Chesterfield 1, Stevenage 1
Chesterfield earned their first point of the season with a last-gasp equaliser from veteran striker Jack Lester.
Stevenage had taken a 40th minute lead through Darius Charles and even though they were reduced to ten men during the second-half - Michael Bostwick dismissed for a second bookable offence - they looked likely to hang on for maximum points.
But in the last of six minutes added on at the end, Lester headed in a Dean Morgan cross from close range to rescue Chesterfield from a third straight defeat.
Stevenage gained promotion last season with the Spireites but they won few friends at the B2net with their rough-house tactics and blatant time-wasting.
And such was the bad blood between the two teams that there was a bust-up in the players’ tunnel after the final whistle.
After defeats in their opening two games, it was important that Chesterfield got off the mark and the game’s first opportunity fell to Drew Talbot in the seventh minute.
He connected cleanly with a Danny Whitaker corner but his low shot from the edge of the penalty area was inches wide of Alan Julian’s right-hand post.
Talbot was looking dangerous wide on the right flank before Charles had a header pushed over the bar and Tommy Lee distinguished himself further by denying Bostwick with a great diving save.
Aaron Downes came close with a near post header from a corner but five minutes before half-time, the visitors took the lead.
Stevenage had been awarded a contested free kick just outside the Chesterfield penalty area and the goal stemmed from a corner gained after that set-piece play.
The flag kick was aimed deep at the far post and Bostwick headed it back into the danger area where Charles headed the ball into the roof of the net from a foot out.
Lester had a good header cleared off the line in the 42nd minute and just before the half-time whistle, he came close again.
Talbot teased the Stevenage rearguard with a weaving run on the right and Lester met his pin-point cross at the far side but his header clattered against the post.
In the 53rd minute Stevenage had the ball in the net for a second time, but the effort was ruled out for an offence in the build-up but Chesterfield were working hard to impose themselves and get on terms.
And they gained a helping hand when Bostwick was booked for the second time and sent off in the 65th minute.
Strikers Jordan Bowery and Scott Boden came on as substitutes as John Sheridan’s men went after the game and with ten minutes remaining Bowery almost hit the target when a lovely through-ball from another substitute, Mark Randall, left him one-on-one with the visiting keeper.
In the chase, Julian managed to push the ball away from the Chesterfield man but Bowery took possession and fired just wide from a narrow angle.
However, persistence paid off and with virtually the final move of the game, Chesterfield netted through Lester and secured a home draw.
Chesterfield: Lee, Holden, Downes (Boden 88), Smith, Allott (Randall 77), Niven (Bowery 63), Whitaker, Mattis, Lester, Morgan, Talbot. Subs not used: Fleming, Darwikwa.
Stevenage: Julian, Wilson, Laird, Charles yellow , Ashton, Edwards, Roberts, Henry, Long (Shroot 72), Bostwick, Harrison (Beardsley 71). Subs not used: Day, Myrie-Williams, May, Beardsley.
Referee: Geoff Eltringham (Tyne and Wear).
Attendance: 5,836 (203 from Stevenage).