A late double from two Spirites subs saw Chesterfield defeat Portsmouth 2-0, and move top of the League Two table.
Holmes’ resulting flag kick was whipped in with pace and flicked the top of Smith’s head with a sea of blue shirts racing in at the back post.
The home side moved the ball quickly and Holmes, on the opposite side of the pitch, slid a neat pass into Agyemang’s feet. The powerful striker put the ball between Cooper’s legs and fired a shot towards the bottom corner of the net only for Hird’s sliding block to clear the danger.
The experienced front duo were giving Chesterfield problems early on but the visitors almost went ahead with their best move of the opening exchanges.
Roberts, playing in the hole behind the lone front man, played in Richards who confidently slotted the ball past Sullivan at his near post, but the linesman’s flag ruled the forward had gone a fraction to early and was offside.
A flowing move from left to right involving Humphreys, Roberts, Ryan released Talbot down the right flank. The Spireites’ skipper attacked the left back East before rolling the ball inside to O’Shea who had to take a touch and dig a shot out that Sullivan batted away.
Pompey had a big shout for a penalty moments later when Connelly, who already has four this season, went down, but both referee and linesman were unmoved.
Smith made a nuisance of himself at the other end when a one-two with Humphreys saw the defender to the byline. His pull back looking for Richards was toed away by Bradley before the hosts cleared their lines.
Holmes was beginning to have more of an impact on the game and the winger latched on to a short pass from Morsy to Cooper. Holmes advanced towards goal but Cooper timed his interception to perfection.
Richards looked to take full advantage of a brief sight of goal at the other end when Roberts rolled the ball back to him, but the in form striker skewed his shot wide of the mark under pressure.
The hosts failed to test Lee after a period of sustained pressure that saw Connolly tee up Ertl, whose shot from the edge of the area was deflected behind for a corner.
Portsmouth had another shout for a penalty ignored when Connolly went to ground after he’d sold Cooper a dummy inside the area. The referee was again unmoved and as the play continued Hird went down in an off the ball incident which resulted in Connolly being sent off.
Chesterfield looked to make their man advantage pay when Richards lofted a ball to Humphreys 10 yards from Sullivan’s goal, but the ball didn’t settle for the experienced utility man and East covered to clear the danger.
The referee, Stephen Bratt, and his assistants were predictably booed at half time.
Portsmouth were handed the first effort on goal in the second half when Ferry was tripped 25 yards from goal. Holmes stepped up but never got hold of it and the ball hit the Spireites’ defensive wall.
O’Shea unleashed a powerful shot that was always rising over Sullivan’s goal after a neat move from the visitors saw the Irishman find space on the edge of the area.
There was yet more confusion resulting from a Portsmouth player going to ground in the penalty area, when Holmes looked to have been tripped. The referee put the whistle to his mouth as though he was about to blow for a foul but instead gave a throw-in, much to the annoyance of 15,000 Pompey supporters who let their frustrations known.
Cook introduced another striker in the form of Gnanduillet, who replaced Smith, as Chesterfield went in search of a goal. O’Shea saw a dangerous cross blocked by the sliding intervention of Ertl after an interchange with Talbot.
Doyle looked as though he had beaten the Pompey back line when he chased Gnanduillet’s flick on but Devera recovered to close the door as the Irishman shaped to shoot.
It was going to take something special to break the deadlock and the host’s centre half Bradley almost provided it with a mazy run from half way. Bradley beat a handful of half-hearted tackles before making his way into the penalty area and worked Lee.
The Spireites stopper spilled the ball though a combination of Lee and Humphreys prevented Portsmouth from taking the lead with Barcham closing in.
Doyle shot wide of the mark before he set up Gnanduillet for his second goal in as many matches.
The Irishman swung in a precise cross from the right that the Ivorian rose unchallenged to power a header home from 10 yards out with Sullivan rooted to the spot.
Pompey brought on Craddock in one last throw of the dice and the forward dragged his shot wide of Lee’s right hand post before the fourth official announced there would be four minutes of added time to play.
Fellow substitute Darikwa was sent clear from Gnanduillet’s header and slotted the ball into the bottom corner of the net with the aid of a slight deflection to make the points safe.