Chesterfield and Peterborough United played out a hugely entertaining game at the Proact this evening, with both teams scoring three times each.
Sylvan Ebanks-Blake, Kristian Dennis and Dion Donohue all scored for the Spireites, however it was not just the hosts in a free-scoring mood, as a strike from Tom Nichols sandwiched between a brace from Craig Mackail-Smith saw Peterborough notch three of their own.
Chesterfield had made four changes from their weekend draw with Shrewsbury as they looked to end a run of four matches without a win against the Posh.
Osman Kakay, Jon Nolan, Dan Jones and Rai Simons all returned to the line-up as Gary Caldwell switched to a 4-3-3 in the absence of injured captain Ian Evatt.
Donohue asserted on Monday that his side could end their goal scoring woes and so too it proved with the returning Simons sparking the Spireites early lead. The forward’s direct running was too much for the Posh defence and he cut inside to set up Ebanks-Blake (4) on the edge of the area, which the striker duly finished.
Peterborough, known for their free-scoring style of play, were not to be outdone, Mackail-Smith (7) slipped his marker and poked home a cross from Brad Inman just three minutes later.
Having gone behind so early, Peterborough’s comeback was completed within 10 minutes, Paul Taylor charged down the right wing and fired a low ball in-towards Nichols (17) who took a touch and powered the ball past Thorsten Stuckmann.
Donahue threaded a ball down the channel to Ebanks-Blake who controlled superbly, cut inside and blasted at McGee, but his shot deflected off a defender and trickled wide.
Taylor had troubled the Spireites in the reverse fixture and was proving a handful once more. The forward bustled his way past Jones and whipped a cross into the box that was headed clear by Tom Anderson, Taylor picked up the rebound and this time shot, but it bounced wide.
Dennis (27) then drew the scoring level for the third time; Donohue’s free-kick was looped into the back post, headed across the box by Sam Hird and thrashed home by the striker.
The reverse fixture had seen seven goals shared between the sides in 90 minutes and this match had five in half an hour as Mackail-Smith (30) beat his marker and past Stuckmann.
A slick interchange of passes between Donohue and Connor Dimaio released Dan Jones down the right and he swung the ball low for Dennis, but the striker was beaten to it by Michael Smith.
The game showed no sign of calming down as Mackail-Smith worked himself into the hosts box, the striker twisted and turned but couldn’t get past the sea of blue and white who thrashed clear.
Desperate for a first hat-trick since returning to Peterborough in January, Mackail-Smith charged at the Chesterfield back four, the striker dropped his shoulder and cracked a shot from 20-yards that drifted narrowly over the bar.
The match had its sixth goal before the hour mark, Ebanks-Blake cushioned down a bouncing ball and laid it to Donohue (54), who laced it into the top right corner.
Neither side were resting on their laurels, and Jones raced down the left for the hosts, his cross deflected off a defender and into the path of Dennis but he could only snatch at a shot that failed to trouble McGee.
Having received the ball on the edge of the area Jon Nolan curled a ball for Donohue that caught the Posh defence off-guard, the defender lashed at goal but it hit a defender and sailed wide.
Ebanks-Blake broke free for Chesterfield and went one-on-one with McGee; the forward flicked it around the stopper, he then tried to pull the ball back to Simons but the Posh defence cleared.
With a goal looking likely from every attack the sides both tried their luck from distance, Mackail-Smith, Dimaio and Forrester all saw long-range shots narrowly miss.
David Faupala and Dan Gardner took to the field as Caldwell’s men looked to snatch a win and the latter had an almost instant impact, his viscous strike forced McGee into an excellent save.
With the match drawing to a close, Mackail-Smith had two further attempts to take both his hat-trick and the win for Peterborough, but was called offside for the first and struck the woodwork for the second.
Chesterfield: Stuckmann, Jones (Mitchell), Hird (C), Ebanks-Blake, Dimaio, Nolan, Donohue, Dennis (Gardner), Simons (Faupala), Anderson, Kakay.
Subs not used: Fulton (gk), Angel, Grimshaw, Rowley
Peterborough United: McGee, Smith, Hughes, Bostwick, Tafazolli, Baldwin, Forrester (C), Taylor, Mackail-Smith, Inman, Nicholls (Morais).
Subs not used: Tyler, Anderson, Binnom-Williams, Penfold, Samuelson, Grant.