Chesterfield assistant manager Leam Richardson said there were encouraging signs for the League Two champions in their 2-2 draw with Leeds United.
The Spireites came from behind and then took the lead during the first home game of the pre-season calender through Sam Morsy’s second-half double.
Rudolph Austin had put the Championship side ahead from the penalty spot and grasped the opportunity again from 12 yards just minutes from the final whistle.
Both sides named strong line-ups which paved the way for a competitive game two weeks before the 2014/15 Football League season gets under way.
And Richardson said there were plenty of positives for Chesterfield to take from the fixture ahead of their League One curtain-raiser at Leyton Orient on August 9.
He said: “I thought we moved the ball well. There were some good individual performances and some good collectively. Up to 70-75 minutes I thought we were the better team on the day.”
The Yorkshire side, backed by a vocal following, knew what to expect from the Spireites who ran them close in the League Cup last season at Elland Road.
“It was two sides out there who wanted to win,” said Richardson. “It was a marker for ourselves and for Leeds United. They know we’re a good team off the back of last year when we played them. It was a full-blooded game and I thoroughly enjoyed it.”
Jay O’Shea played 45 minutes on his return to the starting line-up after he had hobbled off 11 days previously in the 5-1 win over Alfreton Town at the Impact Arena.
He was replaced by Dan Gardner while Armand Gnanduillet came on for Sam Hird at the break and provided a physical presence in the final third which troubled the visitors’ defence.
“Armand’s a good player. He’s a young kid who we think very highly of,” said Richardson
“He’ll be the first to admit he’s still learning the game but he’s a great asset for the club.
“When he plays like that he does influence games.”
Chesterfield looked strong at the other end of the pitch as Leeds were restricted to few sights of Tommy Lee’s goal from open play. Ian Evatt and Liam Cooper showed the type of form reminiscent of last season’s championship season, while Dan Jones has settled in quickly at left-back.
Tendayi Darikwa completed the back four on the right side of defence and had his hands full containing former Millwall man Steve Morison, often locked in a physical dual.
Richardson added: “I rate Tendayi highly and he’s another one who has come on great strides. He’s improving every week and every month since I’ve been at the club.
“If he continues to do that he’ll get interest again.”
Darikwa, last season’s number seven, donned the number-two shirt but Richardson said his versatility will be an asset.
“He wanted the number-two shirt,” he added. “We see him as a good player. Whether he plays up one or at right-back we know he can be effective with his energy and his pace.”
Chesterfield’s preparations continue on Wednesday with the visit of Premier League Aston Villa.
Goals: Morsy 2, Chesterfield. Austin pen 2 (both pens), Leeds.
Spireites (4-2-3-1): Lee; Darikwa, Evatt (c), Cooper, Jones; Hird (Gardner HT), Morsy (Humphreys 75), O’Shea (Gnanduillet HT), Ryan (Morrisson 83), Roberts (Featherstone 81); Doyle (Daly 85). Subs: Anyan, Raglan, Onovwigun, Dawes, Clarke.
Leeds (4-2-3-1): Silvestri, Byram, Wootton, Pearce, Warnock (Berardi 74), Murphy (Norris 67), Cook (Tonge 66), Austin (c), Morison (Dawson 76), Smith (Doukara HT), White (Bianchi 64).Subs: S Taylor, C Taylor, Lees.
Referee: Michael Naylor (South Yorkshire).
Attendance: 4,038 (1,769).