Four talking points as Chesterfield lose to Alfreton Town in pre-season friendly
Tom Denton scored on his first appearance in six months as Chesterfield slipped to a late 3-2 defeat against Alfreton Town in their first pre-season friendly.
The entertaining and competitive match swung both ways and back again with the hosts winning it in the 90th minute in sweltering heat at the Impact Arena.
Matt Rhead’s penalty, scored against the run of play on 25 minutes, had the National League North side ahead at the break.
The Spireites equalised eight minutes into the second-half when one of Chesterfield’s four trialists on the day, a striker, blocked a clearance by goalkeeper Teddy Unwin-Marris and the ball flew in.
Denton marked his return from injury with a trademark header from Jak McCourt’s corner to put the visitors in the lead with 20 minutes remaining but the Reds equalised almost instantly from Michael Williams’ long-range strike before Shaun Tuton notched a late winner.
This match will stand Chesterfield in good stead for the rest of pre-season as most players got at least 45 minutes under their belts in the baking heat.
It was understandable that Alfreton, with two friendly matches already in the bag before this one, finished the stronger as the Blues tired.
The Spireites had the better of the opening 20 minutes but fell behind when new man Saidou Khan kicked Elliott Reeves into the air. Former Mansfield Town striker Rhead tucked the resulting penalty away, which went down well with the away fans behind the goal as you can imagine.
Then came the bizarre equaliser as Chesterfield’s striker trialist left the home stopper more red-faced than some of the sun-burnt supporters behind his net.
We might not have known the name of the man who got Chesterfield’s leveller but the next goal came from someone well-known to both sides as Denton headed in from 12 yards.
Williams and then Tuton turned the scoreline around, but overall it was good run-out for the Blues.
A goalkeeper, two right-sided centre-backs and a striker were given their opportunity to impress.
All four looked young and did not look familiar to any of us in the press box.
It was difficult to properly judge any of them but the striker made the biggest impression, netting the equaliser and looking lively in general. It was a shame he had to go off with a knock.
What we can take away from their outings is that a goalkeeper, another centre-back and a striker are on James Rowe’s wish-list.
As well as the trialists, six out of the seven new signings made their debuts.
For me, Jamie Grimes was probably the stand-out performer of the new boys. He was comfortable on the ball and played some excellent diagonal passes out to fellow new signing Jeff King on the right flank.
King himself also made a positive impression, his pace and ability to go on the outside or cut in on his left caused the hosts problems.
Stefan Payne looked a threat and it was encouraging to see him get on the end of some chances.
The final word must go to the big man.
As well as his goal, he also headed clear three of Alfreton’s corners, perhaps sending a reminder to manager Rowe, not that he needed one, of his qualities.