A trio of signings in the week before the game increased John Sheridan's selection options. The Chesterfield manager chose to start all three, making a total of five changes, with an expected 4-4-2 set up comprising Lee in goal, Holden and Smith at full-backs; Ford and Grounds in central defence; Talbot, Allott, Johnson and Whitaker across the middle and Westcarr and Boden up front.
Chesterfield were down to ten men for a short while after only three minutes, when Allott left the pitch to have a hand injury seen to. Grounds cleared conclusively after Nardiello brought the ball forward.
Chesterfield won a corner on 7 which he took short to Johnson, taking the return pass into the box before seeing a shot blocked. Chesterfield kept possession and Johnson found Allott well; the ball was worked to Westcarr but his task was not made easier by an extravagant bounce on the ball. Westcarr took charge of a loose ball and found Talbot, whose cross was met by Whitaker; his header was held by the keeper.
Exeter forced their first corner after 15 minutes. Jones swung the ball over and the ball reached the back post, from where Archibald-Henville swept the ball home to give his side the lead after some poor marking.
A foul on Talbot by Archibald-Henville gave Chesterfield a free kick in a promising position. Whitaker's kick was headed on by the stretching Boden, but the flick went over the bar.
Grounds headed a Jones cross behind for a corner on 21. Again, Chesterfield didn't deal at all well with the cross; Archibald-Henville at the far post was free again, but he was wasteful with a great opportunity to score.
An Allott shot forced a decent save from Krysiak in the Exeter goal, on 25. Ford did well to deal with Vine in the Chesterfield box. Westcarr went round Krysiak after Boden's set-up and tried a shot from a narrow angle, but the ball just missed the target.
Chesterfield were awarded a penalty - thanks to the intervention of the linesman - when Boden crossed and Talbot's shot struck Jones on the arm. Danny Whitaker's powerful drive went straight down the middle to register the equalising goal, on 33 minutes.
Westcarr worked the ball to Boden on 37 and Scott's header, from around the penalty spot, had to travel too far to surprise the keeper. Boden looked set to break with Johnson but Jones's foul allowed Exeter to retreat in numbers.
Nathan Smith went into the book for dissent on 42.
Halftime: Grecians 1 Spireites 1. Atendance: 4113 (319 from Chesterfield.)
Westcarr spread the ball to Talbot, and Drew's cross struck an Exeter man and went out for Chesterfield's first corner of the half, on 47. A decent kick came towards Boden but the referee pulled play up as Westcarr came back from an offside position. Vine's late challenge made Westcarr wince; Johnson's chipped free kick was cleared.
Exeter won a free kick in a dangerous place on 51. A four-man wall prevented a direct shot and Grounds cleared up around the penalty spot. The ball was returned and Holden gave away a corner, which Lee punched away. Westcarr easily outpaced Golbourne from the clearance but couldn't quite control and trouble the Exeter keeper. Boden and Westcarr again linked well on 55 but the new man missed his kick with the goal at his mercy. Possession was retained and worked back to Boden, but he fired over.
Exeter's quick movement on the hour led to a decent Vine cross as the home side began to exert a little pressure. The Grecians replaced the tiring Vine with Nichols on 63. Grounds covered a dangerous situation very well to concede a corner on 64, and the flag kick came to nothing.
Boden ran on with the ball on 67 as the linesman flagged for a foul on Westcarr. As play continued Boden shot narrowly wide. Boden was getting a bit of a battering off the Exeter defence but referee Sarginson kept his cards to himself, for now.
Holden went into the book on 76 for a foul on Nardiello. Exeter won another corner after good defending by Talbot. It was aimed at the near post and cleared; sloppy play saw Noble caught offside. Lester came on for the hard-working Boden after 78 minutes.
Exeter brought Logan on for Coles with ten minutes left. The home side took the lead with a Nichols shot on 82. Exeter kept the pressure on and Holden cleared off the line. Bowery came on for Ford with seven minutes left. Nardiello missed a fine chance from seven yards to finish the game on 86.
Morgan came on for Allott with two minutes of the 90 left.