Spireites lead at the break but were overwhelmed by a strong Sheffield United in the second half, falling eventually to a 4-1 Proact defeat.
Jon Nolan gave the Spireites a dramatic and wonderous start when he cracked home Ched Evans's set-up with only 90 seconds on the clock, with Ian Evatt hitting the bar late on in the half.
Kieron Freeman headed the visitors level ten minutes into the second half and after Evans and Nolan were substituted injured John Fleck and Billy Sharp wrestled the match in the Blades' favour. Former Spireites loanee Leon Clarke wrapped things up with a fourth.
Chesterfield began on the front foot and got off to the perfect start. Evans did well on the left to find Nolan with space in box and he smashed the ball into the roof of the net as he picked the perfect game to bag his first Spireites goal.
Kieron Freeman proved a dangerous outlet as United’s best early moments came on the counter attack. His powerful low cross fell to Matt Done who tried to arrow the ball into the bottom corner but Fulton did well to turn the ball behind for a corner.
The Spireites continued to be positive going forward as Gboly Ariyibi found some joy on the right, he played a delicious ball low across the six-yard box but Evans was just a second to late as he arrived to get on the end of it.
Sheffield United grew into the game and saw a lot more of the ball but the Spireites were restricting them to shots from range as Lafferty’s 25-yard drive failed to trouble Fulton’s goal.
The Blades were getting closer to an equaliser as Mark Duffy managed to sting the palms of Fulton after 35 minutes.
Danny Wilson’s side could have gone into the break with a two goal lead when Evatt came agonisingly close, heading Jay O’Shea’s corner onto the crossbar on the stroke of half time.
The roles reversed in the second half as it was Chesterfield playing on the counter attack instead, with United pushing for the equaliser; Sharp had a shot saved before Chesterfield had their first breakaway. Gary Liddle won the ball on the edge of the box and sent Nolan galloping through the middle. Nolan turned provider for Evans with a brilliant through ball and the striker drove towards goal and he powered in a shot which was well saved.
The Blades then pressed even harder and got their equaliser on 54 minutes thanks to Kieron Freeman’s towering header.
The match really began to open up as both sides wanted to win it. Nolan again looked to return the favour to Evans as he slid the ball into the Welshman’s path and came close when his effort looked to be going in off the 'keeper but it was cleared off the line right at the death.
Chris Wilder’s team then should have taken the lead when Matt Done turned Freeman’s cross onto the bar and over on 66 minutes.
The Spireites lost Evans and Nolan to injury and they were replaced by Kristian Dennis and Ritchie Humphreys.
United then took the lead after Humphreys was dispossessed in the middle which prompted a quick, sharp counter attack. Fleck’s run was found and he scored the goal of the game with a brilliant drive from outside the box.
The away side instantly doubled their lead when former Spireites loanee Duffy crossed for Sharp to powerfully head the ball home from close range to make it 3-1.
It got even worse for the Spireites when another former loanee Clarke arrowed in a low shot into the bottom corner to put an end to any potential Chesterfield reprieve.
It looked certain that the team would end with a consolation when Dennis played a beautiful ball across for O’Shea who had a tap in from two yards out but he managed to poke it wide and a day to forget for Wilson against his former team.
The Spireites travel to Fleetwood Town on Saturday as they looked to climb off the bottom of League One.
Chesterfield: Fulton (gk) - Anderson, Evatt, Liddle (c) - Donohue, Dimao, Nolan (Humphreys 69'), O'Neil, Ariyibi - O'Shea, Evans (Dennis 65')
Subs not used: Allinson (gk), Mitchell, Simons, Maguire, German
Sheffield United: Moore (gk) - Fleck, Basham, Sharp (c), Done (O'Connell 78'), Wright (Clarke 68'), Coutts, Freeman, Ebanks-Landell, Duffy, Lafferty
Subs not used: Long (gk), Scougall, Lavery, Brown, Whiteman
Chesterfield: Nolan 2'
Sheffield United: Freeman 54', Fleck 72', Sharp 73', Clarke 81'
Attendance: 8,451 (2,761)