Two top-class saves from Chesterfield keeper Tommy Lee denied Stevenage a win that would have lifted them into the play-off places as the Spireites clung on to top spot at The Lamex Stadium.
New loan signing James O’Shea replaced Peter Winn after scoring in the reserves in midweek; this was the only change Graham Westley made from the team that drew with Morecambe.
Early on, Stevenage started as slightly the better side and retained the ball well in midfield without manufacturing too many chances.
The best chances of the half all came from the right hand side, with Lawrie Wilson crossing the ball in dangerously several times. The first of which saw Chris Holroyd waste his opportunity with a disappointing header and the next time the ball came in James O’Shea and Michael Bostwick get in each other’s way and Bostwick’s header went wide.
As the half wore on Stevenage continued to run Chesterfield ragged and a good move saw O’Shea set Long through. His pull-back found Holroyd but eventually came to rest on the edge of the area where O’Shea drove an effort towards the bottom left-hand corner of the net.
The shot looked to be careering into the corner before Lee threw himself down to pull off a spectacular fingertip save, pushing the ball round the post. O’Shea’s tricky dribbling proved hard to contain and he soon worked himself an opportunity after feigning a turn and getting into the area.
However, his dipping effort flew over the bar. With half-time looming and Boro needing to capitalise on their spell of dominance, there was still time for Laird to burst into the area and his low shot across goal was stopped fortuitously by Lee’s flailing arm and gathered at the second attempt. A few Stevenage players were unimpressed that Laird decided to go for goal instead of cutting the ball back.
Chesterfield came out a different side in the second half and worried the Boro defence on several occasions. Craig Davies almost put the Spireites in front but couldn’t direct his back-post header. Early on, Boro continued to look dangerous and Mousinho almost found O’Shea in a great position but the Irish winger couldn’t make a connection.
Shortly after, the ball landed at the feet of Michael Bostwick, whose fierce drive was seemingly heading unstoppably high into the net. However, Lee pulled off another save that left supporters from both sides in admiration as he flung himself across the goal to palm the ball over the bar, much to Bostwick’s disbelief.
This was closely followed by Chesterfield’s fans celebrating a goal when in fact Craig Davies had put his header into the side-netting as the Spireites counter-attacked.
Late on saw the introduction of fellow new signing Ben May and Peter Winn as Boro changed formation to give Holroyd more options up front; the second half had seen him pick up the ball in dangerous positions but have to wait for support, breaking up the flow of attacks.
O’Shea and Long, who both really impressed with their intelligent play and use of the ball, departed. While May did win some headers and get Stevenage into some dangerous areas, again the game petered out towards the end and Boro had to settle for another point that may be good on paper but will leave tinges of disappointment because it should have been much more.
Westley though was relatively happy with a point. "We knew before the game that this was going to be a tough challenge for us and that's exactly how it played out," he said.
"Chesterfield are very strong indeed this season and they're certainly going to be there or thereabouts towards the end of the season. It's not the end of the world but there's a few lessons to be learned and we'll take them all on board.”
Disclaimer: The views in this article are that of the writer and may not replicate those of the Professional Footballers' Association.