Chesterfield dropped two points at home to Newport County, as the promotion race in League Two hots up with five games to go.
Spireites seemingly put a lifeless first half display to bed when Jimmy Ryan’s fortuitous chip put the hosts in front shortly after the interval.
Paul Cook’s side were sailing towards three vital points but were guilty of wasting a handful of good opportunities to extend their lead.
Both Eoin Doyle and Dan Kearns had efforts ruled out by the assistant referee for offside during a Blues’ purple patch in the second half.
And they paid the ultimate penalty when Max Porter scored seven minutes from time for the Exiles, who snatched a point at the Proact.
“We’ve had clear cut chances to win the game,” said Cook.
“We’ve had chances to make the game comfortable. When you’re only 1-0 you’re on a knife’s edge.
“Newport have had one attempt on our goal throughout the match and it’s gone in the back of the net. The players are down, they feel like they’ve done something wrong.
“Football is a funny game and after 46 games people say you deserved to be promoted, not today. No-one is promoted today or tomorrow.
“We’ve got a smashing set of players who unfortunately couldn’t get a result. If you look at chances, first half we were very lacklustre.
“We struggled to get going but second half we started well. We got the goal, then we’ve had a couple of good opportunities and a couple of disallowed goals to go 2-0 up.
“But we never did it. And when you do that you always run the risk. We’ve been caught out and we need to hold our hands up and accept it.”
Cook watched on from the stands as he served the first of a two-match touchline ban for an incident at half-time at Accrington Stanley. Leam Richardson was a noticeable presence in the technical area, gesturing and bellowing instructions during a lifeless first half.
Chesterfield seemed to be nursing a Wembley hangover in the opening exchanges and rarely tested Ian McLoughlin in the visitor’s goal.
Ryan missed the hosts’ best chance in the first 45 minutes before a second half which saw two goals controversially disallowed for offside.
Jay O’Shea went close from inside the area and Marc Richards should have really put the game to bed when he missed a one-on-one.
Spireites remained in the top three automatic promotion places three points ahead of Fleetwood Town in fourth spot in spite of the draw.
And with five games to go, including a trip to Burton Albion and then a last day showdown with Fleetwood, Cook said their destiny remained in their own hands.
“We’ve got to keep going,” he said.
“If you’re a team on the back foot you can’t feel sorry for yourselves.
“If you’re a Fleetwood you start feeling like you can smell blood. Our job is to make sure we keep going strong and get up to that promotion where we all want to be.”
Chesterfield were without Ollie Banks, who has been ruled out for the rest of the season through injury, and were dealt another fresh blow.
Drew Talbot, who hasn’t featured since the start of February, didn’t make the match day squad after he suffered a setback in his recovery.
Spireites will also be without goalscorer Ryan for the next two matches after the midfielder picked up a tenth booking of the season.
Ryan said watching on from the sidelines at Hartlepool United next Saturday and at home to Exeter City the following week wasn’t something which came naturally to him.
“I knew myself that I was on nine and I shouldn’t have really gone for that tackle, but my mind slipped in the spur of the moment,” said Ryan.
“It’ll kill me (watching from the sides) as I hate it when I’m injured and I’ve never been suspended.”
He added: “We really wanted the win and I don’t think they’ve had a shot at our goal in the second half but they got their goal with about five us blocking it.
“I’m not really sure how it’s gone in - even Tommy (Lee) said he didn’t see it. First half I thought it was a dead game, we weren’t playing our best.
“It was a nothing game first half. We’ve come out (for the second) and we’ve passed the ball quite well and we’ve created the better chances.
“We just haven’t put them away and that’s why it’s turned out to be disappointing. We’re confident of our own ability and our run starts next week.”
And the midfielder echoed his manager’s comments that they are in pole position to achieve automatic over Fleetwood and Burton.
“It’s in our hands, you can’t ask for more,” said the former Scunthorpe United man.
“We’d obviously like to have it sealed up and try and win the league.
“That can still happen we just need to have a few results go our way. We need to go into the next game, get a win and kick on. We’re confident in ourselves.”