Gavin Gunning's first-half free-kick was enough to see our four-match winning run come to an end.
The midfielder's cross flew through a crowd of bodies and beyond Luke Pilling on an afternoon when we failed to get firing at Meadow Lane.
Neal Ardley made two changes to the side that beat King’s Lynn Town in midweek. One was enforced as the suspended Jordan Barnett made way for Calvin Miller at left back, while Elisha Sam took the bench-bound Jimmy Knowles’ place up top.
And, shortly after Jake Reeves had sent a volley over the top, Sam tried his luck with a lob over onrushing keeper Grant Smith only to send the ball off-target.
Our bright start continued when Enzio Boldewijn supplied Ruben Rodrigues on the edge of the area but the Portuguese couldn’t keep his shot down either and the Spireites breathed another sigh of relief.
The visitors then began to get a hold of the game, Jack McCourt firing a low effort wide before Akwasi Asante flicked a header on to the roof of the net.
Shortly afterwards, Connell Rawlinson made an excellent last-ditch challenge to divert Marcus Dinanga’s shot wide.
But Chesterfield were firmly in the ascendancy and got the goal they deserved shortly after the half-hour mark when Miller was booked for a cynical foul on George Carline in a wide position and Gunning’s subsequent free-kick flew threw a crowd of bodies and fizzed up of the turf beyond Pilling.
We had no response before the break and reemerged for the second half unchanged, Kyle Wootton nodding Boldewijn’s cross over before Rodrigues saw a shot blocked by Will Evans shortly after the restart.
It was proving to be a much-improved performance but Pilling had to remain alert to save low down from Dinanga before holding the ball at the second attempt.
While we were enjoying greater control of the game in the second period, chances were at a premium and on 73 minutes Ardley sent Knowles on for Sam in a bid to sniff out an equaliser.
But the next big chance fell to the visitors, who saw Asante fire wide of the near post moments before Maguire lifted a shot over the bar after progressing into our area.
Ardley’s next change saw Inih Effiong replace Miller late on, with six minutes of added time giving us hope.
But, with the game stretched, Chesterfield should have made it 2-0 with the last kick of the game when substitute Adi Yussuf went one-on-one with Pilling only for the keeper to make a strong save.
Notts starting XI: Pilling; Miller (Effiong 87'), Rawlinson, Lacey, Kelly-Evans; Rodrigues, Doyle, Reeves, Boldewijn, Sam (Knowles 73'), Wootton
Unused subs: Turner, O'Brien, Wolfe