Chesterfield give strong account of themselves against Sheffield Wednesday in Drew Talbot testimonial - report

Chesterfield took the lead against Sheffield Wednesday in Drew Talbot's testimonial. Picture: Tina Jenner.Chesterfield took the lead against Sheffield Wednesday in Drew Talbot's testimonial. Picture: Tina Jenner.
Chesterfield took the lead against Sheffield Wednesday in Drew Talbot's testimonial. Picture: Tina Jenner.
Chesterfield gave a good account of themselves against Championship Sheffield Wednesday but lost 2-1 in Drew Talbot’s testimonial.

The Spireites took the lead on 36 minutes, Jeff King was credited with it, but it looked to be an own goal.

The visitors equalised immediately after half-time when Lee Gregory met Dominic Iorfa’s cross on the volley at the near post.

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The Blues more than held their own throughout the contest and had the better chances but Gregory won it at the death with a close-range volley.

But Town could be proud of their efforts and the starting line-up got 70 important minutes in the tank.

And it was an enjoyable night to celebrate the career of legend Talbot, with a crowd of more than 9,000 turning out to honour him.

Talbot was interviewed pitchside before kick-off in which he said he ‘cherished’ his time at both the Owls and the Spireites and thanked the fans for always supporting him.

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The popular figure won promotion with Wednesday as a teenager, scoring in the League One play-off final against Hartlepool United in 2005.

He went on to represent Chesterfield more than 300 times, winning the League Two title twice in 2011 and 2014 and the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy in 2011.

The striker-turned-full-back was forced to retire in July 2019 due to a knee injury.

In the opening stages Wednesday, who named a strong starting line-up, had more possession but failed to create any chances of note.

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There were a few heavy passes from both sets of players, the first 30 minutes being a typical pre-season friendly, with little goal-mouth action. Apart from a Ryan Colclough header from a tight angle, and an attempted lob from the Owls’ Michael Smith from about 35 yards, there had not been a lot of excitement.

But Chesterfield grew into the half and finished it stronger, taking the lead on 36 minutes when Liam Mandeville’s perfectly-weighted pass slipped in King down the right channel and his low cross appeared to be turned in by a Wednesday man.

The visitors almost responded soon after when Jamies Grimes misjudged a header but Smith dragged his shot wide.

But Town upped the tempo for the rest of the half and Tom Naylor almost glanced in King’s free-kick delivery but goalkeeper Cameron Dawson made an instinctive block.

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Chesterfield appeared to grow in confidence, and threatened a second, but their lead was slender one at the break.

New Owls boss Xisco Munoz made some changes at half-time and one of those, Gregory, volleyed in at the near-post after an impressive surging run from Iorfa.

After a quiet period, the game burst into life again on the hour as Dawson made two stunning saves from Bailey Clements and then Naylor.

Wednesday brought on several academy prospects for the last 30 minutes and Chesterfield made 10 changes of their own for the final 20 minutes, goalkeeper Harry Tyrer the only one not to be subbed.

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Both teams went for the win in the latter stages, Chesterfield’s Jesurun Uchegbulam having a dangerous shot blocked, and later hitting the crossbar with a header.

With the match edging towards a draw, Gregory pinched the win for the Owls with a close-range volley.

For Chesterfield, it is their first defeat of pre-season but there were plenty of positives. They face Premier League Sheffield United next up on Saturday.

Chesterfield XI (4-2-3-1) Tyrer; King (Sheckleford, 68), Palmer (Williams, 68), Grimes (Maguire, 68), Clements (Horton, 68); Naylor (Jones, 68), Banks (Oldaker, 68); Mandeville (Curtis, 68), Dobra (Hobson, 68) Colclough (Uchegbulam, 68); Grigg (Quigley, 68)