For the first time in 2011, the League Two title is no longer in Chesterfield’s own hands.
A goalless draw at Plainmoor, an 11th game unbeaten for play-off chasing Torquay United, means that Bury, three points behind with a game in hand and a better goal difference, can overhaul John Sheridan’s men if they beat Wycombe at home tomorrow and Stevenage next weekend.
The scoreline was as far away from the nature of the game as possible. Both sides had enough chances to have won a hatful of games but neither side could nick the win they both desperately craved.
John Sheridan made two changes from the side that lost at home to Bury. Jack Lester was on the bench whilst Dean Morgan (thigh) didn’t travel. Dean Holden reverted to right back allowing Drew Talbot to return to the right wing as Simon Ford and Derek Niven came in.
The hosts began on top and soon saw ex-Rotherham centre-half Guy Branston head powerfully against the goal frame. The ricocheting ball then needed interventions from both Danny Whitaker and keeper Tommy Lee to prevent a Gulls goal.
Craig Davies twice fired inches over from distance, the second time it needed a tip over save from goalkeeper Scott Bevan to keep it out.
Deane Smalley, lively throughout, was bundled over by Branston but the referee sided with the defender when a penalty looked odds-on.
Bevan had to intervene to save from Smalley and Derek Niven whilst, just before the break, Eunan O’Kane went very close from 18 yards.
From the re-start, the high tempo was maintained. Ford had to block from Billy Kee, Smalley lifted a shot over, Whitaker had an effort superbly blocked by Lee Mansell and sub Ian Morris just failed to get purchase on a Whitaker pass after another Smalley raid.
Branston saw a header somehow blocked by Scott Griffiths and Lee had to save from Robinson as the game somehow upped its already mesmeric tempo. Billy Kee saw a miscontrolled shot roll an inch or two wide.
A fantastic last gasp clearance by Griffiths summed up the excellent game that did neither side any favours.
n Torquay: Bevan 8; Mansell 6, Robertson 6, Branston 7, Nicholson 6 (Rowe-Turner 81); O’Kane 6, Kee 6 (Stevens 87), Stanley 6, Robinson 6; Tomlin 5 (Lathrope 64), Zebroski 6, Subs (not used): Potter, Macklin, Oastler, Ellis.
n Chesterfield: Lee 6; Holden 6, Ford 7, Mattis 6, Griffiths 6; Talbot 7, Niven 6 (Morris 53/6), Allott 7, Whitaker 7; Davies 7, Smalley 8 (Lester 81). Subs (not used): Redmond, Breckin, Boden, Bowery, Djilali.
n Referee: David Coote (Notts)
n Attendance: 5,002