CHESTERFIELD were far from their best but they did enough to see off a Northampton Town side to reinforce their promotion credentials.
They are now 15 points clear of fourth place with just 10 games remaining.
Craig Davies, guilty of an incredible miss early on, stabbed into an empty net just after the hour mark to give the lacklustre Spireites the lead.
Jack Lester was the architect of the opening goal, teasing the defence and forcing Chris Dunn into a fine save but the leading scorer was on hand to capitalise.
Soon after, Lester struck after a stunning run and cross from Scott Griffiths to open up a comfort zone.
John Johnson pulled a goal back for Cobblers eight minutes from time but John Sheridan’s side wound down time to bag the points in a largely forgettable match.
The effervescent Dean Morgan was missing after his groin flared up in training, Lester returned to the starting line up to cover whilst Mark Allott, after his ankle injury, was selected in place of Kieran Djilali, with Danny Whitaker moving wide left. Djilali appeared sooner than expected, replacing Derek Niven who picked up a nasty facial injury.
Gary Johnson picked the Northampton team for the first time. He awarded two new loan men their debuts, Jamie Reckord (Wolves) and Seth Nana Ofori-Twumasi, known simply as Nana, borrowed from Peterborough as they entered the game on the back of an eight game winless streak.
Davies conjured up the miss of the season after four minutes. Lester took advantage of a slip up by keeper Dunn and crossed in for his strike partner, four yards out and in front of an open goal. But somehow he managed to scoop the ball on the volley over the bar with the goal at his mercy.
Soon afterwards, Davies pressured Dunn into another error, the loose ball ran to Whitaker whose low drive was hacked off the line by John Johnson. From then on the first half fizzled out and only a deflected shot by Shaun Harrad and a Kevin Thornton long ranger that flew wide were worthy of note.
It took until the hour mark for the Spireites to have any real sniff in front of goal. Djilali ran in from the left but shot wide from 20 yards with the game struggling to find any sort of rhythm but that injection of endeavour lifted the hosts who were soon two in front.
Michael Jacobs, scorer of two corkers at the weekend, forced Tommy Lee to save low with a strong, low drive ahead of Dean Holden and Allott having to make last ditch interventions to deny Jacobs and Harrad.
From the resulting corner after Allott’s clearance, Jacobs delivered from the left and Johnson flick headed in from the near post, Northampton’s first goal in four visits to Chesterfield, to give the leaders some nervy moments in the final exchanges.
Meanwhile, centre-back Rob Page has been released by mutual consent.
CHESTERFIELD: Lee 6; Talbot 6, Holden 7, Robertson 7, Griffiths 7; Smalley 6, Niven 6 (Djilali 32, 6), Allott 7, Whitaker 6; Davies 6 (Bowery 82), Lester 8 (Mattis 90+2). Subs (not used): Redmond, Boden, Lowry, Breckin.
NORTHAMPTON: Dunn 6; Nana 6, Johnson 7, Beckwith 7 (Tozer h-t, 6), Reckord 7; Jacobs 7, Osman 7 (Wedderburn 81), Thornton 6 (Laurent 66), Walker 6; Harrad 7, Holt 6. Subs (not used): Collis, Rodgers, Herbert.
Goals: Davies 63, Lester 69 (Chesterfield); Johnson 82 (Northampton).
Referee: Peter Quinn (Cleveland).