Scott Griffiths came into the Chesterfield starting line-up on his return the the B2Net Stadium. His was one of five changes to the side that performed so poorly at Boundary Park last Saturday. Greg Fleming returned in goal, with a back four of Talbot, Trotman, Ford and Griffiths in front of him. Across the midfield, John Sheridan picked Mendy and Obadeyi on the flanks, with Allott and Johnson in the middle. Up front, Bowery was restored alongside Clarke.
With five loan men in the starting line-up, there was no room for any on the bench. Mattis, Whitaker and Westcarr began the game there, alongside the returning Dean Morgan and Jack Lester.
The match saw an even start as both side battled against a blustery wind that hampered clearances from north to south. Chesterfield were the first to show, winning a corner after 2 minutes when Allott's pass towards Obadeyi was deflected off Lowton. Johnson put the kick into the box but the tall Simonsen claimed it well. Greg Fleming earned applause moments later for coming out to take a Quinn cross as Evans closed in.
The game began to live up to its "derby" billing when Clarke and Allott both launched fierce foul challenges on Doyle. A weak pass towards Trotman might have led to calamity in the Chesterfield box when Evans challenged, but Trotman stood firm and forced the ball back to Fleming, who cleared well.
Trotman was unluckily booked for a foul on Porter on 13. "Foot up" was the offence, but it was as much a case of "head down" from the rangy Blade, who left the field for seven minutes for treatment. Johnson was unluckily penalised for a decent, firm tackle on Quinn three minutes later as home fans feared the ref might favour the visitors in 50-50 challenges.
Chesterfield were battling well but could not turn that resolve into clear end product. Obadeyi shot over on 19 after good Griffiths pressure had forced the ball through two or three blunt half-tackles.
A great Clarke flick-on towards Bowery saw the young striker challenge Simonsen on the penalty spot; while home fans hooted for a penalty kick, the referee reckoned that the Chesterfield man had made a back for the keeper, and gave the free kick to the visitors.
Ford and Trotman were rock solid and fine defending from the former denied Porter; Quinn kept the ball alive and flashed a cross across the box; United were lucky to be given a corner after the ball appeared to go out without too much interference from a blue shirt.
Mendy's good work on 31 led to a cross that caught Collins leaden-footed. As Bowery was about to jump for the header the United man pushed him in the back, clearly impeding him, but the referee showed no interest in penalty claims. With Chesterfield enjoying a bright period another Mendy cross was deflected for a corner; it was hit too long, but Obadeyi's low return fizzed across the goal in menacing fashion.
A quick break towards Evans was cut out well by the perceptive Talbot. From the corner Williamson swung one over, and an almighty scramble in the goalmouth saw the ball strike the Chesterfield post before Allott launched a clearance into the United half.
Bowery broke through the middle on 37; it was one against four for a while but the young Spireite still managed to force a corner. At the other end, the redoubtable Trotman headed a United corner away.
The best move of the half saw Mendy, Bowery and Clarke combine on 42 to set up Johnson for a well-aimed drive that Simonsen turned away for a corner. As the half closed, a Lowton cross invited Porter to slide in, but he arrived too late to capitalise.
Halftime: 0-0. Attendance: 9,259 (2001 away fans.)
Chesterfield started brightly and won a corner off Obadeyi's deflected cross, which Quinn cleared at the second attempt. United won one at the other end a minute later; this time Ford stepped in to clear.
Simonsen claimed an Obadeyi cross that rocketed across the box at head height on 50; five minutes later, Ford tested the goalkeeper when he got a foot to a Mendy cross to turn it towards the corner of the United net.
Evans shot on 56 and Fleming made a well-judged save, showing awareness as he pushed the ball into space but United were keener for the ball, and Talbot was forced to concede a corner to keep McAlister at bay.
Obadeyi's pace left United men standing as he blasted down the right wing on 57; cutting in, he shot too weakly at the keeper's near post, when a cross to the supporting Clarke might have brought more reward.
The announcement of the day's attendance brought ironic cheers from a United contingent that didn't quite break the record for visiting fans set by Rotherham last season.
Clarke took a ball from Griffiths first-time on 61, flicking it over his shoulder and onto the United bar. A Bowery cross flashed in front of the diving Obadeyi, on 63 as Chesterfield pushed for a goal, but Trotman was effective at the other end, coolly denying Evans after a Sheffield United break.
United had the ball in the net on 64 but the linesman's flag prevented Quinn's conversion of a Lowton cross from counting.
Tiredness caused the game to slow and lack focus a little, but United's side were the first to show the signs, and Flynn came on for the cramp-ridden Williamson on 74. This change gave United an edge in midfield and increased the pressure on the home side's rearguard.
Flynn himself shot from 25 yards on 76 but Fleming was judged to have tipped the shot wide for a corner. McAlister shot over after Flynn's set-up on 77.
On 81, United snatched the goal that won the game. For the first time, Evans was able to turn Trotman; he advanced into the area before firing wide of Fleming and into the net.
A triple-substitution from Chesterfield saw Westcarr Lester & Morgan on for Johnson, Clarke, Obadeyi on 86, but United managed the remaining minutes well, and the home side couldn't muster a serious threat on the visitors' goal. Ertl replaced Porter on 88 as the game ebbed away from a Chesterfield side that deserved to take something from it. The scoreline might have been worse had Fleming not made a good save to deny Quinn in injury time.