Chesterfield took a step closer to relegation as they only managed a point at high-flying Bolton Wanderers, with a stoppage-time red card for Jon Nolan adding to their woes.
The Spireites’ slight glimmer of hope is fading away with each passing game with the gap between themselves and safety now a huge 11 points with just five games remaining.
The visitors spoilt Bolton’s bid for a sixth win on the bounce, but with Swindon Town toppling Fleetwood Town a point just simply is not enough for Gary Caldwell’s men at this stage.
After failing to make the most of their chances before the break, the Spireites had to ward off an array of attacks in the second period as the hosts threw the kitchen sink at Caldwell’s charges.
Jon Nolan was sent off in stoppage time as the visitors finished with 10 at the Macron.
Boss Caldwell made three changes to the side that lost to Rochdale at the Proact last week.
Sam Hird came back in to captain the side, whilst Dan Gardner and Connor Dimaio also returned.
Despite the huge gulf between the promotion-chasing Trotters and the relegation contenders, it was the visitors who created the more meaningful chances in the first half.
Early on Nolan forced a decent stop from hosts’ keeper Mark Howard, before the returning Hird flung himself in the way of Dean Moxey’s strike down the other end.
Some brilliant build-up play from the visitors saw the ball end up at the feet of Gardner in the Trotters’ box, with Howard again being called into action to keep the game goalless.
Thorsten Stuckmann had barely anything to do, other than intercept a few crosses, before the break and it remained that way as Adam Le Fondre’s audacious overhead kick flew wide.
Darren Pratley squandered the hosts’ best chance on the stroke of the break as he headed over from Felipe Morais’ pin-point cross.
As expected the second-placed side upped the ante after the restart, however the resolute visitors stood firm.
The Spireites found themselves penned into their own half as the hosts pushed for the decisive winner.
Jay Spearing tried his luck from range only for his strike to go wide, before Stuckmann made his first save of the game to deny Pratley.
Morais was the main source of the Trotters’ danger and with 20 minutes left Moxey slammed a volley wide after yet another brilliant ball from the right.
With seven minutes left on the clock the visitors could not quite find the back of the net in a melee that saw Joe Rowley and Dion Donohue both denied.
Late, late on Nolan was shown red for a second bookable offence.
Bolton: Howard, Dervite, Beevers, Wheater, Moxley (Henry, 82), Vela, Spearing, Pratley, Morais, Long (Clayton, 62), Le Fondre.
Unused subs: Turner, Wilkinson, Derik, Wabara, Karacan.
Chesterfield: Stuckmann, McGinn, Hird, Anderson, Gardner (Grimshaw, 85), Dimaio, Nolan, Donohue, Rowley (Ebanks-Blake, 90), Dennis (Simons, 80), Maguire.
Unused subs: Fulton, Beesley, Angel, Mitchell.
Referee: Eddie Ilderton (Tyne & Wear)
Attendance: 23,376 (668)