Chesterfield battled to a creditable draw with promotion chasing Bolton Wanderers this afternoon and ended a run of successive defeats.
The away side were fantastic in the first half and had three big chances to take the lead. Bolton improved in the second half and nearly won it right at the death, with the Spireites having to survive the last couple of minutes with ten men as Jon Nolan was sent off, but Gary Caldwell’s team deserved their draw.
The Spireites began well and looked comfortable in the early exchanges. They had a couple of positive moments and had the first effort, when the ball fell to Nolan at the corner of the area with his low shot stinging the hands of Mark Howard in the Bolton goal.
Bolton started to control the ball and had their first opportunity in the 18th minute when Filipe Morais skipped passed Dion Donohue and crossed for Dean Moxey, whose shot was blocked by Sam Hird.
Chesterfield then had another good spell and came closest to opening the scoring.
Paul McGinn and Nolan linked up well on the right and the midfielder cut the ball back to Dan Gardner on the edge of the area, he tried to bend the ball into the bottom corner but the keeper was equal to it.
Bolton created very little in the first half as Gary Caldwell’s team had control for the majority of the half.
Adam Le Fondre tried an overhead kick but it barely troubled Thorsten Stuckmann’s goal.
The Spireites looked the more likely, and came close again when Donohue burst down the left hand side, his low cross just missed Kristian Dennis and Joe Rowley and was turned behind five minutes before the interval.
Chesterfield were really pushing before the break. Gardner showed great skill to beat two men and launch a shot towards goal which was spilled by Howard.
The ball then fell to Kristian Dennis who’s attempted tap in was well blocked by the recovering keeper.
Connor Dimaio then tried an audacious shot from 35 yards and wasn’t far away. The Blues were by far the better side in the first half after an excellent 45 minutes.
The first opportunity of the second half went Bolton’s way when Josh Vela’s cut back almost found Le Fondre but McGinn did well to clear the ball for a corner.
They came close again when Darren Pratley tried to hook the ball in from six yards out but it was straight into Stuckmann’s hands.
Chesterfield had to withstand a series of crosses and corners for 15 minutes in the second half but stood firm, and Stuckmann had little to do. With efforts from Moxey and Le Fondre sailing high and wide.
Caldwell’s men continued to frustrate Bolton as the game went into the dying minutes but started to drop a lot deeper.
The referee added five minutes and there was mayhem in the Chesterfield penalty area, as two shots were blocked on the line by Laurence Maguire and Tom Anderson.
Nolan was then given a second yellow for a late challenge but Chesterfield held on. Despite a positive result, the gap stretched to 11 points and attentions turn to a huge game against Port Vale.
Bolton Wanderers: Howard, Moxey (Henry), Dervite, Beevers, Vela, Spearing, Long (Clayton), Pratley (C), Morais, Wheater, Le Fondre
Subs not used: Turner (gk), Karacan, Osede, Wabara, Wilkinson.
Chesterfield: Stuckmann, McGinn, Hird (C), Gardner (Grimshaw), Dimaio, Nolan, Donohue, Dennis (Simons), Anderson, Maguire, Rowley (Ebanks-Blake).
Subs not used: Fulton (gk), Martinez, Mitchell, Beesley