Bogey side Burton made it five games against the Spireites without defeat.
Despite almost total domination in the second half, Paul Cook’s Chesterfield could muster only a single goal, a Marc Richards header, to level Jacques Maghoma’s pre-break strike. However, Cook will have to negotiate the last three fixtures of 2012 without Jack Lester, who was stupidly sent off in injury time.
The home side had 16 shots to three and 13 corners to two and thr Spireites also hit the woodwork on three occasions, Burton once.
Chesterfield, who’d won their previous four league games, played out a first half described by their manager as “abysmal”. Despite that tag, they created plenty of chances but did lose their way and allowed Burton to enjoy far too much of the ball.
Gary Rowett’s side had come to the Proact to spoil, and they did it extremely well.
Cook named a side that was unchanged from the one that destroyed Port Vale a week earlier but Luis Boa Morte reported a hamstring problem in the warm-up, so Brennan Dickenson stepped into the void.
Dickenson showed his pace in the opening minute but, after a storming run, his cross was poor and much of the opening period was played in that vein by the hosts.
Burton’s Lee Bell rattled the bar from a 30-yard free-kick and soon after the visitors nicked the lead in classic route-one style. Keeper Dean Lyness hit a goalkick, Calvin Zola nodded on and Maghoma got the better of Drew Talbot before sliding the ball low beyond Tommy Lee.
Jay O’Shea, on his home debut, miscued from a corner but his shot still found a way through to hit the inside of the post and Richards saw a header blocked on the line by Bell. The Spireites ended the half with three more corners, taking their 45-minute tally to nine.
‘Get it wide’ was Cook’s half-time message and Richards almost got in straight from the re-start.
From then on, almost all of the play was in Burton’s defensive third. Tendayi Darikwa’s goalbound shot was headed over, Randall’s exquisite free-kick hammered the post, Nathan Smith had a couple of efforts go really close and Richards headed onto the upright from Sam Togwell’s cross.
With Lester on, the deserved leveller came. Randall received from a throw and picked out Richards whose header this time was spot on, his third goal in his last three home starts.
In time added on, Zander Diamond fouled Lester and the striker’s response was foolish, wrestling the defender down to the ground right in front of the referee, who had no option other than to give the signal that means a three-match ban.
Cook said: “In the second half, I thought we were absolutely fantastic.”
Chesterfield (4-2-3-1): Lee 6, Talbot 6, Hird 7, Cooper 7, Smith 7, Randall 8 (Clay 90+2), Togwell 8, Darikwa 6, O’Shea 7 (Townsend 85), Dickenson 6 (Lester 70, 5), Richards 7. Subs (not used): O’Donnell, Whitaker, Forbes, Boden.
Burton (4-5-1): Lyness 7, O’Connor 7, Holness 6, Diamond 7, McCrory 6, Taylor 7 (Kee 85), Weir 7, Maghoma 8, Dyer 7, Bell 7, Zola 7 (Richards 85). Subs (not used): Atkins, Webster, Stanton, McHrath, Palmer.
Bookings: Hird (Chesterfield); Bell (Burton).
Off: Lester (Chesterfield).