Chesterfield snapped their four-game losing streak with a 2-1 win over promotion hopefuls Swindon Town.
Results elsewhere didn’t go their way and the gap to safety remains five points, but victory may be a much needed shot in the arm for Jack Lester’s relegation threatened side.
They scored early in both halves but had to hang on tight after the Robins pulled one back with 15 minutes left, despite a red card for visiting midfielder Ollie Banks.
It took Swindon and former Town man Marc Richards just 17 seconds to register a shot at goal, his speculative volley from distance clearing the bar by a long way.
Chesterfield’s first shot, if you could call it that, brought the opener.
Andy Kellett got the ball from Drew Talbot on the left, jinked out of a couple of tackles and played a dangerous ball across Reice Charles-Cook, who could only parry it into the midriff of Chris O’Grady and watch in despair as it found the net.
Referee John Brooks drew the ire of the hosts by awarding several early free-kicks to Swindon, a number of which were wasted but the most contentious of all, for a Drew Talbot foul, saw Matt Taylor bring a fine save from Aaron Ramsdale.
There wasn’t a great deal in the game for the majority of the first half and little in the way of clear cut chances for either side.
Neither of the men who began the afternoon wearing captains armbands completed the half, Swindon’s Ollie Lancashire limping off to be replaced by Chris Robertson, Chesterfield skipper Robbie Weir looking in real trouble after an innocuous challenge, Jak McCourt replacing him.
In the final minutes of the half Richards should have brought Swindon level, but when a corner wasn’t cleared and dropped to him on the penalty spot, he lashed well over.
Having looked a little toothless going forward, the Spireites doubled their lead with a clinical, lightning counter attack.
Zavon Hines started the move deep in his own half, fed McCourt and he sent Kellett away down the right, the little loan man cutting back inside and curling the ball low past the dive of Charles-Cook.
The crossbar came to Town’s rescue on the hour mark when, with Louis Reed down injured, the visitors attacked the right channel and ex Chesterfield man Ollie Banks’ shot was deflected onto the woodwork.
Kellett had a big appeal for a penalty turned down when he appeared to be dragged to the turf inside the area, having dinked the ball over a defender and tried to collect it.
And at the other end, Richards had his head in his hands after he got up above Brad Barry at the back post but somehow headed wide.
Life got a lot harder for Swindon when Banks went in late and high on Reed and saw a deserved red card.
But three minutes later they were back in the game, Barry giving away a free-kick on the touchline that Taylor curled in brilliantly for Rollin Menayese to power home a header.
Unlike in previous games this season, there was no late collapse and Town stood up well to Swindon’s pressure.
Six minutes of time added on did little to calm the nerves inside the Proact, but the Spireites wound down the clock in a professional manner to secure victory.
Chesterfield: Ramsdale, Barry, Talbot (Binnom-Williams 80), Nelson, Whitmore, Weir (McCourt 35), Reed, Dodds, Kellett (Rowley 86), Hines, O’Grady. Subs: Jones, Dennis, Maguire, Brown.
Swindon: Charles-Cook, Purkiss, Lancashire (Robertson 28), Menayese, Knoyle, Gordon (Woolery 59), Banks, Anderson (Norris 59), Taylor, Mullin, Richards. Subs: Moore, Dunne, Iandolo.
Goalscorers: O’Grady 2, Kellett 51; Menayese 75
Yellows: Barry 90; Norris 78
Reds: Banks 72
Ref: John Brooks. Assistants: Michael Denton, Wayne Grunnhill.
Attendance: 4,668 (451 away)