Sam Morsy dedicated the game’s only goal to manager Dean Saunder after he helped Chesterfield beat Hartlepool 1-0.
The sought after central midfielder made a late run into the box and latched on to a Sylvan Ebanks-Blake back heel, took a couple of paces before slotting home from 12 yards. “The manager told me to make that run,” confirmed Spireites skipper, who played the full 90 minutes at Victoria Park, once again underlining his value to the team.
It was Chesterfield’s fifth win from six pre-season games, a habit the manager is happy with, though of the game he said: “It was a tough game, probably the toughest we’ve had; they’re a good side, well organised by Ronnie Moore.
“There was a bit of wind going down the pitch in the first half helping them and the grass was a little bit long and sticky so it was difficult for us to move the ball as quick as we’d have liked, it was difficult to thread a ball through their centre backs
“But we played some great football, had some great moves, not enough cutting edge in front of goal for me but we scored a good goal though they created too many chances for my liking.”
This was the first ever meeting between the two sides in a friendly match, no doubt the Proact presence of ex Hartlepool Manager and Sporting Director Chris Turner and Pools’ record appearance holder Ritchie Humphreys helped to set the game up.
Having lost Sam Clucas and Tendayi Darikwa to the Championship in the week, Drew Talbot slotted in at right back and played for 45 minutes; the plan was for him to only play 30.
Early play was very cagey as Ian Evatt, who was superb throughout, blocked Rakish Bingham before two Morsy efforts thwacked into Harry Worley, the first in his throat and the second in an even more painful place.
Dan Gardner and Gboly Ariyibi both just failed to make telling headers from a Talbot cross before the home keeper had to make his first save, a full stretch shot from Ebanks-Blake, who later forced a much better save after a good ball from Jay O’Shea.
The first half’s best chance fell to a man who played for Saunders at Doncaster Rovers, Billy Paynter, who blazed over the top from ten yards after Tommy Lee had parried busy wing back Michael Duckworth’s angled effort. “I shinned it,” said Paynter after the game.
The sides exchanged half chances before Morsy’s goal which was almost negated after a minute when Paynter just failed to get on the end of a Nicky Featherstone cross and the crosser himself then saw the ball put in and his effort brought about a superb on the line save from Lee.
There were no real scares at either end after that in what always looked a pre-season game.
Saunders concluded by saying: “We’ve lost four of last season’s starters now, more than I thought, so we’ve got a rebuilding job to do. Hopefully we’ll be able to do some business before the Barnsley game but the job has to be done before the end of August when the window shuts.”
Chesterfield (4-4-2): Lee, Talbot (Raglan HT), Evatt, Hird (Humphreys 83), Jones, Gardner, Morsy, Banks (Onovwigun 83), Ariyibi (Dieseruvwe 77), O’Shea (Gnanduillet 77), Ebanks-Blake (Harrison 78).
Goal: Morsy 75.
Hartlepool (3-5-2): Bartlett, Bates, Worley, Harrison, Duckworth, Magnay (Walker 83), Featherstone, Woods, Carroll Bingham (Oates 83), Paynter (Fenwick 83).
Ref: Nigel Miller (Durham).
Attendance: 1269 (54 from Chesterfield).