John Sheridan addressed the loss of Mark Allott through injury by moving Dwayne Mattis back into midfield for the visit to Northampton Town. Ian Breckin came into central defence, while Jack Lester was rested to the bench, and Dean Morgan played up front with Craig Davies, which allowed Derek Niven to keep his place in midfield. The addition of Tendayi Darikwa to the bench alongside Lester and Boden gave it a more attacking look than that which went to Rotherham.
Chesterfield fashioned the first two opportunities; Morgan flashed a shot wide on 5 and Talbot's pace created an opening for Whitaker to shoot wide on 7. On the whole, though, the opening exchanges were even, and perhaps a little cagey. The home side won the game's first corner on 12 but Niven headed Thornton's flag kick away from the near post. Thornton beat Niven to McKay's flick-on and drove the ball across the box, and Ford defended it well to clear for a corner on 15. Mattis headed this out as far as McKay, who curled an effort wide.
McKay got in front of Ford to get a clear sight of goal on 20 but Lee did well to stifle the danger with his legs, blocking the striker's effort. Northampton were on top now, and Lee again did well to save from Thornton, although play was pulled back for a Chesterfield free-kick.
Northampton were given a free kick close to the penalty area on 26. Thornton's kick to the back post was sent out for a corner by Breckin. Jacobs took it but the ball was cleared; Chesterfield's failure to hold the ball led to Northampton having opportunities to return to the Spireites' box but they were unable to keep the ball too, in a scrappy period. Thornton punctuated this with a purposeful run and drive just over the bar on the half hour.
A shot was deflected for another Northampton corner on 32. Jacobs whipped the ball in and McKay thumped a header against the foot of the post. McKay had a chance when Lee spilled a shot but Morgan tracked back and the ball was cleared for another Northampton corner. This was not cleared but the danger passed when Lee was judged to have been fouled by Tozer.
At the other end Griffiths put the ball over and it hit the netting with Dunn backpedalling furiously. Ian Breckin was booked on 36 for a foul on Thornton. Talbot was brought down by Thornton on 37 and felt his hamstring. Whitaker took a free kick on 38 and laid it to Davies, whose effort was deflected for the visitors' first corner, which was worked short and poorly executed. Northampton began to lose a little discipline as Davies was brought down after fairly beating his man. A cross flicked off Tozer for a corner on 40.
Tozer was spoken to by referee D'Urso on 42, probably for something he said.
Northampton took the lead in first-half stoppage time. Jacobs' original cross was saved by Lee, but THORNTON got a head to the loose ball to turn it into the Chesterfield net.
Halftime: Northampton Town 1 Chesterfield 0. Attendance: 4026 (422 from Town)
Davies had the second half's first shot but Drew Talbot pulled up straight away, feeling his injured hamstring. Thornton replied with a shot that flashed wide of Lee's goal. Whitaker crossed and there appeared to be a handball in the box to prevent the ball reaching Davies and Talbot.Davies did well to work a cross to the back post on 50 and a corner resulted; Morgan took Whitaker's short one and cut in, but shot comprehensively over the bar.
Talbot went to ground with a facial injury after glancing a header goalwards on 55, and was replaced by Lester a minute later. Davies created Chesterfield's best opportunity so far when putting a cross over for Lester on 58, but Tozer did just enough to force Jack to fire over. Thornton beat Hunt and raced forward but the indomitable Ford stood in his way at the expense of a corner on 66.
Two goals in four minutes turned the game on its head. Chesterfield equalised rather against the run of play when Dunn spilled a Davies cross on 70 and a corner resulted; Chesterfield took it quickly as the Cobblers slept and DEAN MORGAN got in to force the ball home powerfully at the second attempt. CRAIG DAVIES gave the visitors the lead on 74 when he latched on to a fine Lester pass to bring the ball forward before lifting it over the goalkeeper Dunn and into the net.
Northampton brought Wedderburn and Mckenzie on for Gilligan and McKay straight away. Courtney Herbert made it a quick trio of substitutions, replacing Rodgers. Morgan was lectured on 79 for bringing down Wedderburn. As the match entered its last ten minutes Northampton began to go longer, pumping a free kick forward, but Lee came and collected calmly. Opportunities presented themselves for Chesterfield to break and only Craig Davies heavy first touch prevented his advancing in the clear.
Hunt was booked for a late challenge on Davies. From the free kick Herbert got the ball and volleyed one across the box. The fourth official announced the addition of five minutes to the ninety, giving Northampton hope.Ford went down under McKenzie's challenge to take up vital time. Johnson's cross might have produced a late scare but it was too deep, and drifted out for a goal kick.