Pre-season report: Chesterfield FC 3 Aston Villa 1

Paul cook looking on
Paul cook looking on
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Chesterfield signed off their pre-season programme with their most convincing performance of the summer.

Goals from Tendayi Darikwa, Sam Hird and Sam Morsy gave the Spireites a 3-1 win over Aston Villa.

Jack Grealish got one back for the Premier League side, who were well beaten at the Proact Stadium.

The match build-up was overshadowed by the Spireites’ decision to reject a six-figure sum from Leeds United for the services of Liam Cooper.

Chesterfield, who played the Championship club last Saturday, said the initial offer failed to meet their valuation of the 22-year-old.

Spireites CEO Chris Turner, however, left the door open for Leeds to revise their offer for the former Hull City defender.

He said: “We have turned down an initial bid which was below our valuation of Liam and we now await a response from Leeds.”

Leeds responded by confirming they had had a second bid turned down, prompting the end of their interest in the player.

Cooper was left off the match day teamsheet but made his surprise entrance ten minutes in to the second half.

There was a place in the starting eleven for Romuald Boco, back training at the club, and Armand Gnanduillet in attack.

The Ivorian had clearly done enough during the second half against Leeds United to convince Cook he was worth persisting with.

And he continued his form against Villa, pressing the centre-backs and proving to be a menace throughout the first half.

Chesterfield got the perfect start their efforts deserved when Darikwa capitalised on Brad Guzan’s hesitancy to slot into the corner of the net from a tight angle.

Gary Roberts, so often the man the Spireites turned to last season, fed him the pass and could have had one himself as the hosts dominated the opening exchanges.

Playing just off Gnanduillet, Roberts was in a position where he has proven to be influential in and he was at it again against the Premier League side.

A combination of Morsy and Ritchie Humphreys failed to connect from close range and Gnanduillet forced a strong save from Guzan as the hosts continued to press.

Villa were slow out of the blocks but almost drew level when good work from Callum Robinson presented Daniel Johnson with a sight of goal he squandered.

Robinson, a product of Villa’s youth set up, found the back of the net moments later but had strayed slightly offside before Graham Burke crashed a shot against the cross bar.

Gnanduillet brought out the best in Guzan with a powerful header the Villa keeper got his finger tips to and, from the resulting corner kick, the Spireites doubled their lead. Hird at the back post got himself to Roberts’ in swinging flag kick on the stretch and angled the ball back across goal beyond Guzan.

Chesterfield resisted the urge to make any changes at the break, while the visitors made six and looked a completely different threat in the second half.

Charles N’Zogbia was central in the move which brought Villa back in to the contest when he broke and put the ball on a plate for Grealish to slide in.

Ian Evatt planted a header that whistled over the bar and Jimmy Ryan flashed an effort in to the side netting from a promising position inside the area.

Chesterfield had stemmed the Villa tide and went further ahead when substitute Eoin Doyle kept his nerve to set up Morsy to slot in to the top corner for his third in two games.

The Spireites’ attention now turns to the League One opener at Leyton Orient on August 9.

Spireites: Lee; Darikwa, Evatt (c) (Onovwigun 89), Hird (Gardner 71), Jones (McGuire 90); Ryan (Dawes 85), Morsy (Clark 86), Boco (Cooper 54), Roberts (Raglan 76), Humphreys (O’Shea 54); Gnanduillet (Doyle 71)

Subs not used: Wright, Daly, Morrison, Broadhead

Villa: Guzan; Lowton (Bacuna HT), Herd (Okore HT), Donacien, Bennett (Stevens HT); Gardner (El Ahmadi HT), Johnson, Carruthers, Burke (N’Zogbia HT), Tonev (Grealish HT), Robinson

Subs not used: Given

Referee: Andy Woolmer (Northamptonshire)

Attendance: 3,740 (996).