The Football League Paper - - LEAGUE ONE - By Esther Jack­son

CH­ESTER­FIELD took a ma­jor step to­wards the play-offs with this goal­less draw, leav­ing manager Paul Cook beam­ing at his side’s progress this sea­son.

Cook con­sid­ered his side all-but cer­tain of clinch­ing a play-off spot and paid trib­ute to his team’s bat­tling qual­i­ties when it mat­tered most.

He said: “It was ap­par­ent from the first ball that it wasn’t go­ing to be a game of foot­ball.

“That’s no dis­re­spect to Old­ham be­cause they like to pass the ball around as well, but the con­di­tions made it dif­fi­cult and it wasn’t a good spec­ta­cle.

“There was never go­ing to be a goal un­less there was a bit of magic, but, all in all, it’s a good away point.

“Only Rochdale can catch us now and they have to win all of their last three games.

“Nei­ther team did enough to win, but we shake hands on it and look ahead to our next game when, hope­fully, there will be a car­ni­val at­mos­phere if ev­ery­thing goes well.

“For us to be in the play-off area with two games left is just fan­tas­tic and the play­ers de­serve great credit.

“If Rochdale do pip us, I will be the first to congratulate Keith Hill on a fan­tas­tic achieve­ment, but hope­fully we will be the ones who fin­ish in the top six.”

Old­ham pair Rhys Mur­phy and Con­nor Brown forced de­cent saves from Tommy Lee in the first half, while, at the other end, Joel Cole­man saved well from Ian Evatt and Sam Clu­cas, with the lat­ter also see­ing a flick hit the base of a post af­ter the in­ter­val.

Brown con­trolled well 20 min­utes in and his low shot from just out­side the box was creep­ing into the cor­ner but for Lee’s ex­tended right hand turn­ing the ball aside.

Mur­phy, play­ing as a lone striker, twice went close to netting his first Old­ham goal. His first ef­fort was well blocked by Evatt and the fol­low-up, an ac­ro­batic vol­ley, was tipped away.

Ch­ester­field were limited to shots from dis­tance, with Ar­mand Gnan­duil­let, Clu­cas and Char­lie Raglan all fail­ing to re­ally test Cole­man.

Cook’s side en­joyed plenty of ter­ri­tory in the early stages of the sec­ond half and Brown had to be alert as Gary Roberts threat­ened to break through down the right of the box.

With both sides pack­ing out the mid­field, there were pre­cious few scor­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties at ei­ther end.

Old­ham manager Dean Holden said: “There’s not much dif­fer­ence in the teams. It’s just about con­sis­tency.

“I thought it was a very even game and, for us, it’s a clean sheet and a very dis­ci­plined per­for­mance

“It’s just about go­ing out there and putting in a per­for­mance and the clean sheet for us to­day is re­ally good.

“Ch­ester­field brought on their big tar­get man early on be­cause they de­cided to go a bit longer. “Maybe the con­di­tions weren’t good enough for a lovely pass­ing game.

“We don’t have that luxury in our squad.”

PIC­TURES: Me­dia Im­age

FLY­ING IN: Jor­dan Bove and Ian Evatt fight for the ball

MY BALL: Richie Humphreys is tack­led by Daniel Jones

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