Chesterfield may be all but relegated, but manager Gary Caldwell was full of praise for their performance in an impressive 0-0 draw at Bolton Wanderers.
The hosts, second in League One, were hoping to close the gap on leaders Sheffield United, but this result at the Macron still leaves them six points behind the Blades with six matches left.
The Spireites, meanwhile, are 11 points short of safety with only five ganes remaining, but Caldwell said: “I’m pleased with everything, especially the mentality. From back to front today we functioned how I wanted.
“We came up against a team in form, we came up against a full stadium full of anticipation that they’d beat us and after about five minutes I think everyone in the stadium knew it’d be a long day for Bolton.
“The only frustration is that we didn’t win the game because I think we deserved to.
“Their approach attackingly first half, and defensively second half was amazing.
“You’re always going to have to dig in at stadiums like this.
“There was some real desire to keep a clean sheet with players putting their bodies on the line.
“That’s by far the best performance I’ve seen since I’ve been here.
“The most pleasing thing is that we were organised and we weren’t open.”
The visitors created the more meaningful chances in the first half. Nolan forced a decent stop from hosts’ keeper Mark Howard, before Hird flung himself in the way of Dean Moxey’s strike down the other end.
Some brilliant build-up play saw the ball end up at the feet of Gardner in the Trotters’ box, with Howard again being called into action to keep the game goalless.
Thorsten Stuckmann had barely anything to do, other than intercept a few crosses, before the break and it remained that way as Adam Le Fondre’s audacious overhead kick flew wide.
Darren Pratley squandered the hosts’ best chance on the stroke of the break as he headed over from Felipe Morais’ pin-point cross.
As expected the second-placed side upped the ante after the restart.
The Spireites found themselves penned into their own half as the hosts pushed for the decisive winner.
Jay Spearing tried his luck from range only for his strike to go wide, before Stuckmann made his first save of the game to deny Pratley.
Morais was the main source of the Trotters’ danger and with 20 minutes left Moxey slammed a volley wide after yet another brilliant ball from the right.
Jon Nolan was sent off in stoppage time as the visitors finished with 10 men.