town, the fourth favourites for the League Two title this season.
New boss Mickey Mellon, a former Burnley team mate of Paul Cook’s, has been given a sizeable budget to try and get Shrews back into League One after relegation last term, and to date he’s signed 13 new players.
One of them, James Collins, returning to the Greenhous Meadow after spells with Swindon Town and Hibs, put them ahead, converting a deep left- sided cross from another new boy, former Cheltenham winger Ashley Vincent, 36 minutes into the contest.
Evergreen Andy Robinson, formerly of Swansea and Tranmere and one of a number of trialists who came on for the second half for the hosts, delivered a 55th minute right wing corner for Craig Curran to score. Curran formerly played for Tranmere, Carlisle and Rochdale and has recently been at Limerick.
Over the course of the 90 Shrewsbury had the edge; Cook’s side created chances but also had to repel plenty of home forays into Spireites’ box.
Both sides hit the goal frame, Gary Roberts from a seemingly impossible angle after a Dan Gardner cross before the scoring whilst Robinson matched that after the scoring had finished.
Similarly, goal-line clearances came to the rescue at both ends, Jay O’Shea blocked a Mark Ellis header whilst Liam Lawrence, recruited from Barnsley, denied Armand Gnanduillet a second goal of the week. Jordan Clark, another ex-Oakwell man, who’s also played for Spireites, appeared for Shrews as a trialist.
Chesterfield had two new trialists play a part; Robbie Cotton, 19, from Blackburn Rovers had a few minutes towards the end whilst ex-Liverpool striker Adam Morgan, 20, who was at Rotherham United briefly last year, was given just short of half an hour to impress, and his movement looked good.
Ex-Aldershot keeper Luke Williams was again tried out in goal for Chesterfield. Tommy Lee is still not quite ready whilst Aaron Chapman has had a minor operation and will miss a month. Drew Talbot has also had what his boss described as ‘a set back.’
Cook said: “We’re disappointed, but we’re trying to get ready for Orient away. I know there’s a bit of anxiety about, we can’t change that. We’ve been turned over by what looks to be a very strong Shrewsbury team but we’ve had good chances to score, which we’ve not taken and we’ve conceded a couple of poor goals.
“We’ll go away and look at what we’re doing, work hard, improve our fitness, our dynamics, the team must improve. We’re training very hard at the moment, we did three sessions yesterday. We’re not preparing for games at the minute so, rightly or wrongly, the results are not the most important thing at the moment. Everybody wants to win but we know at the moment the numbers aren’t great, everything’s not fine and we must keep looking to get the right people in and that goes on and on.”
* Shrewsbury Town (4-4-2): Leutwiler (Halstead HT); Grandison (Gayle HT), Ellis (Durran HT), Knight-Percival (Smith 70), Demetriou (Burton 80); Caton (Asanti HT), Goldson, Wesolowski (Clark 62), Vincent (Robinson HT); Collins (Lawrence HT), Vernon (Akpa Akpro HT).
* Chesterfield (4-2-3-1): Williams; Darikwa (Cotton 82), Evatt (Morgan 64), Cooper (Raglan 70), Humphreys (Jones 56); Ryan (Michael 82), Morsy (Featherstone 70); O’Shea (Trialist 77), Gardner (Hird 56), Roberts (Boco 66); Doyle (Gnanduillet 58).