Chesterfield were given a late jolt when, after leading through Marc Richards’ goal, a Scunthorpe goal from Luke Waterfall rained on their victory parade.
Despite the winter conditions at the Proact Stadium, Chesterfield started the game with a noticeable spring in their step.
Richards looked like a man on a mission as he wrestled free of his marker to win the race to Devitt’s inswinging corner but the striker, on his return to the first team following injury, headed over under pressure.
Spireites looked to exploit the full width of the pitch early on with O’Shea being told to hug the touchline nearest the dug-out, under the instructions of manager Paul Cook.
And it didn’t take long for one of Chesterfield’s more creative players to exploit the space.
Devitt picked the ball up on halfway and went on a galloping run to the edge of the 18-yard box that attracted three defenders, he shifted the ball left and when Waterfall miscued, RICHARDS was on hand to sweep the ball into the corner of the net first time.
The lively Devitt, full of confidence following his hand in the opening goal, advanced down the left and played a weighted ball in to the path of the charging O’Shea. The Irishman pulled the ball back across the six yard box but Slocombe smothered ahead of Richards.
The visitors were slowly finding their feet and some neat one-touch passing caused confusion inside the Chesterfield penalty area only for Humphreys to be on hand to concede a corner.
Winnall tested Lee with a header from Esajas’s deep cross to the back post. The former Sheffield Wednesday winger unleashed a crisp drive from 25 yards that was comfortable for Lee.
Waterfall was a matter of inches away from making a connection from Esajas’s inswinging corner, Chesterfield didn’t clear and when a resulting cross was nodded back into the mix, Winnall volleyed over from inside the area.
The hosts responded when Ryan was first to a loose ball and forced a corner. Richards was again first to the delivery at the near post but, like earlier, his header went harmlessly over the bar.
Former Scunthorpe man, Ryan dragged a shot wide of Slocombe’s right hand post after a flowing move presented the midfielder with a rare sight of goal. Roberts was next to shoot wide after finding space on the edge of the area.
But there was danger for Spireites whenever Esajas was on the ball. The tricky winger twisted one way then the next to create an opening inside the box but Cooper was on hand to mop up before he got a shot off.
O’Shea forced a good save from Slocombe just before the break as Chesterfield went in to the interval one up.
In a scrappy start to the second half, chances were few and far between before Ryan sliced an effort well wide of the mark.
Devitt found space between defence and midfield and was allowed to turn before he unleashed a thunderbolt that Slocombe had to palm over the bar.
He went a little closer with his next effort, after O’Shea had been fouled, when he stepped up and sent a dipping free-kick towards the top corner that crashed against the angle of post and bar.
Scunthorpe piled on the pressure and almost drew level when Hawkridge’s free kick was nodded down by Waterfall in to the path of Byrne, who was just inches away from getting a connection.
Syers directed a long throw in to the hosts’ box that went narrowly wide via a slight deflection. The resulting corner came to nothing.
Chesterfield thought they had doubled their advantage just moments later when Roberts’ chip to the back post was inch-perfect for Richards to head home, but a linesman’s flag cut the celebrations short. Waterfall tested Lee with a header from Hawkridge’s corner.
Roberts was inches away from putting the game beyond Scunthorpe when his deflected cross skimmed the top of the bar with Slocombe well-beaten.
The equaliser did finally come when WATERFALL stole a yard in the penalty area to head in Hawkbridge’s free-kick from six yards.
Mirfin came close to putting Scunthorpe ahead when he was first to Dawson’s free-kick, but his header sailed just wide. Evatt had a chance to get Chesterfield back in front when he headed Roberts’s free-kick wide.