The Spireites started their 2016 away campaign with a fine win at Spotland as Gboly Ariyibi shone in a 3-2 victory, before the winger received a hardly-believable late red card.After an opening full of attacking Spireites intent, Jay O'Shea gave the visitors the lead when he finished off a superb move involving the brilliant Gboly Ariyibi and Lee Novak by keeping a calm head and finishing in the box.
Sam Morsy could have doubled the away lead approaching the hour, but instead a block came in and Dale broke to equalise, Donal McDermott's cross clinically headed home by Ian Henderson.
The lead was restored on 78 minutes when Dan Gardner's quality saw Novak able to direct home from close range and it was soon three when Sylvan Ebanks-Blake made the most of defensive indecision to burst through and score.
Man of the match Ariyibi receieved a second yellow card that looked beyond harsh for what was judged to be a dive in the Dale penalty area late on, with Rhys Bennett's late header not affecting the points distribution.
A cagey start by both sides saw an even opening 20 minutes to the match with Calvin Andrew coming closest for the home side when he saw his 30-yard free kick drift just wide of Tommy Lee’s top corner.
The Spireites however took the lead in the 26th minute with a fantastic goal from O’Shea, who added to the two goals he scored against Shrewsbury Town in last week's 7-1 win.
The ball was played out to Ariyibi, who was giving Michael Rose a torrid time; he put the afterburners on to beat him and find Novak in the box who in turn laid off O’Shea who then sold his man with a dummy before rolling the ball into the far corner.
Five minutes later the away side thought they had a second goal when again Ariyibi beat his man, this time Tom Kennedy who had replaced the lost-looking Rose, fired a ball in and Novak stuck it away but he was adjudged to be in an offside position.
Ariyibi himself had a great chance to double the lead when he found himself in space inside the Dale box, but his left-footed effort went wide of Josh Lillis’ goal.
Peter Vincenti then came close for the hosts seven minutes before the break when he met a McDermott freekick, but his header was straight at Lee.
The Spireites again thought they had doubled the lead when Ariyibi this time did score via a deflection inside the box, but long after the players and fans had started celebrating the assistant judged that he was an offside position - much to the dismay of the travelling fans and the visiting bench.
The second half started with an immediate chance for Charlie Raglan to double the lead but he couldn’t make firm contact with a header from inside the six yard box.
The home side then upped the ante with a succession of corners and got their reward just before the hour mark when captain Ian Henderson met a McDermott cross to slide the ball past Lee in the Spireites goal.
The home side continued to press the visitors' goal and Chesterfield relied on counter attacks as their main outlet and had a chance in the 69th minute when Ariyibi charged up field with the ball, found Sam Morsy who’s shot was always rising.
The Spireites second goal of the game came in the 78th minute through Novak after fantastic work from substitute Gardner.
He picked the ball up on the left-hand side and beat his man superbly before firing in a low cross that Novak managed to react to and meet to divert the ball home.
The celebrations had only just died down when Ebanks-Blake put the game to bed two minutes later, defensive indecision from Jimmy McNulty led to Ebanks-Blake being through on goal and he finished with aplomb to put the Spireites 3-1 ahead.
However, the drama wasn’t over as the ever-impressive Ariyibi was judged to have dived inside the Rochdale area by the referee and was sent off for a second yellow card, much to his team-mates' dismay.
Substitute Bennett pulled a goal back for the home side in stoppage time when he headed home a corner to make it a grand stand finish, but the Spireites held out to record a fine away victory.
Rochdale: Lillis (gk) - McNulty, Lancashire, Vincenti, Lund, Andrew, McDermott (Mendez-Liang 76'), Allen (Bennett 49'), Rose ( Kennedy 30'), Cannon, Henderson (c)
Subs not used: Rafferty, Alessandra, Noble-Lazarus, Diba Musangu (gk)
Chesterfield: Lee (gk) - Donohue, Hird, Raglan, O'Neil - O'Shea (Gardner 70'), Morsy (c), Herd (Banks 64'), Ariyibi - Novak, Ebanks-Blake (Dieseruvwe 89')
Subs not used: Chapman (gk), Harrison, Simons, Maguire
Rochdale: Henderson 58', Bennett 90+4'
Chesterfield: O'Shea 26', Novak 78', Ebanks-Blake 80'
Attendance: 2,695 (504 away fans)