City 3 Chesterfield 2

Joe Colbeck and Chris Brandon are promoting City’s new season-ticket blitz with a tongue-twisting blurb on the radio about the credit crunch Christmas cracker.

But on the day the club unveiled their latest cut-price brainwave, the best advert was going to be what happened on the pitch.

Actions always speak louder than words, so on last night’s evidence, expect a stampede for the Valley Parade box office in the next few weeks.

Four years ago, Chesterfield had stunned City by coming from two down with 20 minutes left to win 3-2 – the last time they had got anything from this corner of West Yorkshire.

But this was City’s chance to return the favour, recovering from a stumbling start to make it six points out of six from four profitable days with a dramatic victory.

Two behind after just 23 minutes, they fought back to notch a breathless third win in four thanks to a 73rd-minute penalty from Barry Conlon – his 100th league goal.

City had begun at half-pace against Rotherham on Saturday and got away with it. This time they were not so lucky.

Once again they stumbled out of the blocks – and Chesterfield seized the advantage by scoring in the third minute.

It was a horribly sloppy goal to concede as Dan Gray’s long throw sailed unchallenged to Jamie Ward in the penalty area. With City slow to react to the danger, he shielded the ball for strike partner Jack Lester to fire through the exposed Rhys Evans.

And it could have got worse ten minutes later when Matt Clarke made a hash of a long through-ball from Aaron Downes. The big centre half allowed Ward to nip in between him and Evans and breathed a huge sigh of relief as the striker’s shot rattled the advertising board just the wrong side of the left post.

It was certainly the open game that had been predicted, with both teams looking to attack.

Having drawn three on the trot, Chesterfield had come for the win to close the gap on the play-off places.

Omar Daley, who was given a roaming role behind the front two, nearly burst through but was thwarted as he shaped to shoot by a perfectly-timed tackle by Downes.

Chesterfield’s passing and movement was posing serious problems for City and they came again, with Ward tormenting the home defence before picking out Darren Currie for a curler which didn’t miss by much.

That proved to be a sighter for Currie, who promptly let fly again with a ferocious drive which was deflected off Graeme Lee’s outstretched boot and over the diving Evans to double City’s misery.

City had to respond – and they did within six minutes. Michael Boulding cut inside menacingly and saw a shot charged down before Barry Conlon was shoved in the back inside the D. With no Paul McLaren, Lee assumed free-kick duties and blasted the ball over the wall and into the roof of Trevor Carson’s net.

The skipper had made amends for his unfortunate intervention a few moments before. More importantly City were in the contest at last and had the crowd back on side.

Chesterfield were rattled and Alan Goodall and Robert Page were both carded for pulling home shirts.

Daley volleyed wide and then Nicky Law was left clutching his head as Carson palmed his effort behind. But City’s frustration was only temporary as Daley worked the corner to Law, whose cross was firmly nodded in by Michael Boulding.

It was bubbling up into a cracker. City, second best for the first 20 minutes, were now hunting a third before the break and Boulding tested Carson at his near post.

Ward and Lester were proving a handful for City’s centre halves but Chesterfield’s found it just as tough with Boulding, in particular, playing his best half in a claret and amber jersey.

After a five-goal first half in the last home game with Barnet, the punters had to settle for four. But there was the promise of more goals to come and City had the momentum behind them.

Boulding had the taste for it and twice almost scored again in a frantic opening to the second period.

First his flick from Luke O’Brien’s cross flashed across goal and then he latched on to a wonderful pass by Barry Conlon but screwed the ball off target with Carson scrambling.

Conlon fired high and wide before Daley went much closer from 25 yards. Then a glancing header from Lester produced an anxious home moment as both teams continued to go at it in a gung-ho fashion.

Ward fed Lester, whose well-timed run took him away from Evans but the angle proved too much as he clipped the side-netting.

With half an hour to go, it was a brave man who could pick a winner.

Daley was roaming with intent and delivered a dangerous cross from the left that was almost turned into his own net by the sliding Downes.

Unfortunately, the Jamaican’s evening was soon over as he limped away after trying one more ambitious effort from way out. Peter Thorne entered the fray, finally pitting the division’s two deadliest strikers in direct contact.

Ward, who had netted seven in the previous seven games, was pushing to extend that run as he cut inside but the ball ran away from him and he made it a hat-trick of Chesterfield bookings after a late lunge on Kyle Nix.

With 18 minutes left, one of those yellows turned to red as Goodall took Law’s legs away in the box. Conlon, not Thorne, stepped up to take the penalty and nonchalantly chipped his seventh goal of the season.

Despite now finding themselves a man and a goal down, Chesterfield regrouped and City were grateful to the strong left arm of Evans for denying Lloyd Kerry. City thought they had a fourth when Thorne reacted smartly to turn home Conlon’s shot. The goal music blared but the substitute was in an offside position.

There was still three nervous added minutes to negotiate and Lester blazed over the angle before City could finally celebrate.