CHESTERFIELD slipped to their fourth defeat in six matches on Tuesday night after they were beaten late on by a Fleetwood team flying towards the top of League Two.
The visitors to the Proact Stadium didn’t get off to a bad start either, and found themselves a goal up within the first five minutes through Steven Gillespie’s neat turn and finish from 20 yards.
Tendayi Darikwa levelled for the Spireites with a controlled volley from the edge of the penalty area just before half time.
But a late goalmouth scramble after Junior Brown’s effort had hit the post eventually saw the ball cross the line via Chris Atkinson to leave the hosts shell-shocked.
It could have been all so different for Chesterfield when just moments earlier substitute Craig Westcarr was sent through with just the goalkeeper to beat.
The striker took the ball in his stride but his shot was comfortably saved by the Scott Davies diving low to his left.
Caretaker manager Tommy Wright recalled Jack Lester to the starting line-up, for his 150th start for the Spireites, alongside Danny Whitaker in attack.
But it was Fleetwood who looked the more threatening going forward with Tom Barkhuizen and Jamie McGuire testing Richard O’Donnell after Gillespie had given the visitors the lead.
Luis Boa Morte almost forced an equaliser from a rare attack from the Spireites when his pull back was nearly put through his own net by Rob Edwards after the Portuguese winger had showed Youl Mawene a clean pair of heels down the left.
Fleetwood moved the ball well through midfield and the hosts were chasing shadows for much of the first half.
Then against the run of play Chesterfield drew level. Sam Togwell’s long throw was headed out only for Darikwa to volley past Davies diving low to his left.
Togwell’s shot from 25 yards then almost did the unthinkable and put Chesterfield in front but his powerful effort was equalled by Davies. Togwell and Atkinson then came close in a resurgent second half for the hosts.
Marc Richards was given a warm applause when he came on for Danny Whitaker but he lasted a matter of minutes before aggravating a hamstring injury.
And Fleetwood made the most of their opportunity late on where Westcarr had missed his.
The result leaves the Spireites seven points adrift of the automatic promotion places ahead of Saturday’s visit of former Holland international Edgar Davids’ Barnet.
SPIREITES: O’Donnell, Talbot, Ridehalgh (Smith 77), Hird C, Forbes, Atkinson, Togwell, Darikwa, Boa Morte, Lester, Whitaker (Richards 77, Westcarr 82)
Subs not used: Wilson, Evans, Randall, Trotman.