FT Chesterfield: Spireites 0 Portsmouth 0

Chesterfield v Portsmouth (white) Gary Roberts
Chesterfield v Portsmouth (white) Gary Roberts
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Chesterfield extended their lead at the top of League Two but were left frustrated at home by a well-organised Portsmouth in a goalless encounter.

The Spireites huffed and puffed but came up against a defiant Pompey side that restricted the division’s top side to few efforts from distance.

Chesterfield manager Paul Cook unsurprisingly stuck with the same 11 that blew Cheltenham Town away in seven first half minutes.

Portsmouth, you suspect, would have seen the tapes from Whaddon Road as they lined up with five in midfield and went about containing the Spireites.

The visitors settled quickly and were swift in the tackle during a first half when they restricted Chesterfield to a handful of sights on goal.

Portsmouth threatened when Jed Wallace advanced down the right to the byline and crossed for Ricky Holmes to get a volley on target.

Tommy Lee, in the hosts’ goal, was equal to that but could only watch on moments later when Jake Jervais struck the base of the post.

Touamani Diagouraga was dominant in midfield and showed he had an eye for goal with a rasping drive which was deflected behind.

Holmes was lively throughout, turned and ran at his opponents and proved a good test of Tendayi Darikwa’s defensive qualities.

Chesterfield had to wait until a quarter of the way through the match for their first shot on target, which came through Ollie Banks.

The Pompey keeper, Trevor Carson, was equal to his rasping drive and had to be quick to grab at the second attempt with Eoin Doyle closing in.

Darikwa showed his attacking menace when he latched on to a Sam Morsy ball, tricked his way past a couple of challenges, but failed to pick out a blue shirt.

The Spireites were in need of inspiration and they nearly got it. Carson, however, was alert to Gary Roberts’ attempted chip.

Chesterfield grew into the game and Dan Gardner flashed a shot across goal which narrowly missed Carson’s right hand post before the break.

Roberts went just as close in the opening stages of the second half before Bondz N’Gala twice threw himself into harm’s way to deny Banks then Doyle.

Jervis sent a powerful effort wide from the angle when white shirts were better placed in the area. Lee was forced into action moments later.

Nicky Shorey sent a pinpoint ball over the top of the Chesterfield defence for Wes Fogden to control and, as he was set to strike the ball, Lee was quick to block.

Spireites enjoyed plenty of possession but struggled to find a way through a determined Pompey back line.

Cook opted to change it with 20 minutes to go and brought Marc Richards on for Banks as the hosts pushed two up top.

Hearts were in mouths when Wallace pulled the ball back for Fogden to angle a shot towards goal which, again, missed the far post by a whisker.

Jay O’Shea and Armand Gnanduillet were thrown on as Chesterfield chased a late winner. Richards connected with Roberts’ right wing cross but his header was straight at Carson late on.