Read via the Chesterfield Post
Dean Saunders’ first game in charge at the Proact Stadium ended in a 3-1 friendly defeat to Hull City amid reports of Tendayi Darikwa handing in a written transfer request.
The Spireites took an early lead through Ian Evatt before Harry Maguire levelled for the visitors, with second half goals from Andrew Robertson and Calaum Jahraldo-Martin sealing Steve Bruce’s side victory.
A strong Chesterfield first half performance was overshadowed immediately after the full time whistle when reports surfaced claiming that Darikwa had submitted in a written request to leave the club.
Saunders confirmed that Darikwa has been the subject of bids that have fallen short of Chesterfield’s valuation of last season’s player of the year, with Preston North End reportedly interested in the services of the 23-year-old.
The news came hours after goalkeeper Tommy Lee agreed a two-year extension to the year left on his current contract to stay with the club.
Saunders named a full strength side to start the game, with Lee making a second appearance in the pre season schedule after completing 60 minutes against Portuguese second division side SC Olhanense.
In front of Lee, big-name summer signing Sylvan Ebanks-Blake made his debut at the Proact as the pair lined up together almost a decade after serving simultaneous apprenticeships at Manchester United.
Ollie Banks partnered Sam Morsy in the heart of Chesterfield’s midfield, as Saunders continues to ponder the options already available for a replacement for Jimmy Ryan.
There was no place in the squad for Drew Talbot who continues his rehabilitation from injury.
The Spireites started brightly against a full strength Hull side boasting internationals including Michael Dawson, Robbie Brady and Nikica Jelavic.
Ebanks-Blake was soon involved when he capitalised on a poorly weighted pass by Curtis Davis in the right back position but his shot from an acute angle was gathered comfortably by ‘keeper Allan McGregor.
Chesterfield’s high tempo continued and were soon to cause the visitors further problems with Jay O’Shea catching McGregor off his line which forced the stopper into a last ditch glance over the bar.
Hull struggled to cope with the Spireite’s speed on the break and on 18 minutes a short corner found Darikwa, his subsequent cross landed on the unmarked head of Ian Evatt whose powerful effort found the far corner.
Chesterfield 1-0 Hull City (Evatt, 18’)
Ex-Blade Harry Maguire lined up in the Tigers’ midfield alongside David Meyler and the duo were put through their paces up against an impressive Banks and Morsy, who once again captained the side.
Dan Garder demonstrated his ability down Chesterfield’s left flank throughout the first half and provided Ebanks-Blake with several crosses as he looks to stake a claim to replace Gary Roberts’ as first choice winger.
For all of Chesterfield’s dominance, Evatt’s header was matched on 36 minutes when Maguire leapt to meet a corner and level for the visitors.
Chesterfield 1-1 Hull City (Maguire, 36’)
Hull reappeared for the second half having made three changes and soon found more of a foothold in the game.
Substitute Matty Dixon tested Lee shortly after the interval with a low drive before the Blues were caught short at the back after losing possession and left back Robertson capitalised on the break with a shot across the face of goal that found the bottom corner.
Chesterfield 1-2 Hull City (Robertson, 50’)
Meyler found himself in a similar position for the visitors but could not convert just before the hour mark, as both sides began to make further changes.
Chesterfield’s new no.9 Ebanks-Blake departed to be replaced by Armand Gnanduillet, who will wear no.17 for the coming season.
Latest signings Jake Orrell, a 17-year-old striker formerly of Gateshead, and Dion Donohue, a 21-year-old welsh midfielder who was formerly on Everton’s books but has more recently played for welsh side Caernarfon Town and Sutton Coldfield Town, came on while former Spiretie Conor Townsend played in the latter stages for Hull.
Antiguan international Jahraldo-Martin secured the win for Bruce’s side with 15 minutes to play as Lee rushed off his line to collect a loose ball but was beaten to it, allowing the former Tranmere loanee to finish into the open net.
Chesterfield 1-3 Hull City (Jahraldo-Martin,74’)
After the match Spireite Boss Saunders was pleased with his side’s first half performance, saying: ‘I thought we played really well in the first half, we scored a great goal and obviously we organised the game knowing that we were playing against a good team of Premier League players.
‘In the second half they got on top of us and changed the way they played a little bit and took the ball off us a couple of times. The goals were mistakes and they had other chances as well but I was pleased with some of the patches of play we had.
Despite the pleasing start, Saunders noted that there is still room for improvement in his side’s play, he added: ‘The way we play we use the full width of the pitch and we try and keep the ball. If you give the ball away then obviously our two centre backs are a little bit isolated. We can’t be giving the ball away in dangerous areas but we did for a couple of their goals, both the full backs were then caught out of position and we have to work on it.
‘Sometimes you’re better off seeing these things now and you can put them right and that’s why we have lots of pre season games.’
Chesterfield continue their pre season preparations with Sean Dyche’s Burnley travelling to the Proact on Saturday before games against Ilkeston, Sheffield Wednesday behind closed doors and a trip to Hartlepool conclude the Spireites’ preparations for the season opener against Barnsley on August 8th.
Jones (Harrison 89′), Hird (Orrell 75′), Evatt, Darikwa;
Gardner (Ariyibi 68′), Morsy (c), Banks (Donohue 78′), O’Shea (Raglan 57′);
Clucas, Ebanks-Blake (Gnanduillet 68′)
Subs not used: Humphreys, Cairns (gk), Onovwigun, Orrell, Dieseruvwe, Simons
McGregor (Jakupovic 46′), Bruce (Dixon 46′), Davies (Chester 46′), Meyler (Clark 79′), Brady (Jahraldo-Martin 66′), Maguire, Jelavic (N’Doye 62′), Dawson (c), Aluko (Hernandez, Robertson (Townsend 79′), Elmohamady (Lenihan 78′)