A Dan Gardner double gave Chesterfield a nervy return to form as they emerged from Crewe Alexandra's Gresty Road with a 2-1 victory.The Spireites struck first eight minutes in, after an exciting start from full debutant Rai Simons saw the Bermudan fire across the six-yard box, Mani Dieseruvwe couldn't reach it but Gardner could to slot home from close range.
Despite being in control the visitors were rocked by an unexpected equaiser as David Fox ran on and thumped home from 18 yards after a cross into the box was knocked down.
Into the second half and 57 minutes in the Spireites were in front again, as Gardner scored his and the Spireites second with a volley that bounced up and into the top corner.
Dean Saunders made three changes going into the game against the League One strugglers. Charlie Raglan came into the squad to replace Sam Hird and two full league debuts were given, Dieseruvwe and Simons replaced Drew Talbot and Sylvan Ebanks-Blake.
The game started off in a scrappy fashion with both teams looking nervous on the ball. Simons had the first chance of the game, Crewe lost possession and Simons beat three players, found himself in the box but his effort was weak and went straight into the ‘keeper's hands.
With eight minutes gone, Chesterfield took the lead after some great work by midfielders Jay O’Shea and Simons. O’Shea picked up the loose ball in the middle and found Simons on the edge of the box, the debutant put in a cracking ball which was just missed by Dieseruvwe but Gardner was on hand at the back post to slot home with help from a Crewe defender.
The home side were struggling to create any real clear-cut chances, they were working the ball well in the middle of the park but were let down in the final third.
With Chesterfield sitting deeper and deeper throughout the half, they had a great chance to double their lead on the counter. O’Shea picked up the loose ball on the halfway line, jinked passed Crewe defender Ben Nugent but dragged his effort wide of the far post.
It was Crewe who were having most of the possession after a bright start from the Spireites, but were still struggling to create any chances.
Chesterfield had a great chance to double their lead, O’Shea picked up the loose ball from an Ian Evatt header and found Dieseruvwe who did well to beat two Crewe defenders but shot just wide.
The end of the first half was backs to the wall stuff as Crewe were beginning to put pressure on the Spireites defence.
Their persistence paid off and they got their goal as Fox smashed the ball home with a fantastic effort from the edge of the area. Ryan Colclough danced passed Liam O’Neil and put in a cross which found Adam King who headed onto Fox to drill home.
The home side had a glorious chance to lead the game, not once but twice before the break. George Cooper went one-on-one with Tommy Lee but the Chesterfield shot stopper came out on top, his save rebounded to Bradden Inman who should have done better from 15 yards with his effort going wide.
Into added time and Crewe again had another chance to take the lead. Cooper again at the forefront of things and curled his effort wide of the post.
Crewe began the second half like they ended the first, they were putting pressure on the Chesterfield's defence and Fox had the first chance of the second half but smashed the ball over.
With 57 minutes on the clock, Chesterfield retook the lead, O’Neil found Gardner with a cross and the midfielder volleyed the ball into the ground and it looped over Ben Garratt into the Crewe net to the deight of the away fans.
Chesterfield were beginning to get a foothold in the game and O’Shea created another chance for the Spireites but his effort from 25 yards went just wide.
The away side mustered up another attempt with Gardner and left back Dan Jones working well on the left side. Jones got into the box, tried to find Simons at the back post but the Crewe goalkeeper claimed the ball.
Very much like the first half, Crewe were beginning to dominate the game and they were putting crosses in at every opportunity but none of them finding a red shirt.
With opportunities limited in the second half, captain Sam Morsy decided to have an attempt on goal from 25 yards out but Garratt saved.
Crewe were straight down the other end on the counter attack with the lively Colclough running at the Chesterfield defence and found himself inside the box but Evatt blocked well.
Chesterfield saw the game out, managing to nervily nulify the home side. Gardner’s two goals sealed the win for the Spireties sending them back to Derbyshire with three valuable points.
Crewe Alexandra: Garratt (gk), Turton, Ray, Nugent Haber, Inman, Cooper (Saunders 82'), Fox (c), King, Kingsley, Colclough
Subs not used: Nizic (gk), Guthrie, Atkinson, Dalla Valle, Wilson, Ainley
Chesterfield: Lee (gk) - Jones, Evatt, Raglan, O'Neil - Morsy (c), Herd (Hird 71'), Gardner, O'Shea, Simons (Talbot 77') - Dieseruvwe (Gnanduillet 89')
Subs not used: Cairns (gk), Ebanks-Blake, Banks, Orrell
Crewe Alexandra: Fox 36'
Chesterfield: Gardner 8', 57'
Attendance: 4,053 (464 away fans)