A magnificent strike from Gary Roberts saw Chesterfield come from behind against Nottingham Forest at the Proact Stadium on Tuesday night.
Matt Derbyshire had given the visitors a first half lead but failed to double their advantage and the Spireites deservedly drew level on 79 minutes.
Paul Cook’s side looked energetic and more than matched their Championship opponents to maintain their unbeaten run through pre-season.
Ritchie Humphreys, who agreed a one year deal with Chesterfield on Monday, slotted in at left back as Matty Brown partnered Liam Cooper at the heart of defence. Fellow trialists Jamie Devitt and Hendrick Cakin were also rewarded with starts, while five further names were listed on the Spireites’ bench.
In a bright start to the match, the visitors shaded possession the opening exchanges and looked confident on the ball with Andy Reid and Henri Lansbury both lively.
Sam Morsy, often the driving force in the previous friendlies, engineered a crisp move from the centre of the park which saw Jimmy Ryan and Sam Togwell involved. Ryan laid the ball off for Morsy, who rather than striking the ball with his left foot opted to try and curl one with the outside of his right boot, which Forest keeper Dorus De Vries was equal to.
It was Chesterfield, however, who were creating most of the earlier chances with Humphreys blasting a volley high over the bar from an angle after he was picked out at the back post by Drew Talbot.
The hosts could count themselves unlucky when Forest took the lead through Derbyshire’s strike on 17 minutes. The visitors countered well, and when Andy Reid found space midway through the Chesterfield half, he fed an inch-perfect ball for the frontman to lift over the legs of the onrushing Tommy Lee and into the corner of the net.
Forest almost doubled their lead moments later when former Sheffield United man Greg Halford struck a powerful shot that whistled past Lee’s right hand post.
In an end to end first half, Devitt unleashed a swerving long range effort that almost deceived De Vries but the Forest keeper just about managed to punch the ball to safety.
A neat interchange on the edge of the area between Morsy and Eoin Doyle almost created an opening though the Forest defence shut the door on the former before as he prepared to take aim.
Togwell lifted one just over the bar at full stretch from Talbot’s lay off while Paterson curled one just wide of Lee’s left hand post after cutting in from the left as the first half drew to a close.
Sam Hird replaced Brown at centre half, Jay O’Shea, Tendayi Darikwa, Gary Roberts and Marc Richards replaced Togwell, Devitt, Cakin and Doyle at the interval.
O’Shea was presented with a glorious opportunity five minutes into the second half when Richards fed the ball through to the striker who was denied by a smart save from De Vries diving low to his right.
Richards wasted an equally good chance moments later when he rose unchallenged at the back post to meet Humphreys cross, but the striker couldn’t keep his header down.
Then came not one but two opportunities for Forest to double their lead.
Marcus Tudgay saw his lofted effort cleared off the line by Cooper but the danger wasn’t over and Hird had to be on his toes to prevent Derbyshire’s follow up.
The visitors then made a wave of changes which saw Darius Henderson, Stephen McLaughlin, Jonathan Greening, Dexter Blackstock, Radi Majewski and Adlene Guedioura enter the action in place of Moussi, Reid, Lansbury, Paterson, Tudgay and Derbyshire.
But it was one of Chesterfield’s substitutes Armand Gnanduillet who was causing the Forest defence problems and would have been disappointed not to have found the net with a free header with the goal at his mercy.
The volume of substitutions, inevitably, disrupted the flow of the game but it was the hosts who looked the most threatening in the later stages and deservedly equalised through Roberts’ wonder strike ten minutes from time.
Chesterfield: Lee (Chapman 88); Talbot (Gnanduillet 61), Brown (Hird 45), Cooper (Broadhead 88), Humphreys (Davidsen 88); Togwell (O’Shea 45), Morsy (Bencherif 61), Devitt (Darikwa 45), Ryan (Hewitt 88), Cakin (Roberts 45); Doyle (Richards 45)
Forest: De Vries; Lichaj (Harding 71), Halford, Collins, Cohen; Paterson (Guedioura 65), Lansbury (Majewski 65), Moussi (Greening 65), Reid (McLaughlin 65); Tudgay (Henderson 65), Derbyshire (Blackstock 65)
Goals: Roberts 79; Derbyshire 17.
Referee: Mr Craig Pawson.