Chesterfield slipped off top spot in League Two after a 2-1 defeat to John Sheridan’s Plymouth Argyle.
Reuben Reid put Plymouth ahead in the first half before Ritchie Humphreys pulled the Spireites level at Home Park.
But their joy was short-lived and a solo effort from Reid gave the hosts the points to move them into the play-off picture.
Rochdale edged a point ahead of Paul Cook’s Chesterfield after they ran out 3-0 winners at Northampton Town.
It was a scrappy start as Plymouth attempted to get in behind the Spireites at every opportunity with front pairing Lewis Alessandra and Reid willing runners.
Andres Gurrieri had the game’s first sight of goal but couldn’t keep his half volley down before Reid tested Tommy Lee with a low drive from distance.
Chesterfield needed to get their foot on the ball and Jimmy Ryan soon took responsibility working in tight areas in the middle of the park.
Gary Roberts opted to take a touch rather than hit the ball first time when he was first to Jay O’Shea’s partially cleared cross and was crowded out.
Ollie Banks and Ryan tried their luck from range only for Jake Cole, in the Plymouth goal, to comfortably get his body behind both efforts.
Argyle were quick on the break and they took the lead when Reid latched on to Alessandra’s header and shot across goal into the far corner of the net.
The former Rotherham man could have had a second in as many minutes when he skipped inside Ian Evatt only to drag wide.
The Spireites responded and Evatt sent a header wide of Cole’s left hand post when he rose unchallenged to meet Roberts’ left wing free-kick.
Reid was a nuisance all evening and he had another sight of goal just before the interval which he blazed high over the bar from eight yards.
Chesterfield enjoyed much more of the possession and Richards showed his attacking prowess when he forced Cole into a smart save low to his left.
The visitors’ lone front man probably should have levelled moments later when he flicked Tendayi Darikwa’s cross on to the bar from two yards out.
Spireites kept the pressure on and, when the ball dropped to Humphreys 20 yards from goal, the defender smashed a low shot which took a deflection beyond Cole.
Reid evaded a couple of challenges and unleashed a powerful shot which flew beyond Lee into the bottom corner to restore the hosts’ lead.
Plymouth’s speed was demonstrated once more when Obadeyi showed Cooper a clean pair of heels, turned Evatt only for Lee to dive bravely at his feet to block.
Substitute Dan Kearns was causing problems for Matt Parsons and from his cross Richards was marginally away from making contact to pull Chesterfield level.
Lee was called into action once more to prevent former Spireite Neal Trotman’s glancing header while substitute Eoin Doyle forced a strong save from Cole.
There was still time for Lee to make another crucial stop to deny Conor Hourihane from close range before Richards was again agonisingly close to Ryan’s cross at the other end.
Plymouth (3-5-2): Cole; Blanchard, Trotman, Nelson; Gurrieri, Young, Wotton, Hourihane, Parsons; Reid (Morgan 81), Alessandra (Obadeyi 35)
Subs: Dawson, Harvey, Thomas, Banton, Purrington.
Spireites (4-2-3-1): Lee; Darikwa, Evatt (c), Cooper, Humphreys; Morsy, Ryan; O’Shea (Kearns 61), Banks (Bennett 61), Roberts (Doyle 69); Richards
Subs: Dunbavin, Smith, Hird, Gnanduillet.
Goals: Reid 28, 58 (Plymouth); Humphreys 57 (Chesterfield).
referee: Oliver Langford (West Midlands).