Chesterfield looked like surrendering top spot after failing to win in three attempts but Paul Cook's men rallied to beat nine-man Oxford 3-0 at the Proact Stadium.
Oliver Banks opened the scoring on eight minutes and Gary Roberts doubled the Spireites' lead from the penalty spot eight minutes later.
Any hopes Oxford harboured of forcing a draw disappeared when Tom Newey and Michael Raynes were both sent off in the last 10 minutes and Roberts duly rubberstamped the result in stoppage time.
Scunthorpe remained second and one point off the pace after overcoming Plymouth 2-0 at Home Park.
It took the Iron a while to make the breakthrough but, after Dave Syers fired home on 79 minutes, Jake Cole's own goal settled it.
There was a trickier challenge for Rochdale, who rallied from behind to down Accrington 2-1 at Spotland thanks to a brace from Matthew Lund.
The Dale midfielder cancelled out Piero Mingoia's opener and pounced in time-added-on to keep his club in third.
Chasing the top three hard are Fleetwood and the Lancashire side looked impressive when beating Portsmouth 3-1.
Goals from Jon Parkin, Antoni Sarcevic and Jamille Matt rendered Jed Wallace's effort for Pompey a consolation.
Burton could have been fourth if not for Darren Jones' last-gasp equaliser for AFC Wimbledon at the Pirelli Stadium. Billy Kee's first-half penalty had put the Brewers in the ascendant for most of the match.
North-east clubs York and Hartlepool continued their respective marches towards the play-off places by producing impressive home wins.
Josh Carson and Ryan Bowman earned the Minstermen a 2-0 win over 10-man Wycombe, who had Sam Togwell dismissed at the death, while Hartlepool put Bristol Rovers to the sword at Victoria Park.
There was no denying Pools all three points as Marlon Harewood, Brad Walker, Simon Walton and Jonathan Franks ran riot to guide Colin Cooper's men to within three points of seventh place.
Torquay suffered a setback in their battle to avoid the drop as Matt Richards' goal saw them leave Cheltenham as 1-0 losers and Northampton failed to fully capitalise on a home meeting with 10-man Mansfield.
Oliver Palmer gave the mid-table Stags the lead but Darryl Westlake's dismissal let Darren Carter in to grab a share of the spoils from a 1-1 draw.
Torquay are seven points shy of safety with 10 games remaining while Chris Wilder's Cobblers are two adrift.
Elsewhere, Medy Elito and Mark Hughes exchanged goals as Dagenham and Morecambe drew 1-1 and Southend lost substitute Barry Corr to a red card but held on to draw 0-0 at home against Bury.