The Spireites gave their all and pushed Preston to the edge of conceding, but couldn't make the breakthrough as they lost 1-0 at the Proact in the play-off semi-final first leg.
Striker Jermaine Beckford struck for the Lilywhites after six minutes and despite waves of Spireites pressure for the remainder of the match, the early goal decided the game and Chesterfield will travel to Deepdale on Sunday lunchtime needing to win.
After the game manager Paul Cook told Spireites Player how he felt the evening had gone for his side.
"We played well tonight, you must give Preston great credit," said Cook. "It was well documented what happened to them on Sunday. They'll have had the massive disappointment of coming back from Colchester and not being promoted.
"After our own disappointment of conceding early on I think we were terrific. It was everything I love about the game: wanting to get forward, wanting to play. We're so naive with some of the things we're trying to do, but we're also so honest in how we play and I think our supporters respect that."
A bustling atmosphere at a rocking Proact Stadium played host to a similarly busy match, with plenty of fiery moments on the field, which is how Cook says he likes it.
"It was a good game," he said. "There's always a bit of spice in games and that's the way the game should be played. But come the end of the game you should always have a bit of respect for each other.
"We're looking forward to Sunday. Preston know that we're still alive, at 1-0 in the tie the next goal is huge and we believe we can get it. We'll keep working away and doing our best for 90 minutes.
"Tonight was a great night for our players, because when you go up against these teams you can get found out if you're not good enough and that certainly didn't happen to us tonight."
The scoreline will make Preston favourites for the 12:15pm kick-off on Sunday at Deepdale, but Cook believes his side remain in with a great chance to progress.
"We're still in the tie," he said. "We're 1-0 down and there is a lot that can happen in football. We believe we can still do it, so we'll do everything to prepare right, travel on Saturday and see if we can get to Wembley."