A single goal proved to be enough for Notts County to take all three points in a vital six-pointer at the top of League Two.
The result made it four wins and clean sheets on the bounce for Steve Cotterill's team. They now sit in fourth place in the standings, one point behind third placed Bury with three games in hand.
Ben Davies' stunning first half volley was the only strike in a hard-fought 90 minutes between two impressive outfits. It was the midfielder's 11th goal of the season and his second in as many games.
Before the players even descended onto the field of play, the importance of the match could be sensed all around. Both the away segregation and the Kop Stand were in fine voice for this local derby.
Enthusiasm in the stands appeared to filter onto the pitch from the first whistle in an exciting, end-to-end opening. Craig Westcarr, skipping past Alan Goodall on the right wing with great acceleration, provided a low centre that flicked off the heels of a rapidly encroaching Davies and away from danger.
A quick break towards the other end could have resulted in a goal for the visitors after this early scare. However, Davies had shown great determination to track back and flicked away a dangerous looking cross that was destined for the head of Simon Whaley.
The encounter continued at an exciting pace, both sides chasing down relentlessly and showing no signs of tiredness that would be expected from the recent fixture pileup. And it was Hughes' commitment in chasing down an awkward back pass that helped to break the deadlock.
Spireites goalkeeper Tommy Lee failed to clear and his defence was unable to rid the threat, allowing Neal Bishop to head inside. Controlling smartly just outside the area, Davies then rifled a stunning half volley into the bottom corner, sending the home ends into a rapturous frenzy.
Hughes almost found himself with an opportunity to add a second within two minutes following some dogged hassling inside the Chesterfield box by Westcarr. By scooping the ball forward with an outstretched leg, he paved the way for Luke Rodgers to fire across goal, where Hughes was waiting unmarked, but Allott hacked clear with desperation.
Westcarr almost grabbed one himself, too, meeting a bobbling ball 15 yards out. Utilising some smart footwork, without fully controlling, he managed to open up his body and fire narrowly over with his left boot.
The next 45 minutes looked set to be arguably County's biggest of the campaign and they almost got off to a flying start. Westcarr threaded in John Thompson, who cut inside from the right and hit a thunderous strike against the post.
Kasper Schmeichel had to remain alert, as well, and was nearly caught out by the tricky wide-man Whaley. Notts' number 23 had to quickly adjust his movement as Whaley's surprising volley headed towards his left side but he reacted quickly to grip the ball, low to his left.
The Magpies were definitely frustrating Chesterfield with another organised showing at the back. John Sheridan, the visiting boss, appeared to be feeling the effects and was sent to the stands for remarks made from the touchline.
As Notts started to get back on top again, Rodgers found himself with two fantastic chances to increase the deficit. His first bent disconcertingly and Lee did well to clutch the ball out of the air with both hands.
Moments after, Westcarr spotted Rodgers' inward run into the area and found him with an incisive through pass. Drifting past two defenders, the lively forward unleashed a stinging, left-footed drive that breezed just over the bar.
Within moments of being brought on, Delroy Facey crafted the next Magpies opening for Westcarr, with a neat pass into a clever, peeling run. He then shot across goal, where Davies forced a near post block from the watchful Lee.
From the resulting corner, Davies tested him again, almost catching him off guard. A fierce in-swinging centre led to the stopper fisting away as he frantically retreated backwards over his goal line.
It was undoubtedly a nervy ending to an entertaining encounter between the two promotion chasers. By holding the ball in the corner, Notts ran down the clock, leaving them in a great position heading into another crucial fixture against second placed Bournemouth.
Attendance: 7,341 (1,519 Chesterfield supporters)
The Big Wheel Man of the Match: Ben Davies
Notts County: Kasper Schmeichel, John Thompson, Mike Edwards, Graeme Lee, Stephen Hunt, Craig Westcarr (Clapham 87), Neal Bishop, Ricky Ravenhill, Ben Davies, Luke Rodgers (Facey 82), Lee Hughes (Hamshaw 90).
Substitutes: Russell Hoult, Jamie Clapham, Matt Hamshaw, Ade Akinbiyi, Ben Fairclough, Sean Canham, Delroy Facey.
Scorer(s): Davies 20
Yellow Card(s): Ravenhill 2, Davies 33, Bishop 45, Thompson 87
Chesterfield: Tommy Lee, Robert Page, Mark Allott, Derek Niven (Boshell 58), Alan Goodall, Barry Conlon (Boden 58), Ian Breckin, Dan Gray (Whing 67), Drew Talbot, Wade Small, Simon Whaley.
Substitutes: Mark Crossley, Kevin Austin, Danny Boshell, Scott Boden, Andy Whing, Gary Madine, Craig Clay.
Yellow Card(s): Gray 10, Conlon 54, Goodall
Report by Dane Vincent