Eoin Doyle scored his second hat-trick in four days as the Spireites came back to draw 3-3 away to Preston North End.Preston raced into a three-goal lead following goals from Alan Browne, Joe Garner and Josh Brownhill inside 30 minutes, but Doyle’s dramatic hat-trick prevented Preston from taking all three points.
The hosts made a fast-paced start to the game as in-form striker Joe Garner tested the Spireites’ number one Tommy Lee with an audacious headed effort from inside the box, but Lee was able to gather the ball.
However the League 1 heavyweights did not have to wait long for their opening goal, as midfielder Browne was able to latch on to a teasing delivery from team mate Will Hayhurst, before nodding home past a stranded Lee and give the Lilywhites an early advantage.
The Spireites were looking to maintain their unbeaten league away record as they visited Deepdale, and Chesterfield came within inches of levelling the score line when Daniel Johnson’s inch-perfect through ball found top goalscorer Doyle, but the Irishman’s touch drifted straight into the arms of home 'keeper Jamie Jones.
Despite that Doyle opportunity, Preston doubled their lead moments later through a marvellously composed finish from Garner, as he danced around the on-rushing Lee before slotting the ball into the empty net.
The two-nil deficit soon turned to three against the Spireites, as a lofted ball into the Chesterfield penalty area was flicked back across goal, falling for wide man Brownhill to steam in and hammer home and leave Paul Cook’s men with a mountain to climb.
The visitors needed a swift response if they were to get anything out of the game, and that is what happened as Doyle continued his purple patch in front of goal.
Superb footwork outside of the area by substitute Jay O'Shea found Doyle, before he cut inside and audaciously dinked the ball over Jones in the North End goal.
Due to injury, Cook had been forced to summon O’Shea from the bench for full-back Daniel Jones, and the introduction of O’Shea appeared to swing the momentum of the game Chesterfield’s way, as a superb passage of play from the visitors ended in a chance for the substitute, but O’Shea fired over from 18-yards.
The Spireites continued their surge forwards in an attempt to peg Preston back, and summer recruit Romy Boco had a glorious chance to pull the score line back even further, but he could only smash over following Doyle’s knockdown.
Chesterfield began the second half exactly how they finished the first, bombarding Jones’ Preston goal, and O’Shea very nearly rippled the back of the net. Instead his side-footed effort was sliced wide.
Johnson, the man who was replacing the injured Gary Roberts in Cook’s team selection, was carving through the home side’s midfield with ease at times, and it was his quick thinking which released O’Shea, but his deflected effort narrowly missed the bottom corner.
Chesterfield’s intense pressure was relentless, and Johnson nearly weaved his magic again before he was denied by a late Calum Wood challenge.
However, the Preston wall did crack moments later as it was yet again Doyle who slotted the ball into the back of the net.
The instrumental Johnson picked out a sensational sliding cross to the back post, ready for Doyle to slide home and bring about a nervy final ten minutes for Simon Grayson’s side.
Chesterfield were throwing everything at the home side but it was Preston who nearly sealed the game. Garner headed goalwards following a Hayhurst delivery, but Lee produced a sensational save to give the Spireites one final bit of hope.
The Spireites resumed their pursuit of an equaliser following Lee’s save, and Town were eventually rewarded in stoppage time for their efforts, as Doyle and Chesterfield completed their magnificent comeback.
Johnson’s corner was handled by a North End arm, leaving Doyle to step up and round off his second hat-trick in four days for the Blues.
Cook’s men were not content with a point after their unbelievable comeback, but Preston held firm in time added on to deny the Spireites all three points.
Preston North End: Jones (gk) - Clarke (c), Wright, Woods, Hayhurst (Reid) - Gallagher (Robinson), Kilkenny (King), Buchanan, Browne - Garner, Brownhill
Subs not used: Stuckmann (gk), Laird, Wiseman, Davies
Chesterfield: Lee (gk) - Darikwa, Evatt (c), Margreitter (Banks), Jones (O’Shea) - Ryan, Morsy, Boco (Gnanduillet), Johnson, Clucas - Doyle
Subs not used: Chapman (gk), Humphreys, Raglan, Ariyibi
Preston North End - Browne 7', Garner 15', Brownhill 28'
Chesterfield - Doyle 31', 79', 90' (pen)