Chesterfield end pre-season with 100 per cent record after win at Boston United as Kabongo Tshimanga returns after serious injury

Chesterfield finished their pre-season campaign with a 100 per cent record after deservedly beating Boston United 2-0 as Kabongo Tshimanga made his return.

By Liam Norcliffe
Friday, 29th July 2022, 10:50 pm

Jamie Grimes scored a volleyed near-post opener from a Jeff King corner early in the second-half and summer signing Michael Gyasi doubled the lead at the Jakemans Community Stadium on Friday night to make it five from five for the Spireites.

But the biggest cheer of the evening came when Tshimanga came on for the last couple of minutes, his first appearance since February after that horrible injury at Weymouth.

Town could, and should, have won by a far bigger margin in their final audition before the real stuff starts at Dorking Wanderers next Saturday but they won’t lose any sleep over that.

Chesterfield finished their pre-season at Boston United on Friday night.

Paul Cook’s men look in tip-top shape and played some more entertaining football in Lincolnshire, building on that impressive victory against Bradford City last time out.

In an unusual move for pre-season, Cook named the same starting line-up for the third successive match. Cook is big on repetition and clearly sees this approach as the best way to hit the ground running next week at Dorking for the season opener.

The main headline from the team news was that Tshimanga was named among the substitutes for the first time this pre-season after being out injured since February.

Interestingly, experienced midfielder Mike Jones was listed under his own name on the official team-sheet rather than as a trialist, which perhaps suggests an announcement is close.

New signing Jesurun Uchegbulum came on in the second-half after his arrival was officially confirmed earlier in the day, and there was also a place in the squad for a young goalkeeper known as ‘Trialist A.’

After an even first 10 minutes, Chesterfield controlled the remainder of the first-half and created a number of good openings with some quick, slick play.

Akwasi Asante came close twice but was denied both times by excellent saves by Rhys Davies, denying the striker one-on-one and then later scrambling across his line to somehow keep out a low finish.

King crashed a long-range free-kick against the crossbar, while Asante, Armando Dobra and Joe Quigley all had shots from inside the area blocked.

There were plenty of intricate, eye-catching passages of play with Darren Oldaker at the heart of most good things, while Ollie Banks occasionally dropped into a quarter-back position to launch attacks.

It was one-way traffic for large parts, but the hosts hung on until the break.

The second-half started in the same way the first 45 ended with Chesterfield in the ascendency, Liam Mandeville smacking a half-volley from 18 yards against the bottom of the post.

But the visitors did not have to wait long to find a deserved opener as Grimes guided a volley past Davies from King’s near post corner after 55 minutes.

Boston, last season’s National League North defeated play-off finalists, kept plugging away but Lucas Covolan was rarely troubled.

The last 15 minutes saw Cook give run-outs to George Cooper and Gyasi, the latter doubling the lead from close-range after Banks’ powerful shot was saved by Davies.

Fellow substitute Cooper almost added a third, twice going close in the final few minutes.

Tshimanga got the biggest cheer of the night from the travelling 200 plus Spireites, who will have enjoyed seeing their top marksman back on the field.

The final audition is over and now it is onto the real stuff at Dorking next Saturday.