Match report: Salford City 3-2 Chesterfield FC - Late strike sees Spireites return home empty-handed
Chesterfield went home empty-handed after Danny Whitehead's 89th-minute strike condemned them to defeat against pre-season title favourites Salford City.
Zavon Hines and Marc-Antoine goals helped the Spireites come from behind twice after Adam Rooney and Carl Piergianni had scored for Salford.
But with the game heading for a draw, Whitehead smashed home from long range to leave the away side deflated.
Martin Allen made two enforced changes to the side that lost to Barrow in midweek as Laurence Maguire and new recruit Kyel Reid replaced the injured Sam Wedgbury and the suspended Jerome Binnom-Williams.
The visitors had the first chance of the game after six minutes, Charlie Carter denied by an excellent save from Salford goalkeeper Chris Neal after he let fly from just inside the box.
However, It was Graham Alexander’s side who took the lead on 19 minutes, Rooney, who controversially joined Salford in the summer from Aberdeen, got in behind the Spireites’ defence and slotted low and hard past Shwan Jalal.
Shortly afterwards the home side nearly made it two, when they got in behind the Chesterfield defence again, but this time Rory Gaffney hit the foot of post with Jalal well beaten.
With the interval approaching, Salford defender Piergianni’s wayward pass left his goalkeeper in trouble, Neal stopped the ball rolling over the line but only managed to hook it to Hines, who was on the spot to tap home the rebound from a yard out.
Chesterfield, who had lost Carter to injury by this point, went behind again as Piergianni made amends early in the second half, scoring with a powerful header from Danny Lloyd’s corner.
Just two minutes later the Spireites were level, after Fortune converted Hines’ low cross from the right.
With the game seemingly heading for a draw, up stepped summer signing Whitehead to give Salford all three points.
Salford City: Neal, Wiseman, Touray, Pond, Piergianni, Maynard, Lloyd (Mafuta 90), Whitehead, Rooney, Gaffney (Rodney 76), Walker (Hogan 66).
Unused subs: Crocombe, Haughton.
Chesterfield: Jalal, Hines, Evans, Reid, Weston, Maguire, Nelson (Shaw 90), Fortune, Talbot, Weir (Barry 86), Carter (Muggleton 49).
Unused subs: Anyon, Amantchi, Shaw, Barry, Muggleton.
Referee: Marc Edwards.