Phil Tooley takes a look at the game and its context
Chesterfield 0 Guiseley 1 Pre-season friendly
As pre-seasons go, 2020’s will long be regarded as the most frustrating for some considerable time. Late and lacking in quantity due to the pandemic.
Guiseley are no slouches. Last season they finished ninth in the Conference North – higher than Alfreton Town – and they didn’t lose at all to any of the teams that finished in the top five. They featured four players with links to the Spireites; scorer Jonathan Wafula, Andy Kellett, Brad Nicholson and Hamza Bencherif.
Wafula, tied with Sam’s lad Craig Allardyce for the shortest Chesterfield senior playing career, both of their single first-team appearances came as 89th minute subs, had fluffed a great chance at 0-0 but made no mistake for his open goal, a tap in after Kaine Felix’s shot, coming after a defensive slip, had been tipped onto the post by keeper Dylan Wharton and the striker followed up.
Kellett, borrowed from Wigan by Gary Caldwell a couple of years after he had a loan spell at Manchester United, was calmness personified in midfield, with a touch and a pass that looked better than the level he’s at.
The Lions’ defence was marshalled well by Bencherif, a triallist under Paul Cook, and Nicholson, who was signed by Chesterfield from Handsworth Parramore but let go by Martin Allen six months later after ‘an internal process’. The pair helped keep Chesterfield’s strikers quiet for most of the afternoon and defended well as Spireites rattled half-a-dozen corners before Wafula’s goal.
Whilst Kyle Letheren was absent awaiting a Covid test result and Nathan Tyson restricted to a bit of running along the touchline, the rest of the squad were all present and all participated, Curtis Weston getting his first 45 minutes on the park.
Wharton made a save or two and a few decent punches, whilst fellow home grown players Laurence Maguire and Jamie Sharman were both subs and both again looked like first 11 candidates when they came on. To complete the local talent pool, Luke Rawson and Joe Rowley both showed glimpses they are improving, with Rowley in particular seeming to realise just how important this season is for him.
We now prepare for our first ever game against Wealdstone, who’veplayed ten pre-season games with a record of W4 D1 L5 F20 A17. They also lost 1-0 at home yesterday, to National League South team Slough Town.
Phil’s Positive: Nothing shouted out ‘positive’ but the intensity observed in the opening half-hour was a notch up from Alfreton last week, but the concession halted that.
Chesterfield’s next game is on Saturday, October 3 at Wealdstone FC’s Grosvenor Vale with a 3pm kick-off (probably!)
Team v Guiseley (3-5-2 to start): Wharton; Yarney (Sharman 76), Evans, Hollis (Maguire 69); Cropper (Hutchinson 71), Butterfield (Rowley 62), Smith, Mandeville (Weston 46), Buchanan; Boden (McKay 62); Rawson (Denton 46)
Goal: Guiseley: Wafula 32