Pools’ final pre-season outing ended in defeat as a second half goal from Sam Morsy secured victory for Chesterfield at Victoria Park on Saturday.
There was no place for Trevor Carson in goal who was out with a heavily bruised toe, while Matthew Bates came in to play in a three-man central defence in place of Stuart Parnaby.
After a quiet opening to the game, Pools almost snatched the lead on five minutes after neat build-up play allowed Michael Woods to slip a ball through for Rakish Bingham but his shot was deflected wide.
Chesterfield began to come in to the game as an attacking force as the half drew on but Adam Bartlett was dealing confidently with any balls coming in to his penalty area to keep them at bay.
Pools could have stolen in front just prior to the half hour mark when Bingham wriggled across the edge of the area with the ball before teeing up Woods but his ferocious drive fizzed just the wrong side of the post.
Sylvan Ebanks-Blake did well to roll away from his defender inside the Pools box but Bartlett got down quickly and decisively to his right to deny the front man the opening goal.
Tenacious and skilful play from Woods bought some time for Nicky Featherstone on the halfway line who showed great vision to find Michael Duckworth on the right. The full-back drove in to the box and fired a powerful shot on goal which was saved by Tommy Lee and Billy Paynter volleyed the rebound just over.
Pools began the second half with purpose and Featherstone was getting forward to good effect; he saw a shot saved well by Lee after he profited from good link-up between Bingham and Paynter.
A great cross in from the right presented Ebanks-Blake with a chance to control on his chest before swivelling to shoot but Scott Harrison got across quickly to block the shot behind and Jay O’Shea headed over from the resultant corner.
There were fewer openings in a competitive second half but Carl Magnay spurned a great one to put Pools in front; Bingham ran in beyond the visitors defence to square the ball for the on-rushing midfielder but he screwed his shot well wide.
The Spireites responded by engineering their best chance of the half but after O’Shea made space in the area his shot was deflected just wide with Bartlett rooted to the spot.
With just over fifteen minutes remaining the visitors went in front with a great move; Ebanks-Blake with a classy back-heeled flick allowed Sam Morsy to burst beyond the Pools’ defence to finish past Bartlett and make it 1-0.
There was almost an immediate reply from Pools; Featherstone played a neat one-two with Woods and fizzed the ball low across the six-yard area but Paynter just couldn’t connect with it at the back post. The ball was rescued on the right by Duckworth and his wicked cross was met on the volley by Featherstone but Lee did well to claw it off the line and Chesterfield survived.
Substitute Brad Walker did his best to make something happen when he scampered after a looping ball forward but the defender did just enough to block his shot away from trouble.
The home fans afforded a good ovation for former star Ritchie Humphreys who came on for Chesterfield with five minutes left but there was nothing more substantial to cheer as the League One outfit held on for victory.
Full Time: Pools 0 Chesterfield 1
Pools: Bartlett, Duckworth, Harrison, Worley, Bates, Carroll, Magnay (Walker 84), Featherstone, Woods, Paynter (Oates 84), Bingham (Fenwick 84).
Subs not used: Denton, Nearney, Smith, Walker, Fenwick.
Chesterfield: Lee, Jones, Hird (Humphreys 84), Morsy, Evatt, Gardner, Ebanks-Blake (Harrison 79), O’Shea (Gnanduillet 78), Ariyibi (Dieseruvwe 78), Banks (Onovwigun 84), Talbot (Raglan 46).
Subs not used: Chapman, Simmons, Orrell, Cairns.
Attendance: 1,269 (54 Chesterfield)