Chesterfield’s hopes of retaining their English Football League status have been handed a real boost with a 3-1 win over local rivals Notts County at the Proact Stadium.

Sid Nelson, Zavon Hines and Kristian Dennis got the goals for Jack Lester’s men as they made a mockery of the league standings to grab an unexpected three points.

Notts County registered the first shot on target of the match but home keeper Aaron Ramsdale was equal to Shaun Brisley’s header.

Chesterfield’s first chance produced a goal when in the 16th minute a corner kick found its way to Nelson who bundled the ball into the net from close range. It could have been even better for the Spireites had Dennis’ header been more of a threat for Notts County keeper Adam Collin.

A minute later, Chesterfield did get their second when Dennis’ shot deflected into the path of Hines who fired in from 10 yards. The winger almost doubled his goal tally three minutes later but his strike across goal went over as the half ended 2-0 to the hosts.

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Hines had Collin worried again just after the restart but his vicious strike hit the side-netting before Alex Whitmore headed an effort just wide of target.

The visitors were finding clear cut chances hard to come by with Jon Stead’s shot failing to come anywhere near troubling Ramsdale while Kellett’s fizzing strike sailed over the bar at the other end. Notts County really should have reduced the arrears a little over 10 minutes before the end but Stead was caught offside after Jorge Grant had successfully charged down a Chesterfield clearance.

The Magpies did get their goal six minutes from time when Dan Jones’ curling free-kick evaded everyone to creep into the far corner of the net.

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That goal didn’t deter the home side from pushing for a third goal and Dennis saw a shot deflected wide before Collin did well to keep a Jacob Brown header out of the net. Substitute Jak McCourt also went close as the Spireites displayed plenty of mental toughness.

The neutrals would have thought that Chesterfield were the side searching for promotion and deep in nine minutes of stoppage time the Spireites made it 3-1 when Kellett was fouled in the box and Dennis stuck away the resulting penalty kick.

It could turn out to be a huge win for Lester’s men who are now just three points behind 22nd placed club Grimsby Town in the table.