Chesterfield gave a start to new signing Adam Rundle for the visit of Lincoln City, while reverting to a back four, which caused Ian Breckin to be replaced by Derek Niven. Wade Small returned as far as the bench after a long lay-off, and was joined by the club's other recent recruit, Danny Boshell.
A minute's applause was made in tribute to the late Jimmy Smallwood, a servant to the club as player, coach, groundsman and social club steward for around 40 years.
Rundle showed his prowess on the left wing early on, winning a 2nd-minute corner that Green took. Rundle was on hand to fire the cleared cross narrowly wide of the goal from around 25 yards. Lincoln won a corner of their own on 11 but the opening exchanges didn't promise too much to warm the cold hands of the crowd.
The game burst to life on 18 when Downes cleverly brought the ball out of defence, past a couple of opponents and found Niven. His forcing run took the ball into the Lincoln half and he spread it out to Dominic Green. Green cut in and let go a powerful left-foot shot from around 25 yards that arrowed past Burch and into the net to give Chesterfield the lead.
Chris Herd went through Derek Niven on 30 to earn a booking. Lincoln looked to get back into the game with Gilmour's 36th-minute shot but Lee got down easily to gather. Chesterfield nearly extended their lead on 42 when Adam Rundle's left-wing cross/shot looked goalbound; it came to Green, who crossed back and Gritton came in at the back post, with two markers. The markers ended up in a heap in the net but the ball went agonisingly wide.
Halftime: Chesterfield 1 Lincoln City 0. Attendance: 3573 (395 from Lincoln.)
Barry Conlon came out for the second half despite apparently struggling with a knock for most of the first, and it was he that was credited with the goal that extended the home side's lead on 50. Rundle crossed from the left but it was cleared to Allott. He fed Green and the youngster laid the ball wide right, to Rob Page. The centre-half has a pretty deft touch for such occasions, and his cross was met by the head of Barry Conlon. He sent it goalwards but it clipped a Lincoln man and that prevented Moses Swaibu from doing nothing beyond helping the ball into his own net.
Gray's long throw on 55 was cleared to Green, whose powerful shot was parried and cleared for a corner. Chris Herd, who had tested the referee's patience on several occasions, was replaced by Lenell John-Lewis, who looked a bit like a clone of his fellow forward Delroy Facey, but had a neat turn of pace.
Hughton was booked for a foul on Goodall. Lincoln were handed a way back into the game on 65 when a free kick was pumped towards the edge of the penalty area. Lee came rushing off his line but found John-Lewis in no mood to stand aside for him: the ball ran free to Swaibu, whose clever lob from around 25 yards cleared everyone and fell into the Cross Street goal.
Scott Boden replaced Gritton after 69 minutes as an unexpectedly rejuvenated Lincoln warmed to their task. That task should have been made harder when Rundle was carted to the ground in the corner of the penalty area on 70, but the referee saw nothing wrong and play continued. Chesterfield pressed, winning three more corners before Boshell replaced Green on 81, but the game had become a nervy affair for a home side that could not longer keep possession with their first-half assurance.
Boshell went into the book within a minute of coming on; his first three attempts at the ball ended with free kicks to the visitors. The first free kick was sent goalwards by Gilmour but Lee had the time and good placement to clutch the ball easily.
Kerr was yellow-carded in injury time for a foul on Rundle. Breckin replaced Conlon in the second minute of the four added on, and the game finished with both sides appealing in vain for a handball in the Chesterfield box. An arm seemed to come from somewhere but the ref was content to award a goal kick.
Chesterfield were made to battle after Lincoln were gifted a lifeline, and the visitors will probably feel that they should have come away with a point for their efforts after that moment, but the home side had the better of the game before that, without being able to stamp too much class on it, and were the more deserving winners.