With Ian Morris injured and Craig Davies suspended for the Carling Cup tie with Middlesbrough at the B2net, Spireites manager John Sheridan made two changes to the side that started against Barnet.Scott Griffiths came in for Morris, while Rob Page was brought in for Davies, although the formation change showed Talbot up front, with Jack Hunt moving into midfield and Ian Breckin over to right-back.
Middlesbrough were forced into seven changes from the side that lost at home to Ipswich, largely through international commitments. Only five subs were named by the visitors, while the Spireites appeared to be "one short" with six.
Middlesbrough were the better side during a first half in which their hosts showed them rather too much respect. Although Boro's first goal came as early as the 8th minute, the balance of play even at that early stage meant that the goal was received with little surprise. After receiving a fine ball from Steele on the left, Lita found McDonald with too much ease, and the Aussie international fired home from around twelve yards.
Chesterfield nearly fashioned an equaliser shortly after; the lively Hunt won a throw on the right and found Lester with it; Jack, who was energetic and committed throughout, turned and fired the ball goalwards, beating the keeper, but Wheater got round the back to clear from a yard out.
Hunt's furious pace created a half-chance for Talbot on 23, but his shot from the edge of the area was blocked. On the other flank, a good Griffiths run ended with a cross that was held by Steele in the Boro' nets.
Whitaker shot narrowly over on 31 but, as Chesterfield pressed forward, gaps were left behind. Taking advantage of one of these, Boro' doubled their lead, Arca was left with space to advance down his left on 32 and get into the box; he shot from around 14 yards and Lee could only help the ball into the Chesterfield net.
Allott's ball forward was headed goalwards by Lester on 37, and Steele was forced into an impressive diving save. Page determinedly prevented Lita's progress after another break and the half ended with Allott firing from 30 yards into the safe hands of Steele.
Halftime: 0-2. Attendance: 6.509.
Early Chesterfield pressure in the second half was terminated by a quick break from Boro. Lee saved Williams' tame shot but the pattern seemed typical of what to expect.
The impressive Hunt broke through three challenges on 52 to get into the right-hand corner of the Boro half but saw his cross cut out by Wheater.
The game was in need of a tactical change if Chesterfield were to rescue anything. Niven replaced Page on 57. Breckin went to centre-half and Hunt to a more conventional right-back position. Niven's first involvement saw him booked for a 59th-minute foul on Williams. Shortly after, Lester was floored off the ball by Grounds, on the corner of the Boro box. While the player was yellow-carded, the referee might have had grounds for showing him a red, and the sense of injustice helped the crowd roar the Spireites to recovery.
A Talbot cross from the right just eluded Lester but the ball went out for a corner; a measure of Chesterfield's pressure was the fact that Arca had to come back to clear it. On 68, the Spireites pulled a goal back, when Whitaker's cross from close to the left-hand touchline met the glancing head of DWAYNE MATTIS near the penalty spot, and the ball was steered past the despairing Steele.
Anyone who feared for the atmosphere in the new stadium will have been reassured by the complete din that backed the Spireites' efforts for the remainder of the game. Chesterfield had much the greater share of the ball but Boro' defended well, for the most part, and desperately when they had to. The home side came close with a Niven header on 73 and a Whitaker shot on 85 after a fine interchange of passes with Lester. Lee had to be sharp to deny Lita when he broke through on 81.
Chesterfield's best chance of an equaliser came in the dying moments when Lester and Whitaker again combined, the midfielder providing the forward with a ball for a shot that the goalkeeper punched clear for a corner.
Although Chesterfield couldn't quite find the equaliser that their second-half performance merited they sent the home fans in the crowd home with the consolation of a spirited fightback from an apparently hopeless position. The young full-backs Hunt and Griffiths put in encouraging performances; it is difficult to look at Hunt and believe that he has played so little first-class football before joining us. Whitaker and Lester struck up a promising understanding late on, while Jack's work ethic was exemplary throughout. The Kop bounced and the stands joined in, proving that this stadium can host an atmosphere if the fans create it.