Chesterfield fell to a second successive defeat as they lost 1-0 at the Banks's Stadium to Walsall, a second-half strike from Tom Bradshaw enough to beat the Spireites.
The winner arrived when Jordan Cook found space outside the penalty area before slipping in Bradshaw who calmly slotted the ball past Tommy Lee.
Chesterfield boss Paul Cook rang the changes following the midweek defeat at Colchester United, handing Huddersfield Town loanee Oscar Gobern his first start for the club, and the bold decision nearly paid off early on as a Sam Morsy deflected shot forced a good save from former Spireites ‘keeper Richard O’Donnell.
However it was the hosts who had the first meaningful opportunity of the game when neat build up play down the Saddlers’ left-hand side created an opening for full-back Andy Taylor and after his accurate delivery found Tom Bradshaw, the striker brought a good diving save from Lee.
The Spireites reacted well to that Bradshaw chance, as Jimmy Ryan spearheaded a breakaway and was allowed to carry it all of 50-yards before striking wide from the edge of the area.
Cook’s men continued to press in search of the opener, and it was Sam Clucas who thought he had found the breakthrough, as he latched on to a teasing Dan Jones cross before heading inches wide of the post.
Both teams have been renowned for playing football the right way this season, and it was good play which allowed Romaine Sawyers to find a pocket of space in the Spireites half, before placing a shot from range off target.
Chances were few and far between in the first period of play at the Banks’s Stadium, but Chesterfield were unlucky not to take one of them when it came their way. A marauding run from Dan Gardner created the space for a cross, before Clucas snuck in at the backpost, but his well-caught volley was excellently saved from the Saddlers’ former-Spireites 'keeper.
It was Clucas again who was terrorising the Walsall backline, this time after the break, as he was slipped through by Ryan, and from a tight angle he smashed the ball goalwards but O’Donnell saved.
Chesterfield were now shooting towards the Spireites fans as they were roared forward by those who had made the trip from Derbyshire, and the 938 Spireites fans nearly had something to cheer following a set-piece, as Sam Morsy whipped a free-kick round the wall, but also round O’Donnell’s post.
Despite the impressive start to the second half made by the Spireites, they had to come from behind if they were to get anything out of the game, as Bradshaw gave Walsall the lead. Intricate build-up play around the Chesterfield penalty area created an opening for Bradshaw, and he sent Lee the wrong way from inside the box.
Chesterfield were attempting to make a swift response after they fell behind, and Morsy came ever so close to levelling the scores a minute after Walsall’s break through, as he cut on to left foot before pulling the trigger, but a slight deflection sent the ball off target.
The hard-working Doyle, in sensational form since the start of the season, then fizzed a ball into the box which missed everyone, as the ball slid across an unguarded six yard box.
Substitute Mal Benning came close to sealing the game as a tricky and direct run allowed him to shoot at goal from close range, but Lee got down well to deny the midfielder with his legs.
Clucas had threatened the Walsall defence all afternoon, and the former Mansfield man thought he had produced a stunning equaliser when he steamed in to meet a Gary Roberts delivery, but his header missed at the near post.
As the game headed deep into stoppage time, the best chance arrived to the man every Spireites fan would have wanted in charge of the chance, with Roberts in the clear- but he scuffed his chance, with Chesterfield heading back to Derbyshire empty handed.
Walsall: O’Donnell (gk) - Purkiss, Taylor, Downing, J.Chambers - Baxendale (Forde 59’), Sawyers, Cain (Mantom 78’), Cook (Benning 81’), A. Chambers - Bradshaw
Subs not used: O’Connor, Grimes, Manset, MacGilivray (gk)
Chesterfield: Lee (gk) - Darikwa, Evatt, Margreitter, Jones - Ryan (O’Shea 70’), Morsy, Gobern (Banks 88’), Clucas, Gardner - Doyle
Walsall: Bradshaw 62’