Ched Evans came up with the goods but Danny Wilson tipped his hat to every Chesterfield debutant after his side came back from behind to snatch a point at Oxford United.
Evans was playing in his first competitive game since having his rape conviction overturned in April, and got off to a fine start in a Spireites shirt after firing home a second-half free-kick.
New signings Jon Nolan, Ryan Fulton and Paul McGinn also started, while Kristian Dennis replaced Evans up front for the last few minutes of the game.
And Wilson is confident there is more to come from Evans and company after Chesterfield responded well to Wes Thomas’ strike for Oxford on the half-hour.
“Ched looked a little ring rusty and just snatched at a couple of opportunities which he might bury later in the season,” said Wilson. “But he’s got through another 80 minutes and scored and that is good from our point of view.
“I thought all the debutants contributed – it is very important that the lads that have come into the team settle.
“They have settled quite well during pre-season, but there’s nothing like the big stage and from what I saw, they’ve done well.”
Oxford, newly promoted from League Two, dictated much of the play in the first half and broke the deadlock after Thomas pounced on the rebound from Alex MacDonald’s shot.
Thomas was also denied by the post early on after the break but in the 76th minute Evans – who was booed by the Kassam Stadium crowd throughout the game – rifled home a free-kick.
“I thought we were unfortunate to be behind at half time,” Wilson added.
“It was a very hot day and as the game went on the pitch got drier and that slowed the ball up and I think we were an even match for each other.
“We conceded a soft goal in the first half, but we showed our character in the second half to come back and get a point.”
Oxford (4-4-2): Eastwood, Long, Nelson, Dunkley (Ruffels 40), Skarz, MacDonald, Lundstram, Sercombe, Maguire (Roberts 64), Thomas (Hemmings 81), Taylor.
Subs not used: Buchel, Crowley, Rothwell, Welch-Hayes.
Chesterfield (4-4-2): Fulton, McGinn, Evatt, Raglan, Donohue, Gardner (Simons 67), Nolan, Liddle, Ariyibi, Evans (Dennis 88, N/A), O’Shea .
Subs not used: Mitchell, Dimaio, Allinson, Maguire, Daley.