Chesterfield came from behind to knock Notts County out of the Johnstone's Paint Trophy this evening at Meadow Lane.
Karl Hawley's scored his first goal since January, 2010 gave County the lead at the interval. Chesterfield had earlier been reduced to 10 men, when Lee Johnson upended Alan Judge with a high challenge.
On 64 minutes, the Spireites equalised from Mark Randall's long-range hit, which emulated Hawley's earlier goal. Four minutes after, Dean Morgan made it 2-1 with a deflected finish into the bottom corner.
Jordan Bowery added the visitors' third of the evening on 77 minutes, rounding off the scoring. Lee Hughes was denied by the woodwork in the latter stages of the match and County were unable to find a way back into the match.
Martin Allen made a host of changes for the Johnstone's Paint Trophy clash with the aim of giving his fringe players a chance to stake a claim for the first team. The Magpies lined up in a 4-3-3 formation, which had Hawley spearheading the attack, with Judge and Ishmel Demontagnac either side of him on the flanks.
In a slow start to the match, the visitors were the only ones to threaten. Notts had failed to clear their lines and Mike Edwards had to produce a sliding challenge to block Morgan's low hit.
Edwards wasn't on the pitch much longer, because of a head injury that saw him withdrawn and Sam Sodje introduced in his place. Pearce, Edwards' defensive partner, was also withdrawn shortly after, following a knock to the ankle.
Chesterfield were down to 10 men on 22 minutes, when Lee Johnson was shown a straight red. During an aerial challenge, the midfielder's foot connected forcefully with Judge's head and the referee wasted no time in showing him the card.
Notts tested the away goalkeeper, Greg Fleming, for the first time on 25 minutes. Hawley controlled well and rolled into the path of skipper for the evening Ricky Ravenhill, who stung the palms of Fleming with a stunning half volley.
Moments later, neat link-up play between Thompson and Judge down the right wing almost gave the Magpies the lead. Judge fired a cross towards the back post, narrowly evading the head of Charlie Allen.
Chesterfield, despite being a man down, still looked a threat and Bowery's low hit from the edge of the box required Stuart Nelson to produce a low parry. Centre-back Dean Holden then forced another good save from the County keeper with a thumping header.
On 43 minutes, Notts broke the deadlock in spectacular style through Hawley. The forward made room for himself with some clever footwork, before curling into the top-right corner from 25 yards out.
During four minutes of added time, the forward almost added a second. After receiving the ball from Judge on the edge of the box, he turned cleverly and cleared the bar with a placed finish.
Bowery fashioned the Spireites' first effort of the second period by making room for himself in the area. He then drilled towards the bottom corner but Nelson was equal to it with a low save.
In the 57th minute, Demontagnac burst inside from the right and unleashed a powerful shot from distance. The ball dipped in front of Fleming, who dived to his right to push clear.
County dictated much of the play but it was the visitors that struck next. Similar to Hawley's first half goal, Randall picked out the same top corner from range, leaving Nelson with no chance.
Just four minutes after the leveller, Chesterfield went in front. Morgan's tricky run wasn't closed down, and his grounded effort deflected of Bencherif, before creeping inside the post.
Jordan Bowery opened up a two-goal deficit on 77 minutes. Morgan was this time the provider and enabled Bowery to head home from close range with a chipped centre from the by-line.
Lee Hughes had been introduced from the bench following Chesterfield's second goal and he thought he'd pulled one back. Sodje flicked on judge's free kick and the striker rattled the bar with a thunderous half volley.
Craig Westcarr came off the bench against his former club in the dying stages to a standing ovation from the home faithful. He delivered the final attempt at goal during four minutes of added time, bending just past the post.
Attendance: 2,293 (466 away supporters)
Man of the Match: Curtis Thompson