Match Report: Chesterfield 1 Sheffield Wednesday 1

Maguire lets fly to equalise for the Owls late on
Maguire lets fly to equalise for the Owls late on

What QPR coach Joe Jordan made of Wednesday when he scouted for Harry Redknapp on Saturday is anybody’s guess.

What is certain is that the Owls have kept the Loftus Road management guessing about their line-up for this weekend.

Dave Jones is fulfilling his forecast that the sides that played again Glasgow Rangers last week and at Chesterfield at the weekend would not be the same as the one that will kick off the Championship campaign. Several members of the team that played in a 1-1 draw at the Proact Stadium are unlikely to be in a full-strength line-up.

Michail Antonio and Jeremy Helan, for example, were rested, and once again injuries kept Lewis Buxton, Reda Johnson and Jacques Maghoma out.

One of boss Jones’ jobs this week is to check on who will be available for the QPR game - and for him the most important factor from last Saturday’s is that no further significant injuries were picked up.

He is also satisfied that the members of his squad have had as much game time as possible.

Much of Saturday’s match was forgettable and primarily a fitness workout - like most friendlies.

Atdhe Nuhiu, a tall, slim target man, made a reasonable start to his Owls career, though he looked a bit short of full match fitness.

He showed, with an early shot into the side-netting, that he possesses a powerful left-foot strike. At 6ft 6in, he inevitably wins some headers, whether they be flick-ons or attempts at goal. One half-chance he misdirected over the bar; a better opportunity was well saved by Tommy Lee.

He took up some good positions, and he can lay the ball off. Not everything he tried came off, but the main objective was simply for to get some game time.

Jones said: “He did all right. There’s a lot to work on. If some of our crossing had been better, he’d have had a better debut., But he what we wanted him to do, which was to get through an hour.

“He came in on Friday - we’ve put a kit on him and kicked him

out on to the pitch. He gets to know his teammates, and now he has a week to work with us. We’ll look at his fitness levels and see how he goes.”

It was also a speclal day for academy product Charlie Dawes, from Chesterfield, who made his debut on the left side of midfield as a 66th-minute replacement for Paul Corry and did not look out of place.

It was an unusual starting line-up, with Corry on the left side of midfield instead of in the centre, and Chris Maguire on the right flank rather than up front, where Jermaine Johnson partnered Nuhiu. After JJ was taken off, youngster Caolan Lavery got another run-out. Jones acknowleged: “We made lots of changes from the game against Rangers; Some of the midfield players who had not played a lot had a go at it; we had a look at the youngsters, threw Charlie Dawes in the deep end - he’s been doing well with the kids,

“Caolan Lavery has been doing well as well, so why not give them a run?”

Liam Palmer, who looks set to keep Buxton’’s right-back place if the latter is not fit for the start of the season, looked quick and strong going forward.

A Palmer pass made a chance that Corry struck at the keeper, and the Owls were cohesive before Gary Roberts - an Owls target when Gary Megson was manager - delivered a quality ball and big Hamza Bencherif scored with a simple downward header in the 29th minute.

Jones said: “We gave a sloppy ball away. They could also have made it 2-0 near the death through a bit of sloppiness from us. But we went straight up the other and got the equaliser with a good strike by Chris.”

Maguire’s goal in the last minute came after Spireites sub Armand Gnanduillet was clean through but took far too strong a touch and knocked the ball towards the arms of Chris Kirkland.

Corry earlier glanced a header wide from a Johnson cross, and Chesterfield sub Eoin Doyle missed with a second-half header.

In general, Wednesday lacked a cuttting edge - until Maguire struck in the last minute.

He neatly made half a yard of space for himself, a good 25 yards out, and let fly a powerful effort that flew into the net off Lee’s right-hand post..

Jones said: “For the first 25 minutes we looked really good going forward. We allowed them back into it. Pre-season doesn’t mean anything, It’s all about making sure players get game time, and we’ve just been looking at different things.”

SPIREITES: Lee, Talbot, Edwards (Brown 70), Hird, Humphreys, Darikwa (Gnanduillet 87), Togwell, Ryan (Thomas 83), Bencherif (Devitt ht), Roberts, Richards (Doyle 61). Unused subs: Chapman, Smith.

OWLS: Kirkland, Palmer, Llera, Gardner, Floro, Maguire, Semedo (McCabe 76), Coke (Lavery 74), Corry (Dawes 66), J Johnson (Prutton 73), Nuhiu (Madine 66). Unused subs: Davies, Dawson, Taylor, Zayatte.

Goals: Bencherif (29), Maguire (90).

Referee: Andy Madley (W Yorks).

Attendance: 5,491.