Former Rochdale favourite David Perkins returned to haunt his old club as his strike gave Chesterfield a 3-2 victory.
An evenly-contested game swung the way of the visitors in the 25th minute when Jack Lester pounced on Ian Breckin's header to net from close range.
Three minutes later Wade Small released Lester through the middle and he outpaced Craig Dawson before sliding the ball past on-loan Manchester United goalkeeper Tom Heaton to double Chesterfield's lead.
Chris Dagnall had the hosts' best effort during the opening 45 minutes with a rasping drive from 20 yards that Tommy Lee palmed over his crossbar.
The home side were brighter at the start of the second half and pulled a goal back in the 49th minute when Chris O'Grady turned on the edge of the box before curling a shot wide of Lee.
Three minutes later Rochdale were level. Simon Whaley's corner to the back post was met by defender Dawson and his downward header crept over the line.
However Chesterfield hit back with Mark Little hitting the crossbar with a deflected 25-yard effort but another deflected effort from Perkins restored their lead with 63 minutes gone.
Despite a late rally from Rochdale, the Chesterfield backline held firm to secure three points.
Copyright (c) PA Sport 2009, All Rights Reserved.