Kevin Keegan had no complaints after Fulham were denied the Division Two title for now, and two club records, after Chesterfield stunned the champions’ elect at Saltergate this afternoon.

Victory would have been enough to clinch the title, and would also have given Fulham a ninth straight win and extended their unbeaten run to 16 games. But Keegan’s expensively-assembled outfit couldn’t match a Chesterfield side who thoroughly deserved their win and were only denied an even more impressive triumph by Fulham keeper Maik Taylor.

Keegan said: “You are only ever one game away from defeat but it’s still very disappointing. You have to give Chesterfield an enormous amount of credit. They put everything into the game and were worthy winners.”

Fulham will be crowned soon enough, but yesterday they lacked sparkle and authority. Geoff Horsfield and Barry Hayles got no change from Mark Williams and Paul Holland, while Chris Coleman and his defenders had their hands full with Jason Lee and David Reeves.

Lee would have scored in the first half but for a marvellous close-range save from Taylor. Even the Northern Ireland international couldn’t stop Jamie Hewitt breaking the deadlock in the 77th minute. Reeves chested down a cross from Lee and Hewitt lifted his shot over the keeper from 15 yards.

Fulham must now wait until Wednesday night against Millwall for another opportunity to make sure of the title.

CHESTERFIELD TOWN (3-5-2): Mercer; Williams, Breckin, Jules; Holland, Ebdon, Perkins, Beaumont, Hewitt; Reeves, Lee (Blatherwick 85). Subs (not used): Carss, Howard.

BOOKED: Williams.

GOAL: Hewitt (77).

FULHAM (5-3-2): Taylor; J. Smith, Brevett, Albert, Symons, Coleman; Hayward, Smith (Peschisolido 70), Finnan; Horsfield, Hayles. Subs (not used): Morgan, Lehmann.

BOOKED: Hayward.

REFEREE: Chris Foy (St. Helens)