A first half Adam Thompson decided matters at Roots Hall as the Spireites lost their SKy Bet League 1 game 1-0 away at Southend United.The hosts opened the scoring when the Spireites were unable to clear their lines following a corner and defender Thompson smashed home.
A more even second half followed, but the Spireites were unable to carve out the clear chance they craved to get themselves level.
Simon Cox had the first effort as Southend had the better of the early exchanges, his shot deflected wide for a corner on three minutes.
Cox again had another chance after a swift counter attack from Southend, his 20 yard effort was well blocked by Jon Nolan.
The Shrimpers took the lead on 29 minutes when Thompson smashed the ball into the roof of the net as the ball pinballed in the area and the Spireites failed to clear.
Southend were buoyed by their goal and could have gone two to the good three minutes later when Anthony Wordsworth’s freekick was headed just wide by Nile Ranger who was a constant handful in the first half.
Chesterfield went to the other end in search of an equaliser. Gboly Ariyibi did well to beat his man and get into the box where his low cross was cleared to Liam O’Neil, making his return from injury, but his powerful shot was blocked by the back of the defender which prompted muted claims for a penalty which the referee waved away.
The Spireites' best chance of the first half chance came on 38 minutes when a ball over the top saw Kristian Dennis through on goal. He got his shot off quickly as the keeper charged out but the deflection off Oxley was just enough to see the ball bounce wide. The resulting corner saw Tom Anderson head over.
Ranger was a real focal point and constant threat for Southend. The ball was crossed to the former Newcastle striker who knocked the ball down to Wordsworth whose low shot but went out for a corner.
From the resulting corner, Southend nearly scored a second with yet another header from Ranger who was this time denied by Ryan Fulton who pushed it away.
Ranger carried his form into the second half, this time threatening with his feet, picking the ball up from 20 yards out a firing in a low drive that went just wide.
The second half slowed down and became a tight midfield tussle. Danny Wilson bought on Reece Mitchell and Ricky German to try and add a bit of fire power on 60 minutes.
Southend’s change made a quicker impact. After a couple of promising runs, Jermaine McGlashan got to the by-line to cross for Ranger who volley just over the bar.
Southend were pressing to put the game to bed and almost did when Cox was running one v one with Sam Hird. His initial shot was blocked but the ball fell back to him and his shot was blocked again by Hird’s chest.
The Spireites hit back and should have equalised. Ariyibi crossed from the right which was spilled by the goalkeeper, Wilkinson reacted quickest but his shot was blocked dramatically on the line.
Chesterfield’s bad luck with injuries continued when Wilkinson limped off with ten minutes to go.
There were six minutes added on and the Spireites pushed but Southend stood firm and defended set pieces well.
The final chance came courtesy of Jon Nolan’s corner which was headed over by Anderson in what proved to be another frustrating afternoon for Chesterfield who return to the Proact on Tuesday to face Fleetwood Town.
Southend United: Oxley (gk) - Coker, Wordsworth, Thompson, Cox, McLaughlin (McGlashan 69'), Atkinson, Leonard, Demetriou, Ferdinand (c), Ranger (Fortune 77')
Subs not used: Smith, White, Mooney, King, Inniss
Chesterfield: Fulton (gk) - Donohue, Hird, Anderson, O'Neil - O'Shea (Mitchell 59'), Liddle (c), Nolan, Ariyibi - Wilkinson (Dimaio 81'), Dennis (German 59')
Subs not used: Allinson (gk), Evatt, Gardner, Graham
Southend United: Thompson 29'
Attendance: 6,284 (280 away fans)