Goals from Ollie Banks and Marc Richards sent Chesterfield back to the top of the League Two table ahead of Saturday’s fixtures.
The blustery conditions at St James Park caused problems for both teams in the opening exchanges.
Tendayi Darikwa almost caught out Artur Krysiak, in the home side goal, with a cross-come-shot which the keeper was able to push behind diving back into his goal.
Chesterfield adapted better to the conditions and a long ball forward from the visitors’ keeper, Tommy Lee, exposed a glaring hole between the Exeter centre-halves. Richards latched on to it but the ball wouldn’t come down in time for the striker to make a clean connection and his effort was well saved by Krysiak diving low to his left.
The hosts came back in to it and Tom Nichols looked particularly lively with a neat turn away from Ian Evatt before he was crowded out by a sea of blue shirts.
David Wheeler wasted a couple of chances and Liam Sercombe fired over from the edge of the area after a dangerous looking break, but the half ended with Lee not having to make a save.
The Spireites would be disappointed to go in level but they soon got their rewards early after the re-start when Banks rose to head in Callum McFadzean’s corner.
Scot Bennett came narrowly close to an equaliser moments later when he headed just wide of Lee’s right hand post with the keeper rooted to the spot.
Richards had another sight of goal when he found space six yards out but could only direct his header at Krysiak.
And the striker made the most of his next chance when he confidently slotted in from eight yards after a flowing move from the visitors.
Exeter peppered the visitors’ goal as they desperately tried to find a way back in to the game, but the Spireites’ defence stood firm.
Jay O’Shea could have made it three when he twisted and turned late on and forced a good save from Krysiak at his near post.
Exeter (4-4-2): Krysiak 7; Butterfield 6, Bennett 6 (c), Moore-Taylor 5 (Baldwin 68), Woodman 6; Wheeler 5 (Grimes 68), Gill 5, Sercombe 6, Davies 5; Parkin 5 (Gow 56), Nichols 6.
Subs not used: Pym, Baldwin, O’Flynn, Gosling, Keohane.
Chesterfield (4-4-2): Lee 6; Talbot 7, Evatt 7 (c), Hird 7, Humphreys 6; Darikwa 7, Banks 7, Togwell 6, McFazdean 6 (Gnanduillet 60); Richards 6 (Brown 75), Doyle 8 (O’Shea 86).
Subs not used: Mason, Morsy, Devitt, McSheffrey.
Goals: Banks 48, Richards 70.
Bookings: Gnanduillet 90; Butterfield 90.
Referee: Carl Berry (Surrey).
Attendance: 3,449 (138).