Chesterfield suffered their second away defeat of the season as they lost 3-2 to Newport County.
Danny Crow opened the scoring early in the first half for the Exiles before the Spireites started to dominate proceedings.
Jimmy Ryan stroked home the equaliser on the hour mark but Liam Cooper was dismissed ten minutes later, a decision that turned the game.
Robbie Willmott fired the penalty past Tommy Lee and the home side then went on to extend their lead through Andy Sandell.
That wasn’t the end of the drama as Marc Richards pulled a goal back, then a last minute onslaught was unfortunately not enough for the Spireites as they miss the chance to claim top spot.
Chesterfield made one change to the side that had started the previous four games as Sheffield United loanee, Callum McFadzean replaced Ritchie Humphreys in a like-for-like swap at left back.
Newport dominated the early proceedings and took the lead within the first six minutes. Robbie Willmott delivered a teasing free kick into the box and Crow rose highest to power a header past Lee to give the Exiles the early lead.
The Spireites were struggling to get hold of possession but Jay O’Shea fired a warning sign midway through the half. The winger picked up the ball in the middle but struck his effort just wide of Lenny Pidgeley’s goal.
Christian Jolly picked up the first booking of the afternoon as he held back Sam Hird and kicked the ball away in frustration.
Chesterfield started to gain a foothold in the game with Ollie Banks the architect in attack. After neat footwork on the half hour mark, the ball fell to the midfielder who was unfortunate to strike wide of the Newport goal.
The pressure was starting to mount for the Spireites and five minutes before half time, they should have been level. O’Shea smashed a superb volley from the edge of the area which rebounded off the bar and from the follow up, Armand Gnanduillet was unlucky not to control his header and find the equaliser.
The Frenchman again was causing havoc in attack and maybe should have got the leveller deep into added time. O’Shea’s cross in wasn’t dealt with and the striker managed to scoop the ball over the bar from only a couple of yards out.
The second half started at a similar level to how the first ended as the Spireites came out the strongest. Gnanduillet capitalised on a loose ball and hit a volley towards goal, which was travelling at some pace, but Pidgeley was equal to the strike and held the ball well.
Minutes later, O’Shea’s trickery created an opportunity to cross and he picked out Gary Roberts in space in the centre, but the linesman’s flag scuppered the attack.
With all the dominance coming from the Derbyshire side, the Exiles were finding it hard to get hold of the ball. The Spireites should have been level on the hour mark as Banks found Ryan in space; the midfielder had plenty of time to pick a shot but it was saved by the feet of the goalkeeper.
Just as they missed that chance, the Spireites launched another attack and did finally get the levelling goal. Pidgeley charged out of his goal to collect an O’Shea cross but a mix up in defence produced Ryan with an open goal and he comfortably stroked the ball to make it 1-1.
Banks picked up Chesterfield’s first booking as he seemed to catch defender Tom Naylor late, and the midfielder was soon substituted an Marc Richards was introduced.
Within seconds of his arrival, the striker released Gnanduillet, who found a lot of space, but the striker was unfortunately slow and the defender came back to intercept the striker’s shot.
With only 15 minutes remaining, Newport striker Conor Washington went through on goal and the linesman adjudged Liam Cooper to have brought him down. The referee brandished the defender a red card and awarded the home side a penalty kick.
Adam Chapman stepped up for the home side and sent Lee the wrong way for Newport to regain their lead.
The goal gave the Exiles the impetuous to drive forward and attack. Washington and Willmott both went close with shots, but Chesterfield still looked promising on the counter attack.
The Spireites brought on Eoin Doyle and Gary McSheffrey to bolster their attacking options going into the last ten minutes of the game.
As Chesterfield threw men forward in a bid to gain the equaliser, they were caught on the break and substitute, Sandell bundled the ball into the goal after Washington’s initial shot was superbly saved by Lee.
The Spireites didn’t give in and Richards pulled a goal back as he pounced on a loose ball and buried his chance past the onrushing goalkeeper.
Deep into injury time, the visitors threw caution to the wind and pumped the ball long, forcing a succession of corners. Lee was sent forward to attack but unfortunately it wasn’t to be for Chesterfield.
Subs not used: Stephens, Pipe, Jones, Barker.
Chesterfield: Lee; Talbot, Evatt (c), Cooper, McFadzean; Hird, Ryan, O'Shea (Doyle 79'), Banks (Richards 70'), Roberts (McSheffrey 81'); Gnanduillet.
Subs not used: Chapman, Togwell, Devitt.