John Sheridan made three changes to the side that won at Southend last time out, reverting to the core of the side that has tended to start home matches recently. Simon Ford took the place of the departing Jack Hunt at right-back, so Dwayne Mattis dropped back into the centre of defence. Derek Niven came into the side to start in central midfield. Craig Davies returned up front to displace Deane Smalley, while Jack Lester came in for Ian Morris as the midfield reverted to a "four."
Allott robbed Mousinho after nearly gifting him the ball and drove forward to find Davies, whose powerful cross was held by Day in the opening minute. Niven fired narrowly over on 10 after Talbot was tackled on the edge of the box. Chesterfield saw most of the possession in an energetic opening ten but found their opponents resolute. Talbot shot from the edge of the box after being fed by Lester on 19. Roberts was shepherding Lester well but left Jack unattended on 22 to challenge the unmarked Davies; Davies spotted Jack's unaccustomed freedom and tried to find him with a first-time pass that Day just got to before Jack. Davies fired a shot over from short range on 24 when surprised, perhaps, that the ball reached him at all.
Chesterfield won the game's first corner on 28 but the cross into the box was defended well. Stevenage matched that with a corner of their own off Robertson on 31 but Bostwick was pulled up for a foul as the cross came in. Bostwick did better two minutes later with a shot that Lee went full stretch to save, for the visitors' second corner; Laird headed this out at the near post.
Davies slipped his marker to sidefoot at goal on 36 but Day did enough as the ball passed him to keep the ball out. Chesterfield took the lead on 42 when DREW TALBOT cut in from the right along the penalty area line before shooting left-footed, low and to the goalkeeper's left, into the corner of the Stevenage goal. Talbot very nearly had a second at the far post from Lester's cross but Laird threw himself in bravely to block for a corner. Niven got in front of a Bostwick shot from around 25 yards and Lee's yellow arm came above a ruck of players to punch the cross away as the halftime whistle went.
Chesterfield 1 Stevenage 0. Attendance: 6219 (204 from the Boro.)
Stevenage had reshaped to 4-4-2 during the first half but Darius Charles came on for Peter Winn to reinforce that change as the second half commenced. Chesterfield won a corner within seconds of the half starting; Whitaker's kick was flicked on by Breckin and air-kicked by Talbot. At the other end Lee saved a Stevenage shot and Robertson was first to the loose ball, clearing to safety.
A lovely Davies ball set Talbot free but his cross was palmed away by Day with Lester lurking. Laird was booked for a foul on Talbot after 51. Talbot gave a foul away in a dangerous spot on 57 and the resultant cross was defended well by Robertson, despite his being fouled as he tried to work it away. At the other end, Lester took a Davies pass and saw a shot blocked; the rebound came to Davies, who fired narrowly wide. Stevenage came forward through Wilson, whose cross produced a shot that Lee saved with a spectacular dive, holding and keeping the ball.
Mattis was harshly judged to have handled the ball just outside the box on the hour, but the free kick was wasted. Chesterfield broke and Davies fired a shot towards the near post; Day anticipated and saved. Davies won a corner of Chesterfield on 64 ; played short to Allott, Breckin rose well for the midfielder's cross but a touch took it off his head for another corner, that was cleared.
Lester worked Laird well to win a corner on 77; Davies scissor-kicked but the shot was blocked. The game had developed into an open, entertaining one as Boro came in search of an equaliser, but that wasn't what a subdued home crowd wanted to see. While even the most ardent home fan couldn't have begrudged Boro an equaliser for their effort, there was a slight difference between the sides in the quality of the end-product, and this caused as many visiting raids to break down as the Spireites' resolute defending did.
Charlie Griffin replaced Stacey Long for Stevenage on 74. Chesterfield made their first substitution when Smalley replaced Davies a minute later. A slip by Day went straight to Smalley some forty yards out but his second touch showed the surprise he felt, and Day was able to recover.
Mousinho was booked for pole-axing Niven as Stevenage pressed hard for an equaliser. The home crowd took up the challenge and audibly upped their support for the Spireites, urging them towards victory. Mattis fought hard to clear at the expense of a corneron 81. Chesterfield won a corner on 84 A quickly-taken free kick was fired in by Whitaker and Day punched clear.
Stevenage's last substitution saw David Bridges replace Mark Roberts. Lester kept possession well and found Whitaker, who curled a shot wide as stoppage time entered the third minute of four. Whitaker was booked for a foul on Wilson; Mousinho crossed but Talbot hacked the ball into an appreciative East Stand. Home hands went up in celebration as the referee brought the match to an end.