The big talking points from Chesterfield's pre-season win against Matlock Town
Chesterfield secured their first win of pre-season with an entertaining 3-1 victory against Matlock Town.
Danny Rowe and Nathan Tyson scored two impressive goals to add to Liam Mandeville’s early opener which was cancelled out by a well-taken free-kick by Alex Byrne.
Overall it was another good workout for the Blues in hot and humid conditions in front of 1,614 fans at the Proctor Cars Stadium on Wednesday night.
Just like Alfreton, this game ticked all the boxes with Matlock, who had won all four of their previous friendly matches including against Mansfield, providing a decent test.
Before kick-off a minute’s applause was held for Spireites legend Ernie Moss with members of his family watching on in what was an emotional moment for all.
The Blues are now heading off for a training camp at Loughborough University before returning for two home friendlies against League Two sides Bradford City and Port Vale.
At least three of the four goals scored in this match were worthy of a bigger occasion.
Chesterfield got off to a perfect start when Stefan Payne found some space about 25 yards out and slipped Mandeville in on goal who stroked the ball across Matlock goalkeeper Shaun Rowley into the far corner after just three minutes. The angle was against him but Mandeville’s finish was accurate, a sign of his confidence after finishing last season strongly.
Matlock levelled seven minutes before half-time with a nice free-kick from Byrne which was right in the corner.
But the Spireites went into the break in the lead when Payne claimed his second assist of the night, holding the ball up on the edge of Matlock’s box before laying the ball to Rowe who struck the ball like an arrow into the net, clipping the underside of the bar on its way in. Rowe does not seem to score bad goals and when he hits them, they stay hit!
Another fine goal rounded off the night. Saidou Khan carried the ball at pace from his own half, skipped by one man before playing the ball into the path of Nathan Tyson who powered it home from 18 yards, the underside of the crossbar assisting again. This is Tyson’s 22nd pre-season, what a pro.
For the second consecutive game summer signing Jamie Grimes impressed and he played the full 90 minutes again just as he did at Alfreton.
His physique suggests he has been working extremely hard in the off-season and is reaping the rewards now.
Interestingly, he started on the right of a back three along with fellow left-footers Gavin Gunning and Laurence Maguire. As we know, boss James Rowe likes his centre-backs to step out with the ball so whether Grimes is comfortable doing that remains to be seen. But certainly defensively he looks like he would be up for the challenge.
Manny Oyeleke, making his first appearance of pre-season, showed some classy touches and played some excellent passes which brought applause and cheers from those in attendance.
Alex Whittle looked like he had got the bit between his teeth and took up some unorthodox and advanced positions, almost playing as an inside ‘number 10’ at times.
Khan was bright when he came on and his lung-busting run created the third for Tyson.
It was a successful night for Chesterfield’s strikers with Rowe and Tyson finding the net and Payne assisting two.
Rowe and Payne started together for the first time and they showed some early signs of a partnership forming.
One encouraging moment came in the first-half when Rowe dummied the ball for Payne who let the ball run across his body before testing home stopper Rowley.
It was only a minor action in the game but I really liked it when Payne tracked a runner all the way back into his own box to make a headed clearance to cover for Whittle. It was great work-rate and discipline, especially for a friendly.
It is early days but I think Rowe and Payne will be the front two come the season opener on August 21.
Three more trialists were given a chance to show what they can do and, if I am not mistaken, they were different to those who played at Alfreton.
Once again the Spireites had a look at a goalkeeper in the second-half, with a central midfielder and an attacking midfielder also coming on.
The central midfielder was the pick of the bunch and he later showed his versatility when he reverted to right centre-back, a position Town need some cover so that could work in his favour.
George Carline, Fraser Kerr and Jack Clarke are the only ones not to play any part in pre-season due to injury and illness espectively.
Curtis Weston, another of those being carefully managed due to an Achilles problem, did not feature here but did play against Alfreton.
ERNIE, ERNIE, ERNIE!
It was an emotional night for the Moss family as tributes were paid to legendary Ernie before kick-off.
There was a minute’s applause and chants of ‘Ernie, Ernie, Ernie’ from the stands which warmed the heart.
The legendary goalscorer would have enjoyed this game and the goals scored, although it was lacking an Ernie-esque header to round off proceedings.
(3-5-2): Loach (Triallist 46); Grimes, Gunning (Triallist 72), Maguire; King (Rowley 58), Oyeleke, McCourt (Khan 55), Mandeville (Triallist 55), Whittle (Miller 46); Rowe (Tyson 46), Payne (Denton 58).