A last-gasp Wes Brown goal saw Bristol City beat the Spireites 3-2 at Ashton Gate in a game where Chesterfield worried the League One leaders for long spells.The Robins took the lead when Spireites skipper Ian Evatt steered a Joe Bryan delivery into his own goal, but Eoin Doyle levelled the scores from the spot before half-time.
Defender Derrick Williams regained City’s lead just after the break, before Doyle’s poaching allowed him to equalise for the second time.
With both teams appearing to be taking a point from the game, Burns arrived late to smash home and snatch all three points deep in to stoppage time.
The Spireites began their visit to top-of-the-table Bristol City similarly to how they have approached every game this season, taking the game to City as the Blues earned a succession of early corners.
Despite the Chesterfield dominance in the opening exchanges, the hosts were able to claim the first goal of the game through an Evatt own goal.
After struggling to clear the ball, City’s Joe Bryan pounced on a loose ball to drill a fierce delivery into Tommy Lee’s area, but a sliding Evatt could only turn into his own net.
The early deficit appeared to have rattled Paul Cook’s side and following a Mark Little cross, Wade Elliott was inches away from doubling City’s lead as his neat volley narrowly missed the far post.
Steve Cotterill, who has just received the September manager of the month award, had geared up his side to maintain their impressive start to the campaign, and if it was not for Lee making a smart stop from a Luke Freeman long-range strike, the Spireites could have been in for a longer afternoon.
Chesterfield’s first-half performance had warranted some kind of reward, and the Spireites were deservedly back on level terms through yet another goal for hot-shot Doyle.
Clever link up play between Doyle and Gary Roberts down the right flank created an opening for Doyle who was brought to the ground, the Irishman getting back to his feet to slot the resulting penalty past a diving Frank Fielding.
The Spireites fans had become accustomed to goals this season with Cook’s no-fear philosophy, and seconds after Doyle’s equaliser City were nearly back in front following a magnificent curling effort from Bryan, only for the outside of the post to deny the winger.
In a fiery affair, the greasy surface was bringing out the best in two very attack-minded teams, and moments before half-time Evatt nearly atoned for his own goal, but his header from a Daniel Johnson corner was hooked away from Fielding’s goal.
Despite having the opportunity to draw level before the break, the beginning of the second period saw the Robins regain the lead.
Elliott stood over an early corner for Cotterill’s side, leaving an on-rushing Williams to head home and put the Robins into the lead for the second time.
The rollercoaster afternoon took another twist minutes after Williams’ header, as yet again Doyle and the Sprireites recovered for the second time of the afternoon.
Intricate football in the City penalty area saw full back Tendayi Darikwa drive towards the touchline and pull an inch-perfect ball back for summer recruit Sam Clucas, but after Fielding superbly saved from the midfielder, Doyle was on hand to notch his fifteenth goal of the campaign.
Although Doyle’s goals have been crucial for Chesterfield this season, Lee has been in great form of late and the goalkeeper showed his credentials with a marvellous instinctive save from a Kieran Agard snap-shot from just two yards to goal, the scores still tied.
Moments later it was the crossbar that came to the Spireites’ rescue, as a dangerous run from Freeman troubled the Chesterfield backline, leaving the City midfielder to strike from range and watch his shot flick off of the woodwork.
Both sides were far from resting on their laurels as the two managers shuffled their packs with positive changes, and it was Spireites substitute Ollie Banks who threatened to steal the show, his deflected effort parried away by City’s number one.
Chesterfield kept on battling in their pursuit of a late winner, as another direct Darikwa run created an opening but his teasing drag back across goal was dealt with well by Fielding.
Despite the Spireites’ hunger and desire to take all three points, heartbreak occurred deep in to stoppage time for the visitors as Elliot galloped down the right before chipping a pinpoint delivery into the box, for substitute Burns to storm in and fire a crisp volley into the back of the net and win the game.
Bristol City: Fielding (gk) - Little, Williams, Flint, Ayling - Bryan, Elliot (c), Freeman (Emmanuel-Thomas 90’), Smith (Burns 35’) - Agard (Pack 83’), Wilbraham
Subs not used: Richards (gk), El-Abd, Wagstaff, Cunningham
Chesterfield: Lee (gk) - Darikwa, Evatt (c), Margreitter, Jones - Ryan (O’Shea 81’), Morsy, Roberts (Banks 75’), Johnson (Boco 68’), Clucas - Doyle
Subs not used: Wright (gk), Gardner, Gnanduillet, Raglan
Bristol City: Evatt o.g. 10’, Williams 46’, Burns 90’
Chesterfield: Doyle 24’, 59’
Attendance: 12, 558 (away fans: 599)