Chesterfield came away from Mansfield with a point.
With so much at stake - bragging rights, local pride - both managers underlined the importance three points would have for either side.
Chesterfield were looking to reclaim top spot in League Two while rivals Mansfield wanted to further themselves from the drop zone.
Around 1,500 Spireites packed into Field Mill to cheer their side on and they were almost treated to an early goal through Richards.
The striker chased what seemed to be a lost cause as Tafazolli appeared to be in control. His header sold keeper Marriott short, and Richards nipped in.
Richards rounded the onrushing keeper and went to slot the ball into an empty net only for Tafazolli to redeem himself and clear from under his own crossbar.
The game settled into a typically scrappy period between two sides unwilling to give their opponent an inch during the opening exchanges.
Periods of possession were rare to come by in what quickly became a heated contest - picking up from where they left off earlier in the season.
Beevers went close for the hosts when he sent a left-footed shot narrowly wide of Lee’s left hand post after he was first to Kearns’ headed clearance.
Mansfield had a half-hearted appeal for a penalty turned down when Dempster went to ground under close attention from a cluster of blue shirts.
Roberts and Kearns continued to switch sides from left and right in an attempt to stretch the Stags’ central three defenders.
Kearns, on loan from Peterborough United, whipped in a corner that Banks got his head to but was unable to direct it towards goal.
The danger wasn’t cleared and Kearns forced another corner when his shot was deflected behind. Richards then shot over from an angle.
Banks tried to catch Marriott out from halfway but the home keeper backtracked and saved comfortably under his own bar.
Richards was eager to make up for his earlier opportunity and the former Port Vale man controlled and spinned on the ball before he was brought down by Dempster.
The defender was booked and Roberts tested Marriott with the resulting free-kick. The winger sent a curling, dipping shot from 25 yards that the keeper held with ease.
Lee had to watch Murray’s shot all the way when the experienced midfielder’s shot from the edge of the box appeared to dip under the nose of the Spireites keeper.
Bennett, a half-time substitution for Banks, almost made an immediate impact for Chesterfield when he was slipped in by Morsy. The teenager, on loan from Derby County, side-stepped his marker but blazed wide of the target under pressure from Dempster.
Spireites piled on the pressure and Bennett was central to the attack once more when he outjumped Dempster to meet Kearns’ cross.
The ball fell for Darikwa eight yards out but the make-shift right-back skied his effort into the travelling Blue Army behind Marriott’s goal.
Stags were resorting to hitting it long for their two front men; Palmer and Rhead were a physical test for Evatt and Cooper.
Clucas and Meikle replaced Dempster and McGuire for the hosts. Clucas was inches away from connecting with Murray’s delivery.
Bennett brought an impressive reaction save from Marriott after Roberts had found room on the edge of the penalty area.
Mansfield flooded forward and Palmer almost got lucky after his first effort was blocked, but Cooper threw himself in the line of fire.
The danger wasn’t fully cleared and when the ball was knocked forward Clucas went close with a diving header from the edge of the box.
The game began to open up with chances at either end. Roberts stung the finger tips of Marriott after he latched on to Doyle’s knockdown.
A combination of Humphreys and Lee kept the Stags out after Clucas had not one but two bites of the cherry from six yards out.
Substitute Gnanduillet tested Marriott with a dipping free-kick from fully 30 yards before Bennett wriggled free before he fired straight at the Stags keeper.
Palmer wasted a glorious chance to give his side all three points from eight yards when he skewed his shot wide of Lee’s left hand post.