Paul Cook selected two different outfield elevens for Chesterfield’s 1-1 friendly draw at Buxton.
The less experienced first half side conceded a goal to Shaun Tuton whist the much stronger second half selection saw Jay O’Shea level matters ten minutes before the end.
The manager, who revealed his squad had done a heavy training session that morning before travelling to Silverlands, said: “I’m really pleased, it’s important we get underway. Last year has gone, it’s done and dusted, so we move on into a tougher league.
“The important thing for the lads is getting practice in and playing. The lads had a tough morning and the game finished the day off for them. They equipped themselves better in the second half when we were a little bit stronger. But all in all, I’m really pleased and we’ve come through with no injuries.”
Missing from the squad were both keepers, Tommy Lee and Aaron Chapman, but they’ll be available very soon, whilst Drew Talbot was absent after having an injection to try and clear up his niggling groin problem. Ollie Banks was out, still recovering from his foot injury picked up at Wembley.
That meant that former Cardiff academy keeper Liam Matthews played the full 90 minutes whilst a Swedish triallist, identified simply as ‘Michael’ appeared on the left wing in the first half’s 4-4-2 formation. Neither looked likely to be long- term additions to the squad. Former Spireite Derek Niven, in midfield for the hosts, was one of the more recognisable players!
Cook started with Ritchie Humphreys up front despite indicating that the veteran would be unavailable: “He turned up at training this morning, felt alright and asked if he could play.” Originally youth teamer Jake Beesley, son of ex-Blade Paul, was penciled in to start as centre forward but the ex-Owl was soon in midfield as Cook joked: “I thought he was awful up front, he’s played his way out of the new striker’s role, I hope that reassures our fans!”
Martin McIntosh’s Buxton started strongly and earned a series of corners and it came as no surprise when, on 29 minutes, Tuton turned inside the box to slot the Evo-Stik League side in front. Humphreys, from a free-kick, and Ian Evatt, from a corner, provided Chesterfield’s only attacking moments of note pre-break.
With a more familiar 4-2-3-1 line-up for the second half, Spireites stepped up a gear and with Dan Gardner, Gary Roberts and O’Shea all looking sharp and full of tricks, the game grew in intensity, though new boy Charlie Raglan did have to block on the line from Alastair Taylor before Sam Morsy’s excellent control led to O’Shea’s leveller.
Defender Jack Broadhead headed wide and O’Shea saw a shot saved as the league side sought a later winner, but none was forthcoming. New boys Charlie Dawes, in the first half, plus Dan Jones and Charlie Raglan after the break, slotted in well with the two second half men in particular looking very sound.
Spireites play at Matlock Town on Wednesday (7.30pm).
Buxton (4-4-2): Reid; Byrne (Taylor HT), Palmer, Young, Green (Byrne 65); Stevens, Istead (Amesbury 72), Niven, King; Hardy (Davies 58), Tuton.
Chesterfield First Half (4-4-2): Matthews; Massey, Evatt, Cooper, Maguire; Dawes, Hird, Sugden, Michael; Humphreys, Doyle.
Second Half (4-2-3-1): Matthews; Darikwa, Broadhead, Raglan, Jones; Ryan, Morsy; O’Shea, Gardner, Roberts; Gnanduillet.
Goals: Tuton (Buxton); O’Shea (Chesterfield.
referee: Nigel Smith (Chesterfield)