Phil Tooley takes a look at the game and its context
Chesterfield 2 Bradford City 1 Pre-season Friendly #3
Two up inside six minutes against a League Two side was a sign of things to come from the Spireites for the rest of the first half.
The crowd were treated to some superb passing football, with Manny Oyeleke & Saidou Khan providing a masterclass in midfield and both strikers, Danny Rowe (from an uncharacteristic inch and three-quarters) and Stefan Payne (from a position that was at least 20 yards ON-side!), getting on the scoresheet. The only first-45 disappointments were that was the scoring done and Laurence Maguire had to be subbed.
Loz left the game with a touch of blurred vision, so safety first with the head injury protocols, let’s wish him a speedy recovery. He was replaced by a triallist, whom James Rowe named in his post-match interview as Jim Kellermann (nobody puts him in a corner – if you don’t get it, don’t worry). Kellermann, 25, a central midfielder by trade, was at Aldershot Town when JR was assistant manager there, and he played alongside Danny Rowe for AFC Fylde in a 0-0 draw at our place on October 6, 2018.
That was our granddaughter Pippa’s fourth birthday and her debut as mascot! He’s had spells at St Mirren and Kidderminster Harriers since then. Two tackles he made late on were terrific, the second one a goal-saver, whilst in an unaccustomed right centre back role.
The two second-half triallists were the striker who charged down the keeper’s kick to score at Alfreton Town and a first time for a Spireites keeper, who made one unbelievable save.
Whilst, for me, the two central midfielders stole the show, Calvin Miller down the left also performed in the same bracket whilst I’m thinking of claiming for an industrial injury, deafness, directly caused by Mad Gav’s non-stop, ear-drum damaging shouting. If you’ve bemoaned the lack of an on the pitch leader for many a year, bemoan no more!
City, winners of their previous five warm-up games, hit the metalwork a couple of times (be honest, posts & bars are rarely made of wood these days) and changed their entire XI at the break to freshen legs which, from a Spireites viewpoint, had almost certainly been wearied at the four-day camp at Loughborough University. Jamie Grimes continued his every-minute record, initially at right centre back before moving left after Maguire’s departure, whilst Jack Clarke put in his first playing shift, and he showed some characteristic neat touches and darts forward. He’ll no doubt continue his build-up at the weekend.
After City’s goal early in the second half, Chesterfield had plenty of defending to do and, for the most part, they did it pretty well, but the 45-90 minutes section of play didn’t manage to match the splendour of the opening half.
I’m not getting carried away at this stage, I’ve never been someone who reads too much into pre-season games, but I have to say, that first half display was as good as I’ve seen in any such match for a good while. Keep on purring like that, and who knows?
Phil’s Positive: Oyeleke & Khan, masterful midfielding!
The Spireites’ next game is on Saturday, July 31, KO 3pm, at home to Port Vale.
Team v Bradford City (3-5-2 to start): Loach (Triallist 74); Grimes, Gunning, Maguire (Kellermann 34); King, Oyeleke (Triallist 81), Khan, Clarke (Mandeville 46), Miller (Rowley 70); Rowe (Weston 55), Payne (Tyson 64).
Goals: Rowe 2, Payne 6 (Chesterfield), O’Connor 49 (Bradford)