Chesterfield delivered on their manager’s promise to give Wigan Athletic a ‘full on’ test at the Proact, holding the Championship side to a 1-1 draw.
Martin Allen had vowed that the game, a testimonial for retired club legend Tommy Lee, would not be a friendly kickabout.
And some of the tackles and on-field confrontations throughout the contest proved him right.
Wigan led at the break through Will Grigg, who else?
But the Spireites were never out of the game and stormed back to level midway through the second half through the impressive Jerome Binnom-Williams.
Allen’s side showed their Football League opponents, managed by popular ex Town boss Paul Cook, very little respect, flying into tackles and competing fiercely in the early stages.
Lee began the game in net before departing in the seventh minute to a standing ovation, Shwan Jalal taking his place.
The visitors settled into their rhythm quite quickly but it was the home side who created the first chance - Jerome Binnom-Williams’ cross-cum-shot easily saved by Christian Walton after good work by Charlie Carter and Gozie Ugwu.
Chesterfield were quick to press Wigan and it almost brought a golden opening for Curtis Weston, who forced a mistake in the backline but was halted by Chey Dunkley.
It took Wigan 13 minutes to muster a shot, Michael Jacobs’ long range effort bringing a smart stop from Jalal.
Town were having the better of it as the half reached its midway point, Will Evans’ interception and through ball giving Binnom-Williams a chance to shoot, his effort sliding past the post.
It was a robust display from the Spireites, with a number of fair crunching challenges raising the heckles of Nick Powell in the Latics midfield.
But it was Paul Cook’s men who took the lead seven minutes before the break, Powell’s wicked cross headed goalwards by Will Grigg, the ball nicking off Evans’ head on its way in.
Town made a bright start to the second period, Charlie Carter meeting Binnom-Williams’ deep cross at the back post but heading wide.
Grigg was an offside flag away from doubling his tally, stooping to nod past Jalal only to have the effort ruled out, before Carter’s shot at the other end was blocked.
The industry of substitute Lee Shaw put Town back on the attack and started a good spell of pressure.
A free-kick won by the striker and sent goalwards by Hines was well saved by Watton, who then palmed away Evans’ cross before Carter won another free-kick that brought the leveller.
A delivery to the back post gave Evans two bites at the cherry, the second sending the ball high into the air, causing chaos and allowing Ugwu to control the ball for Binnom-Williams to slash it home.
A raft of substitutions broke the flow of the game in the final stages, Town holding firm and even causing a problem or two with Sam Muggleton’s long throw, before Mark Halsey brought it to a close.
Chesterfield: Jalal (Anyon 86), Barry, Binnom-Williams (Smith 72), Evans, Maguire, Nelson (Shaw 58), Weston (Sinnott 81), Weir (Wedgbury 72), Carter (Rowley 79), Hines (Trialist 72), Ugwu.
Wigan: Watton, James (Gibson 46), Perch (Naysmith 57), Dunkley (Bruce 72), Burn, Power (Da Silva Lopez 79), Morsy (McDonald 72), Massey (Wallace 78), Jacobs (McManaman 62), Powell (Roberts 67), Grigg (Vaughan 62). Subs: Jones, Walker.
Goalscorers: Binnom-Williams 66; Grigg 38
Referee: Mark Halsey. Assistants: Glenn B. Turner, Rob Rees