Chesterfield made a disappointing start to life in League Two with a 3-1 defeat at home to Grimsby Town.
There was plenty of effort and chances created by the Spireites, but missed chances and defensive lapses cost them dearly in a game that ended with both sides down to 10 men.
Ian Evatt and Zac Mills were given second yellows late on in an eventful and fractious end to the afternoon.
For Chesterfield, the damage was done in the first half as they went 2-0 down despite having clear cut opportunities to find the net themselves.
The first of those chances fell to Gozie Ugwu, who controlled Dion Donohue’s fine cross on his chest and attempted a bicycle kick that was blocked.
And the first yellow card followed, on just four minutes, Donohue scything down the pacy Sikiri Dembele on the touchline.
Chesterfield should have been ahead inside the first six minutes, Robbie Weir’s ball forward finding Ugwu who linked up with Chris O’Grady and received a clever pass 15 yards out before bringing a fine save from James McKeown.
The Mariners were struggling to contain O’Grady in the early stages and when he skipped away from two tackles he was able to whip in a cross that Ugwu chested down for Louis Reed, the loan man sending his shot just past the post.
Grimsby’s best chance of the first 15 minutes came through a quick break, stretching the hosts before Sam Jones’ cross found Scott Vernon - Sam Hird blocking the front man’s shot on the line and somehow doing the same to keep out Sam Kelly’s follow up.
There was a let off for the visitors at the other end, Jordan Sinnott driving at the heart of the Grimsby defence and playing a sublime one-two with Reed, going clean through on goal only to see McKeown beat away his shot.
Grimsby sent their huge following support into raptures with the opening goal on 33 minutes, troubling Town with a quick break and earning a corner that was swung to the back post where Nathan Clarke outmuscled his marker and headed home.
The Spireites looked for an instant response, Weir finding the run of O’Grady who controlled, turned to lose his marker but slipped over as he shot, McKeown gathering comfortably.
And things got even more critical for the home side when they let Dembele run from deep in his own half all the way to the final third where he simply played in Sam Jones, who finished calmly past Joe Anyon.
Chesterfield began the second half well, Kristian Dennis replacing Charlie Wakefield and getting straight into the action, albeit scuffing a shot wide.
But had it not been for a vital tackle by Scott Wiseman, the hosts would have fallen three behind - Kelly haring clear after the ball broke forward and shaping to pull the trigger before Wiseman’s intervention.
And then it was Anyon’s turn to keep the score 2-0 with a brilliant full stretch save, palming Clarke’s free header round his left-hand upright.
Chesterfield had a spell of relentless pressure, winning corner after corner as Grimsby defended manfully, McKeown having to tip an O’Grady header over the top.
That spell became the second half in almost its entireity, the Spireites setting up camp in the Mariners’ half but seeing shots blocked, corners headed away and final balls cut out.
For a moment, the comeback looked on, when a corner was headed back across goal, Dennis got hold of it, spun and found the net.
But almost straight from kick-off, Grimsby attacked, the ball broke to the feet of Harry Cardwell and as he attempted to score, he was fouled from behind by Evatt. His second yellow of the afternoon saw him sent off, before Ben Davies blasted the spot-kick past Anyon.
The game threatened to boil over in the final minutes, Zac Mills given his marching orders after clashing with Dennis, who was then yellow carded for a rash tackle seconds later.
Six minutes of time added on failed to help Chesterfield, the momentum having been sucked out of the game by Grimsby’s third and the sending offs, and the final whistle was celebrated by the 2,690 away fans.
Chesterfield: Anyon, Wiseman, Donohue, Evatt, Hird, Weir (McCourt 80), Sinnott (Brewster 69), Reed, Wakefield (Dennis 46), Ugwu, O’Grady. Not used: Lee, Maguire, Barry, Mitchell.
Grimsby Town: McKeown, Mills, Dixon, Clarke, Collins, Dembele (Davies 75), Kelly (Summerfield 55), Rose, Berrett, Jones (Cardwell 79), Vernon. Not used: Killip, Osborne, Bolarinwa, Keeble.
Ref: Eddie Ilderton. Assistants: Anthony Moore, Richard Wigglesworth.
Goalscorers: Dennis 82; Clarke 33, Jones 40, Davies 84 (pen)
Yellows: Donohue 4, Evatt 71, 83, Dennis 90; Rose 71, Mills 87, 87
Red: Evatt 83; Mills 87
Attendance: 7,925 (away 2,650)