Chesterfield survive late drama to beat 10-man Wolves U23s in near empty Proact
Chesterfield began life in the much maligned EFL Trophy with a narrow 2-1 win over a 10-man Wolves U23 side.
The group game was watched by fewer than 1,000 at the Proact as Danny Wilson made six changes frm the side who lost to Millwall.
One of those looking on was Barnsley chairman Maurice Watkins, following up the Tykes’ interest in winger Gboly Ariyibi.
The young American, wanted by several Championship clubs, had little impact on the game however, Jon Nolan the most impressive player for the hosts.
Sylvan Ebanks-Blake, starting for the first time this season, was close to opening the scoring inside the second minute, getting on the end of Dan Gardner’s cross and heading wide.
The visitors had the ball in the net first, debutant keeper Lloyd Allinson saving brilliantly from Connor Ronan before Nouha Dicko stuck home the rebound before being flagged offside.
Midway through the half Chesterfield took the lead - Nolan’s corner headed down by Ian Evatt for Ebanks-Blake to prod home.
The Spireites were gifted a further advantage by Wolves defender Ethan Ebanks-Landell who went flying into a wild challenge on Nolan, missing the ball entirely and earning a straight red card.
Chesterfield went straight on the attack after the break, Nolan sending another free-kick in Evatt’s direction, the big centre-half powering a header over.
Gardner, switched to the right so that Ariyibi’s half time replacement Derek Daly could play wide left, linked up with Rai Simons and he found Ebanks-Blake, the striker blazing high.
A Liam Graham cross also found Ebanks-Blake in the box, the striker flicking the ball up with his first touch and sending it over the bar again with his second.
The 10 men levelled it up with a beautiful strike from Christian Herc, the midfielder sending a 25-yard effort flashing past Allinson into the net.
Danny Wilson’s side retook the lead almost instantly however, Nolan crossing to substitute Kristian Dennis who, via a slight deflection, found the roof of the net from the edge of the area.
There was late drama, Aaron Collins winning a spot-kick and slamming it agains the post, Chesterfield holding on for three points.
Chesterfield: Allinson, Graham, Donohue, Evatt, Raglan, Ariyibi (Daly 46), Gardner, Nolan (Maguire 80), Dimaio, Simons (Dennis 61), Ebanks-Blake. Subs: Fulton, Beesley, German, Ofoegbu.
Wolverhampton Wanderers XI: Flatt, Simpson, O’Hanlon, Ebanks-Landell, Johnson, Gibbs-White (Hayden 31), Randall, Herc, Ronan, Enobakhare (Collins 82), Dicko (Wilson 65). Subs: Odoffin, Burgoyne, Leak, McKenna
Referee: Mr Sebastian Stocksbridge.
Assistant referees: Mr Darren Strain, Mr Barry Cropp.
Goalscorers: Ebanks-Blake 24, Dennis 76; Herc 74
Yellows: Donohue 45; Johnson 90
Red: Ebanks-Landell 29
Attendance: 951 (120 away)