Drama, intrigue and entertainment in spades, but pre-season opener gives little insight into Chesterfield's first team plans
Eight goals, five trialists and four penalties ensured there was entertainment, drama and intrigue galore in Chesterfield's pre-season opener.
Their 4-4 draw with Staveley Miners Welfare didn't tell us much about the new-look squad's chances of promotion this season, but it was fun.
John Sheridan gave many of his senior players the afternoon off, apparently saving them for Monday evening's trip to Hallam.
There was no Shwan Jalal, Will Evans, Jonathan Smith, David Buchanan, Anthony Gerrard, Robbie Weir, Curtis Weston or Scott Boden.
There were some new faces on display, however.
Goalkeeper Luke Coddington showcased pinpoint distribution early on and Liam Mandeville opened the scoring, in a first half that also featured a pair of trialists.
Sam Scrivens, a star performer for NCEL side Penistone Church last season, was heavily involved on the left wing, while Jake Bennett finally played in Chesterfield colours at right-back.
Bennett came to the Proact on loan from Sheffield United last season, only to get injured within 24 hours.
The 23-year-old did little wrong in this trial appearance.
On the other side of Town's back four was Jay Sheridan, son of the manager, who has inked a one-year deal and joined the Spireites development squad.
He too saw plenty of the ball in the early stages and provided some tidy touches and dangerous crosses.
Sheridan junior was fed a couple of times by Sam Wedgbury, finally back on the pitch after 11 and a half months out injured, who swung diagonal balls from right to left and mostly kept it simple in his 70 minutes of action.
The sight of him throwing himself into a big tackle, winning the ball and getting up unscathed was perhaps the afternoon's most satisfying moment.
Mandeville, who buzzed around and threatened often, had already come close with a cross-cum-shot before he opened the scoring from the first of the game's penalties seven minutes before the break.
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Despite a raft of changes, including academy graduates and three more trialists, Town appeared to be coasting when Luke Rawson showed skill and persistence to find Levi Amantchi and he calmly stroked the ball home.
But two goals in two minutes, from Matthew Parkin and Michael Burke, brought Staveley right back into it.
Both were fine finishes and you could see the home side's confidence growing against a youthful Town team that was suddenly creaking and cracking.
Their comeback was complete after the best move of the afternoon cut the Spireites apart, trialist keeper Dan Wallis, once of Sheffield Wednesday, given no chance as the ball was hammered in off his crossbar by Parkin.
The one-way traffic was finally halted and at the other end, former Chesterfield stopper Myles Wright made a wonderful stop to deny Amantchi a second, but he couldn't prevent trialist Dan Bramall from scoring Town's second spot-kick.
Bramall, who left the Spireites for Everton as a 14-year-old and signed professional terms two years ago, won the penalty with a burst of speed in the area, inviting a foul then picking himself up to make it 3-3, despite Wright getting a hand to it.
The game began to resemble a penalty shootout.
Jack Holmes went down under a challenge in the box to earn another, the afternoon's most dubious.
He slammed the ball past Wright to make it 4-3 with a quarter of an hour remaining.
Staveley finally got in on the act with a penalty of their own, Laurence Maguire's error putting Wallis under pressure, the keeper left with little choice but to upend an attacker.
Thomas Poole's excellent penalty ensured parity.
Good work from Joe Rowley, who cut a dynamic figure in his second half cameo, led to a late chance for Amantchi to win it but he shot wide and the game was drawn.
Something much closer to John Sheridan's first choice team is expected at Hallam on Monday when we might start to learn a little more about the 2019/20 Spireites.
Chesterfield: Coddington (Trialist 46), Trialist (Render 46), Sharman, Hollis (Trialist 46), Sheridan, Wedgbury (Maguire 70), Wakefield (Holmes 46), Shaw (Trialist), Trialist (Rowley 70), McKay (Amantchi 46), Mandeville (Rawson 46). Staveley: Wright, Slack, Dudley, Finlaw, Cheeseman, Lund, Lindley, James, Pugh, Poole, Williams. Subs: Burke, Jones, Parkin, Davies, Oglesby, Munday, Barnett.