A late goal was too little, too late as the Spireites went down to a 2-1 defeat at Wrexham.
Wrexham took the lead in the second minute but the match was decided at the end of the first half after Paul McCallum failed to connect with a golden opening.
Wrexham breathed a sigh of relief and broke swiftly to add to their tally and go into the interval with a two-goal lead.
This was always going to be a difficult fixture but, since the game’s original date last December, the points gap between the two sides has widened significantly.
The two sides have competed against each other for over a century; historically Chesterfield hold the upper hand and, earlier this season, the Spireites thoroughly deserved their 2-0 win at the Technique but the momentum has swung the other way and Chesterfield knew they were going to have to find that early-season form if they were to cause a major upset at The Racecourse.
Defeat against Oldham at the weekend stretched the Spireites’ winless run to eight games but the result bore no relation to the performance. The challenge, for most of those games, has been to turn domination into goals.
Paul Cook chose to keep the same starting XI but Ryheem Scheckleford took over from Danny Rowe on the bench.
The night was clear and crisp as the two teams emerged into a cauldron of noise that couldn’t fail to inspire.
The home side gained a free kick 20 yards out in the second minute; the Spireites cleared well only for Ben Tozer to launch his trademark long throw into the box that, this time, didn’t find a taker.
It didn’t take the Red Dragons long to break the deadlock. From a free kick out wide Paul Mullin laid off the perfect ball for Elliot Lee to power home into the top right from just outside the area.
Moments later it could have been two, instead the unmarked Luke Young headed wide from a well-placed free-kick.
Chesterfield looked to play forward and gained their first corner after a strong deflection; the kick failed to connect with a blue shirt.
A period of Spireites possession followed without creating an opening of note, sadly several misplaced passes ended the threat.
An injury to Wrexham’s Jordan Tunnicliffe gave both teams time for a team talk; it seemed to galvanise the home side as Mullin broke free and had just the keeper to beat – Ross Fitzsimons narrowed the angle well and claimed cleanly.
Chesterfield’s best move came with just over ten minutes to the interval; a strong run from Darren Oldaker saw him release to Ryan Colclough, wide left. He controlled well and drilled in from just outside the area; sadly the lurking McCallum just failed to connect.
Incredibly the same three players were involved in a replica move five minutes later and, again, McCallum failed to pull the trigger.
The Spireites were quickly made to pay for the miss when, in added time, Sam Dalby picked up a through ball, wide right; the ball seemed glued to his feet as he jinked his way around the Spireites defence before poking home from a tight angle just five yards from goal.
The half-time whistle was a welcome respite from the waves of Wrexham pressure and the late goal made the second half challenge so much harder.
Lee hit wide of the left upright in the first attack of the second period after a Chesterfield clearance fell to his feet.
Dalby looked to add to his tally in the next move but his hit from the edge of the ‘D’ flew straight into the arms of Fitzsimons.
Liam Mandeville managed an angled effort from just outside the area but home keeper, Rob Lainton claimed safely.
The Spireites went so close just before the hour-mark. A great through ball from King found Mandeviile who burst strongly down the right and floated over a gem of a ball that Colclough literally threw himself at. Lainton produced an incredible save to tip to safety via the woodwork.
King followed up and looked to be taken out before he could connect. A good penalty shout that the referee sadly showed only disinterest for.
Mullin tore through on goal from the right, cut in and hit wide from the edge of the six yard box.
Cook made a double substitution as Tim Akinola and Jez Uchegbulam replaced Oldaker and Mandeville.
The Spireites had enjoyed much more possession in the second period but, the Colclough effort apart, had failed to cause many problems for the home defence.
Wrexham looked happy to see the game out without over reaching themselves and did enough to stifle any new impetus the Chesterfield changes may have brought.
Scott Tallis awarded six minutes additional time and Lee almost capitalised but his his powerful blast from the edge of the six-yard box could only clatter the crossbar.
With a minute remaining Colclough hit coolly home with an angled shot into Lainton’s left corner. Sadly, it was too late to cause concern to the home side who saw out the remaining time with ease.
Chesterfield: Fitzsimons, Grimes ©, Mandeville (Uchegbulam 73), Colclough, Williams, McCallum, King, Oldaker (Akinola 73), Banks, Clements, Jones (Quigley)
Unused subs: Maguire, Scheckleford
Referee: Scott Tallis