Chesterfield ended the year with a hard-earned point at home to play-off hopefuls Colchester United.
The goalless stalemate snapped a three-game losing streak for the Spireites but had they taken their chances it could have been so much better.
Having looked shaky defensively in the early stages, Town really grew into the first half and were unlucky to reach the break level with their visitors.
In the end a share of the spoils was probably a fair result, given the threat posed by Colchester at times on the break.
The Spireites drew the ire of their boss as early as the seventh minute, Jack Lester booting the advertising boards after a poor pass and indecision allowed Mikael Mandron to run at Sam Hird, who was forced into a foul and a yellow card.
Both goalkeepers were forced into action inside the opening 10 minutes, with a pair of big saves.
Home stopper Jake Eastwood got down brilliantly to save Sammie Szmodics’ first time effort from an unmarked position 12 yards out, before Town broke and Joe Rowley found himself in space at the back post, Sam Walker saving with his legs.
The second quarter of an hour lacked the entertainment of the first, but having struggled to cut through the visitors, Chesterfield suddenly sparked to life and really should have led.
Kristian Dennis’ low cross was miskicked up into the air and waiting at the back post, with an empty net to aim at, was Rowley - and yet the youngster somehow saw his header kept out by Walker, who came from no where.
Jak McCourt then turned in the centre of the field, drove forward and sent a 25-yard shot well wide.
Completing a quartet of decent chances in a much better Town spell were Robbie Weir, the Ulsterman’s glancing header missing handsomely from an Andy Kellett corner and Dennis, who slid in but just couldn’t connect with McCourt’s low cross.
Immediately after the break Lester’s men carried on where they left off, Jerome Binnom-Williams coming close with a 20-yard shot.
Colchester gave the hosts a reminder of their threat on the counter attack when Binnom-Williams gave the ball away and left his side exposed, Louis Reed halting a quick break with a lovely sliding tackle.
It wasn’t long before the Spireites were back on the front foot, Binnom-Williams’ trickery giving Connor Dimaio a chance to shoot, the midfielder instead opting to slip the left-back in on goal before the visitors got bodies back to concede a corner.
In an end-to-end passage of play, Colchester broke again and McCourt’s loose touch gave Drey Wright a sight of goal, Eastwood making another excellent stop.
Having seemingly lost their grip on the game, Chesterfield got away with givbing Szmodic too much time and space in the middle of the park, his shot from distance always going wide.
As time ticked away and the tension grew, Dimaio had a shot blocked in the area and Dennis shaped to shoot from 20 yards only for a defender to get a boot in the way.
Neither side were able to create another chance of note before Sebastian Stockbridge brought proceedings to a halt.
Chesterfield: Eastwood, Binnom-Williams, Hird, Wiseman, Weir, Dimaio, Reed, McCourt, Kellett, Rowley, Dennis. Not used: Parkin, Ofoegbu, Wakefield, Mitchell, De Girolamo, German, O’Grady.
Colchester: Walker, Jackson, Vincent Young, Eastman, Kent, Lapslie, Comley, Wright, Reid, Szmodics (Murray 74), Mandron (Guthrie 83). Subs: Hanlon, Slater, Odelusi, Kpekawa, Gilmartin.
Referee: Mr Sebastian Stockbridge. Assistants: Mr Richard Wigglesworth, Mr Mark Cunliffe.
Yellows: Hird 7, Reed 87; Guthrie 86
Attendance: 5,537 (257 away)