MK Dons were on the wrong side of a five-goal thriller as they went down 3-2 at the hands of Chesterfield.
Daniel Powell replaced Ryan Colclough in the starting XI while Chuks Aneke was on the bench for the first time after recovering from a long-term knee injury.
The Dons dominated possession and territorial advantage as they began the game well on top, which included a shot over the top from Ed Upson.
Shortly afterwards, Powell had the ball in the back of the net after latching on to Upson’s through-ball but he was adjudged to have been offside.
Ben Reeves and Samir Carruthers then shot off target in quick succession before the opening 15 minutes were out.
Chesterfield ever so slightly stemmed the tide as the game ticked past the midway point of the first half but the Dons were still in total control.
Not long after, the chances returned with Powell forcing a fingertip save from Ryan Fulton and George Baldock firing a left-footed effort wide of the target.
A Kieran Agard delivery was then blocked following a forward burst from Upson – Joe Walsh saw an effort deflected over the top from the resulting corner.
However, Chesterfield broke forward for the first time on 32 minutes and won a penalty when Reece Mitchell was adjudged to have been brought down by David Martin – former Don Jay O’Shea made no mistake from the spot.
The Dons responded immediately with a superb run from Powell, who beat two defenders and delivered a brilliant cross but none of his team-mates were in position to turn home, which is what the play deserved.
Agard fired a low drive not far past the left-hand post after Jake Beesley had threatened to make it 2-0 with a shot which clipped the woodwork.
In the final minute of the first half, it was the Dons’ turn to hit the post after Agard brought down Baldock’s cross, turned and fired goalwards, only to see it stay out.
However, they had Walsh to thank in injury-time as he put his body on the line to block O’Shea’s effort from 15 yards after the Spireites had countered.
The men from MK1 started the second half in quick fashion and a powerful run from Powell almost created a shooting opportunity but Ian Evatt was across to clear the danger.
Agard came close to catching out Fulton with an effort from a tight angle on 51 minutes as the Dons continued to look for an equaliser.
Dons’ No.14 again threatened five minutes later when he flicked a header just inches past the far post while, at the other end, Walsh blocked brilliantly to keep it at 1-0 as the game began to open up.
Ryan Colclough was introduced on the hour mark and he made an immediate impression, forcing Fulton into a smart save from close range after finding some space down the right.
The Dons continued to ask questions of the Chesterfield defence with countless balls into the box but they were struggling to find that killer instinct.
However, midway through the second half, they were deservedly level when the ball ricocheted back off Powell and found the net after Bowditch had cleverly headed the ball into his path.
Just six minutes later, the Dons hit the front when they kept a corner alive and Colclough’s 20-yard effort deflected past Fulton in the Chesterfield goal.
They weren’t ahead for long, though, as substitute Kristian Dennis was alert to a knock-down before smashing home from close range on 76 minutes.
Fellow substitute Dan Gardner then dramatically restored Chesterfield’s lead four minutes later, firing under Martin from 12 yards after Gboly Ariyibi had broken down the left and crossed.
Having recovered from a long-term knee injury, a great sight as summer signing Aneke was introduced for his Dons debut with 10 minutes to go, alongside George C Williams, as Barker went for broke.
Chesterfield somehow survived a goalmouth scramble and Fulton saved Jack Hendry’s header as the men from MK1 continued to push for an equaliser until the whistle but, ultimately, they couldn’t find one, leaving them still without that elusive first home league win of the season.
Starting XI: Martin; Baldock, Walsh, Hendry, Lewington (c); Upson, Carruthers (GC Williams 84); Agard (Colclough 60), Reeves (Aneke 84), Powell; Bowditch.
Unused subs: Nicholls (GK), GB Williams, Downing, Potter.
Goals: Powell (67), Colclough (73).
Attendance: 7,429 (207 away).