John Sheridan engineered a small reshuffle for the visit to Gillingham. Ian Morris came in to midfield, allowing Dwayne Mattis to move back to central defence, as Ian Breckin was rested to the bench.
Chesterfield won the game's opening corner in the second minute, thanks to good work down the right by Drew Talbot. Whitaker's low cross was cleared at the second attempt. Gillingham were clearly fired up for the game but Chesterfield managed to get forward with pace and determination, too, offering the promise of an open and entertaining match. Weston drove inches wide of the left-hand post on 6 but Tommy Lee seemed unperturbed.
Chesterfield took the lead on 13 minutes after Javan Vidal cut inside and put over a decent cross from the right; the ball came to DEANE SMALLEY, who finished with great composure from six yards. From the kick-off, Tommy Lee was forced into a fine save to deny McDonald from ten yards. From the corner, the ball was fed out to Bartram, who crossed; McDonald's header produced another eye-catching save from the highly-rated Chesterfield custodian.
Gillingham were pressing hard for an equaliser and Weston put the ball just wide on 16. Spiller got forward to shoot on 22 but Lee watched it go wide. Maher tried to get Spiller going through a minute later but Ford came over to find touch. Weston beat Whitaker and crossed on 24; Mattis's clearance found a Gills man but Morris managed to prise the ball away at the expense of a throw.
Maher had to produce a fine tackle on the edge of the Gillingham area after Smalley sought to get on to Davies's neat chip on 26. McDonald beat Mattis and cut in to shoot; Chesterfield bodies blocked, though, and Spiller rather shanked a shot wide.
Smalley set Davies going with a flick but Gowling robbed him at the expense of a throw; Fuller had to be aware at the back post to head a cross away on 29. Gillingham continued to have the greater share of the game, however, but the Spireites were resolute at the back, if a little careless with possession in midfield.
Whitaker drove wide of the right-hand post on 33; the Chesterfield midfielder felt as though he might have done better, after the Gills defence carelessly gave him room. A Chesterfield free kick was headed wide of the post by Mattis after two Gills defenders failed to muster a challenge.
Chesterfield applied some pressure of their own as the half approached its conclusion, and a great spell of passing culminated in a Davies drive that flew inches over the bar. McDonald drove inches wide of a post on 42. A Gillingham corner on the stroke of halftime was poorly delivered and cleared, but Weston returned the ball; Jackman went down in the box under a Vidal challenge but the referee was unimpressed.
Halftime: Gills 0 Spireites 1
Chesterfield were forced onto the back foot from the kick off but got the ball away, and Fuller had to foul Smalley to stop him. Whitaker took the resulting free kick but Morris's effort from the kick was cleared.
On 48 minutes, Chesterfield extended their lead, on the break. As a ball from Mattis came over the top Davies dummied, and DEANE SMALLEY ran on to beat Lawrence and take the ball around Julian before steering the ball into the net. As was the case after conceding the first goal, Gillingham hit back hard straight away. McDonald found Weston, and his ball across face was cleared by Mattis.
Vidal was forced to concede a corner on 53; Spiller's cross was headed away at the back post by Morris. Smalley got away again on 55 but had too many options to consider and a loss in concentration let the opportunity pass. Gillingham still worked hard for a way back into the game, but conceding that second goal had caused a loss of composure, and their threat diminished, for a while at least.
A Robertson cross to the near post on 62 saw a corner come the Spireites' way; Smalley nearly got to the ball but the home defence managed to clear, for a corner on the other side. Whitaker's kick went through to Morris and his return cross just cleared the crossbar.
Gillingham replaced Weston with Rooney on 63 as Vidal was forced into a shirt-change after a collision with Danny Spiller. Morris was left in a heap after an awful challenge by Fuller on 66 that earned a yellow card. Fuller fouled Robertson shortly after, but escaped any further censure.
Gillingham replaced Jackman with Jack Payne on 71. Akinfenwa was beaten by Ford in the box, hooking the ball away. As it came back from a throw, Lee was well-placed to clutch a Rooney shot. A mis-hit clearance produced another Gillingham corner on 74; Gowling headed down, but his aim was off and the ball was cleared. When it returned, Spiller steered it wide. Spiller got into the box again straight away and Mattis held him up long enough for Robertson to get a tackle in.
The Gills were pressing hard again, now, and reinforced that with a third substitution, bringing Stefan Payne on for Danny Spiller. Akinfenwa was presented with a great chance after a flick from Rooney but Tommy Lee pulled off another fine save to preserve his goal. At the other end, Craig Davies blasted a shot narrowly wide of the goal after taking a pass from Mark Allott.
Jack Lester came on for Deane Smalley on 85, and immediately defended a corner with his head. Davies broke a minute later and Julian came out to clear. With a minute left Ford handled on the edge of the penalty area; Nutter's drive spun reassuringly wide. A great cross from Nutter deserved better than to have Gowling pulled up for an unneccessary foul on the end of it. Bowery replaced the hard-working Davies in the second minute of stoppage time. The Gills pushed forward to the end, but their efforts carried less conviction as time ran out.