Under-par Chesterfield were held to a frustrating goalless draw at home to League Two basement side Northampton.
A tired-looking Spireites side struggled to create any clear cut chances during a scrappy game that nevertheless extended their unbeaten run to eight games.
The tie will be seen as a wasted opportunity for the Derbyshire outfit.
Paul Cook named an unchanged side for the fourth consecutive game as the hosts looked to continue their good record over Northampton.
The Cobblers haven’t won in Chesterfield for more than 20 years, their last success coming in a 3-1 win on January 30, 1993.
Since then the Spireites have won seven and drawn three of their ten encounters prior to kick off.
And, with both teams unable to impose themselves during the first half, many would have been forgiven for putting a pound or two on a goalless draw come the final whistle.
Stuart Dallas tested Tommy Lee with a fizzing drive, but the home keeper was equal to it, diving low at his near post, as Northampton looked to stretch the hosts on the break.
The Spireites’ best chance of the half came when Ollie Banks picked out Gary Roberts with a raking ball from left to right. The winger skipped past Joe Widdowson with a neat turn and delivered an inviting centre that Armand Gnanduillet headed tamely over.
Aidy Boothroyd’s Cobblers saw plenty of the ball and when Chris Hackett sent over a cross from the right Kane Ferdinand beat Lee to the ball but his header looped over the bar.
The largely ineffective Gnanduillet was replaced by Marc Richards just before the hour-mark and the substitute almost provided the breakthrough when he was just inches away from connecting with Roberts’ left-wing cross.
Chesterfield grew frustrated with the visitors’ time-wasting tactics and referee, Darren Drysdale. Remarkably, it took until the 85th minute for a Northampton player to find his way in to Mr Drysdale’s notepad.
Jimmy Ryan earned the applause of the home faithful when he bundled his way through a couple of challenges before digging out an effort Matt Duke, in the visitors’ goal, saved well.
Eoin Doyle replaced Banks as Cook re-shuffled the pack in search of a late goal, which ultimately never came.
Chesterfield will face a Manchester United side in a friendly at their Carrington training base tomorrow.
Chesterfield (4-2-3-1): Lee 6; Talbot 6, Evatt 6 (c), Cooper 6, Humphreys 6; Hird 5, Ryan 5; O’Shea 5 (Devitt 90), Banks 6 (Doyle 78), Roberts 5; Gnanduillet 5 (Richards 58).
Subs: Chapman, Togwell, McFadzean, Darikwa.
Northampton (4-5-1): Duke 6; Amankwaah 6, Reid 6 (c), Doumbe 6, Widdowson 6; Emerton 5 (Tozer 90), Hackett 6, Ferdinand 5, Ravenhill 6, Dallas 6 (Deegan 71); Blyth 5 (Platt 69).
Subs: Collins, Morris, McNamara, Norris.
Bookings: Gnanduillet 25 and Hackett 85.
referee: Darren Drysdale (Lincolnshire)