Eoin Doyle scored twice as Chesterfield clocked up a first win in League One in eight attempts with a 2-1 victory over Barnsley at the Proact Stadium.
A goal in either half from the Spireites striker - his 18th and 19th of the season - put the hosts in to a comfortable lead before the Tykes struck back five minutes from time through Keith Treacy to set up a nervy finish.
But Chesterfield held on to put their winless league run to bed, record a first success over Barnsley on home soil in 12 years and make sure they are looking up rather than over their shoulder ahead of the trip to Crawley Town.
It had been a positive start for Chesterfield, who were searching for their first win in eight attempts in the league, with Jay O’Shea quick to get himself on the ball as the hosts looked for an early breakthrough to silence the travelling support.
They were given an early warning though of Conor Hourihane’s shooting abilities when the midfielder let fly from distance and forced Tommy Lee in to a smart save diving low to his right within the first three minutes of action.
The visitors to the Proact Stadium had started as brightly as their alternative selection of kit and the Tykes’ other in-form man, Sam Winnall, caused Ian Evatt and Charlie Raglan problems with his pace and movement.
It was typically end-to-end and Eoin Doyle and Gary Roberts linked up well before the latter swung in an inviting centre Sam Clucas was inches away from, with Barnsley’s Lewin Nyatanga well positioned to clear.
Chesterfield continued to press with a flurry of corners and when Dan Jones was sent charging down the left, his cross was met cleanly by Doyle whose powerful header lacked any direction and was easy for Ross Turnbull in the Barnsley goal.
There were more encouraging signs for the Spireites moments later when Doyle held off Peter Ramage, cut inside from the left but dragged his shot harmlessly wide of Turnbull’s right hand post, as the Irishman looked to add to the 17 he already has for the season.
Lee was called upon again to keep out Nyatanga’s back post header before a crowd of blue shirts cleared the danger when the ball was pin-balling around the six-yard box.
Chesterfield were getting some joy down the left and Evatt stole a march on his marker to meet Roberts’ centre but glanced a header over the bar before the deadlock was broken.
Doyle showed his composure in front of goal when he raced through to latch on to a ball over the top and lofted an effort over the onrushing Turnbull for his first league goal since Bristol City away on October 11.
Jimmy Ryan was booked for checking the run of Devante Cole immediately after the re-start, his fourth of the season, and when Hourihane’s delivery was cleared by Darikwa Chesterfield broke with pace.
Roberts and O’Shea combined to release Ryan through the middle, who in turn found Doyle. The Irishman advanced to the edge of the box, looked for Clucas but over-hit the pass and the move fizzled out.
Tendayi Darikwa was soon in the book for a full-blooded 50-50 challenge with Dudgeon.
Lee then produced a vital stop to deny Hemmings who was put through on goal, checked past the recovering Evatt and Jones before getting his shot off. The Spireites keeper spreading himself and making the save with his legs.
Doyle blazed over moments before he got his second of the game from a similar position inside the penalty area, the striker twisting and turning before dropping his shoulder and slotting the ball across Turnbull and in to the bottom corner.
Ollie Banks was replaced by Ritchie Humphreys on the hour before Barnsley made a couple of changes with Marcello Trotta on in place of James Bailey. Trotta fed an inch-perfect ball through to Cole but Lee again stood strong and made the save at his near post.
And, from the resulting corner kick, Darikwa was perfectly placed inside the near post to clear Luke Berry’s goal-bound header from under his own cross bar.
Barnsley substitute Keith Treacy rattled the stanchion behind the goal as his drive flew inches past Lee’s left hand post. Nyatanga almost inadvertently directed Doyle’s fizzing cross past Turnbull as the game swung from end to end.
Treacy then set up a nervy finish for the hosts when he was on hand to sweep the ball in to an empty net five minutes from time after Dudgeon’s cross was partially cleared by Jones and Winnall kept his head to find the unmarked midfielder.