Goals from Gary Roberts and Sam Hird clinched the points for the home side in an open game that was full of chances at both ends.
Michael Smith was denied four times by Chesterfield goalkeeper Tommy Lee who made a brilliant double save from the striker minutes before Roberts ghosted in at the back post to put away Jay O'Shea's cross in the 30th minute.
Hird sealed the points when he headed in a Roberts cross but Wimbledon still had chances late on although Ardley had no complaints with the outcome.
"We wanted to come here and have a go," he said. "I could have tactically shut-up shop and I think we would have given them a tighter game if I had gone down that route.
"But I had a chat with the boys and I think we deserved to have a go given our recent form and I would have regretted it more if I hadn't. I think clearly the best team won and that's the benchmark for us now.
"I said to the boys that next time we play them can that gap be a bit tighter? We had chances but all in all the best team won the game and I've no complaints about the result.
"I've learned we are where we are, that's one of the best teams in the league if not the best and we are not there as a team in the way we pass and move, our work ethic at times is not where there's is and they are things we aim to put right."