Chesterfield manager John Sheridan responded to the weekend's defeat to Morecambe by making three changes to the starting line-up for the visit of Wycombe Wanderers. Kieran Djilali, Ian Breckin and Ian Morris were left out, to make room for Dean Morgan, Danny Whitaker and Scott Griffiths.
The Spireites formed up with Talbot and Griffiths at full-back, and Holden and Robertson in the centre, with Niven and Whitaker in the centre of midfield, and Smalley and Morgan on the flanks. Lester and Davies occupied the two forward positions.
From the outset, the game was played in a fine atmosphere. Chesterfield had the game's first effort, Derek Niven shooting over; Ainsworth had the visitors' first attempt on goal after 5, shooting wide from 18 yards. Davies shot from distance with the outside of his fot on 10, but the bal;l was easily held by Bull in the Wanderers goal.
Chesterfield won the game's first corner on 11, after good work from Smalley; the ball was not cleared and Morgan drilled a cross across the six-yard box. Lester steered it goalwards but the ball missed by inches.
Lester was brought down by Kiernan twenty yards into the Wycombe half on 15, and the Wycombe man was booked for it. From the free kick a header from Holden looped towards Bull's left-hand post and the keeper came almost in slow motion to catch.
Scott Griffiths fired a cross into Lester and Jack showed great skill to take the ball almost to the goal line before two men and the keeper managed to claw the ball off him.
Lewis was booked for a late, high challenge on Niven in midfield after 21, as Wycombe struggled to keep pace with a Spireite side playing like a table-topping team. Chesterfield took a deserved lead after Smalley kept the ball in well on 26 and won a free kick after being forced out of the box; the placed pass from the free kick looked wasted until DEANE SMALLEY forced himself at the ball to score from around eight yards.
Jack Lester went down under a challenge from Bennett on 32, and the linesman indicated a penalty should be awarded, eventually, after struggling to unfurl his flag. That sparked scenes of great complaining among Wycombe players, and it was fully three minutes before DANNY WHITAKER crashed the ball into the centre of Bull's goal. In the meantime Bull was booked for walloping the ball out of the ground after the penalty had been awarded.
Derek Niven went into the book for a foul on Lewis, some twenty-five yards out. The Chairboys tried a rehearsed move but Ainsworth's effort lacked any destructive power. Whitaker set Davies free on 44 and Bull had to beat the ball away for another corner; two more corners were added in stoppage time as the home side kept up the impetus.
Halftime: Chesterfield 2, Wycombe Wanderers 0. Attendance: 6392 (356 from Wycombe.)
Chesterfield extended their lead within thirty seconds of the re-start when JACK LESTER was given the ball with his back to goal, ten yards out, wide; in the blink of an eye he skipped past two defenders on the turn, beat a third and rifled the ball past Bull and into the net.
Strevens gave away a silly free kick on the edge of his own box, fouling Lester after the ball had passed; the practiced routine didn't quite come off, though. Lewis had Wycombe's second shot of the game on 53, but Lewis blazed handsomely over from distance.
Davies was booked on 14 for a careless push on Kiernan, which ended with the Wycombe man going overan advertising sign and needing lengthy treatment. Lee was forced into a save from Lewis. On 61. Westwood replaced the unfortunate Kiernan on 62. Wycombe won their first corner a minute later; the ball was cleared to Lewis, who blazed over from just outside the box.
Strevens went into the book on 67 for persistent fouling. Talbot set Smalley free with a fine ball and he won a corner, on 68. Wycombe made a double substitution on 73, with Betsy and Bloomfield replacing Montrose and Ainsworth.
Betsy's trickery in the box forced Lee into a decent save on 76. Talbot broke well and crossed but it went through the chasing pack of Spireites; Morgan returned it and the ball was blocked for a Chesterfield corner on 77; Betsy blocked this for another corner. Morgan went into the book for throwing the ball away after a free kick had been awarded against him.
Pittman pulled a goal back on 80, firing in from ten yards after Strevens set him up. While Wycombe's substitutions had provided their side with new impetus, Chesterfield's front men were tiring, so Scott Boden came on for Jack Lester on 82. Boden and Talbot swapped passes cleverly and Drew's powerful shot produced the save of the night from Bull. As Wycombe pushed men forward Chesterfield broke through Davies; Bull saved and it came to Boden, but he and Davies between them couldn't extend the lead before Bull fell gratefully onto the football.
Moments later, it was four, though. On the break, Boden brilliantly came through a sandwich of two defenders to play a ball across the edge of the box for CRAIG DAVIES to rifle home Chesterfield's fourth of the night, on 87.
Late substitutions saw deserved ovations for Morgan and Davies, as they were replaced by Morris (88 mins) and Djilali (89 mins.)
Niven's foul on Betsy gave Wycombe a free kick on the edge of the box, deep into stoppage time and Lee punched away; the returned ball was cleared for a corner; that one was cleared by Boden as the referee brought the game to a conclusion that will have send a cold shudder through The Spireites' promotion rivals.