Against the League's bottom side the temptation might have been to go all-out for attack, but Despite Darlington's lowly league position, John Sheridan went with the 5-3-2 "away" set-up that recently brought full points back from Morecambe and Port Vale. With Aaron Downes suffering cruel luck at Vale Park Danny Hall came into the side as the third centre-half, with Derek Niven dropping to the bench.
The recent signing of Simon Whaley did not immediately spell the end of Dominic Green's starting place in the side, as had been predicted, with the new man starting among the substitutes. Whether Whaley was match fit or not, this was an appropriate reward for good play by the Peterborough loanee that has seen two goals and several assists added to his name recently. Drew Talbot replaced Barry Conlon up front while Gary Madine started his second game in Spireite colours.
Green took the Spireites' first corner of the game on 4, towards Page at the back post; his attempt to direct the header back across to Madine resulted only in a goal kick. Rundle shot wide on 7. Madine's flick on 9 was deflected for a corner but the kick came to no0thing after being taken short; from the clearance Rundle's attempted back pass was intercepted by Purcell and left Lee stranded, but Diop, who ended up with the ball, shot wide when looking odds- on to score.
Goodall's challenge on Purcell brought a stern rebuke, but no card, from the referee as Darlington attacked down the wings and enjoyed a decent spell of pressure. At the other end Redmond was forced into a decent save to deny Rundle on 13; Green's resultant corner was headed narrowly wide by Madine.
Allott went down under a late challenge from Waite on 20 but was quickly up to continue.
Darlington took the lead on 27 after a cross from the right wasn't attacked by the defenders; Diop missed it but Purcell was on hand to tap in from a few yards out. It was just reward for Darlington's work in the previous 15 minutes.
The Quakers kept the pressure on and gained their first corner on 36, but the ball was cleared and Talbot won a corner for Chesterfield at the end of the move. When it was cleared, Gray returned, and Redman claimed the ball from Page's head.
Page's block on 43 prevented a Darlington thrust through the middle at the expense of a corner.
Halftime: Darlington 1 Chesterfield 0
Hall went to right-back and Gray to midfield as the Spireites offered a more 4-4-2 shape at the start of the second half. Darlington won a corner after two minutes but play was stopped when Miller shoved Lee into the woodwork.
Darlington extended their lead on 53: Purcell's free kick was driven goalwards and it appeared to clip Drew Talbot and leave Lee helpless on its way into the net. Immediately Chesterfield brought Niven on for Hall. Talbot won a free kick after going in strong on Bird, but Bird's reaction earned him a yellow card.
Scott Boden replaced Madine on 58. Rundle found Talbot well on 62 but the keeper conceded a corner before Drew could work it on to his better foot.
Gary smith replaced Dempsey for Darlington after 68 minutes, while Whaley replaced Green a minute later. Rundle won a corner on 70 and it was lofted into the Darlington area; they cleared and broke, but Waite fired well over after breaking the offside trap.
Darlington continued to hold the upper hand, and attack. Groves replaced Mulligan on 78.
Chesterfield pulled a goal back on 79 when SIMON WHALEY cut in and drove a firm shot under Shane Redmond. DREW TALBOT levelled the scores from 35 yards a minute later, lobbing the keeper after spotting him off his line. With their spirits restored the visitors pressed forward. At the other end Page went down after a challenge from Groves, who was booked.
Chesterfield were awarded a corner on 85 but wanted a handball. The kick went to Page at the back post and Whaley was able to win a throw to keep the pressure on as the visitors went for the win. Talbot went in for a chance but the ball struck Richie Byrne and went in to give Chesterfield the lead.
Rundle and Madden were yellow-carded after squaring up to eachother as the game entered stoppage time. With time very nearly up Lee performed heroics to tip Madden's close-range shot over for a corner that was cleared as the final whistle went to cap a remarkable fightback.