chesterfield, fighting relegation, had the boost of a win at Hartlepool.
Spireites went into the game still clinging on to the relegation precipice. Just! Defeat at Victoria Park would mean the finger-tip hold would be over and John Sheridan’s side having a go at winning the League Two title once more.
A draw will only be enough for the miracle to still be possible if either Walsall, who are at home to Tranmere or Leyton Orient, at Bramall Lane, fail to pick up points.
As for an away win here on the edge of the North Sea, that will mean Oldham need a point whilst Walsall and Orient both need wins to confirm Spireites return to the basement.
It’s probably easier to pick the winner of the Grand National and Chesterfield optimists, or more likely miracle hopers, will be remembering Mon Mome in 2009, a winner at 100-1.
A sparse looking crowd saw Collins slip and almost let in Mendy in the opening seconds. James earned a corner but Lee gathered the delivery with ease. Murray then slipped, again Mendy gathered, but he was crowded out before being able to deliver a shot.
The early moments were slow, almost reminiscent of a pre-season game. Bowery got on the end of a Juan ball but Austin made fine ground to slide in and clear. Hartley got on the end of Austin’s corner but the ball was simple for Lee to save.
Moussa picked up on the left and darted in but his shot took a deflection to loop up for Flinders to gather easily.
Lee had to fly right to palm away a Noble shot from the box edge. The resulting corner was cleared away by Ridehalgh ahead of Sweeney firing well wide as the game continued at a pedestrian pace.
Randall’s free kick earned Spireites first corner but United cleared Moussa’s delivery. Lee had to work well again to block a low Monkhouse shot from close on 20 yards. Westcarr nipped in the area but his shot was blocked.
Spireites fell behind on 37 when Noble made ground down the right and centred the ball in for LIDDLE to pirouette round and slot the ball home from close range.
Lee gathered from a Monkhouse header as the hosts found an extra gear as a result of their goal. An offside flag denied Westcarr as he was put through and the half ended with a Chesterfield corner, won by Mendy, but Randall’s delivery was a little deep and Talbot’s ball back in was dealt with.
Spireites started the second half with Westcarr up front in a 4-4-2 formation. Lee had to beat away a Noble shot from Horwood’s cross, Ford robbed Sweeney and Lee saved again from Noble as United began the period the stronger.
Boden and Whitaker came on for Westcarr and Juan. Sweeney blazed wide as Chesterfield struggled to find a way into the contest.
But on 58 the visitors were level. Bowery made ground on the right and crossed low for WHITAKER to rifle home first time from10 yards.
Horwood went close ahead of a glorious chance for Bowery but he hit high after being set up by Randall.
But it didn’t take long for the striker to make amends. Boden crossed from the left and, at the far post.
BOWERY headed home with 68 minutes on the clock to send the 206 travelling fans into ecstasy.
As the final exchanges were being played out, the visitors looked the more dangerous side.