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Oxford Utd 0, Chesterfield 0 (23/04)
It was not an afternoon to be a U's centre half.
Two of them got injured, leaving them worryingly short of cover for Monday's game at Barnet.
Mitchell Hanson, who is only on a short-term contract, came on for his first-team debut in the 43rd minute, when Jimmy Sangare hobbled off injured.
But Hanson was to play less than than ten minutes.
After a nasty clash of heads with Dean Smalley on the edge of his own six-yard box, he was stretchered off.
Ben Purkiss took over from Hanson, as United's fourth centre back of the day.
Yet despite all the disruption at the back, Oxford still managed to keep a clean sheet against the division's top scorers.
And Alfie Potter several times went close to grabbing a winner.
Simon Heslop failed a late fitness test, so Josh Payne came in on the right side of midfield.
Up front,, Steve MacLean returned, with Tom Craddock dropping to the bench.
Otherwise, it was as expected, with Sangare making his home debut, as Harry Worley completed his two-match suspension, and Asa Hall tok over on the left of midfield, with on-loan Ryan Burge having been recalled by Doncaster.
Before kick-off, some of Oxford United's heroes from their Milk Cup-winning side of 25 years ago were presented to the crowd.
A special cheer was reserved for former captain Malcolm Shotton, who had the Milk Cup with him, when he lifted the trophy aloft.
Chesterfield were already promoted, courtesy of Wycombe's failure to win at Torquay 24 hours earlier, and their fans were in understandably buoyant mood.
It was Chesterfield's former U's striker, Craig Davies, who had the game's first opening on nine minutes.
He escaped the close attentions of Sangare and from a position wide on the right, shot early but saw the effort fly across the face of goal.
At the other end, Spireites skipper Dwayne Mattis made a great block from Payne's 20-yard shot.
Ryan Clarke was unable to catch a deep left-wing cross, and Dean Smalley, running in behind him, fired a first-time shot across goal.
United began to play some neat football, and Alfie Potter almost played Payne in.
The Spireites began to look threatening themselves when they went forward.
Clarke parried one effort to his left, Scott Griffiths hit a long-range drive over, and when Davies, breaking wide on the right again, tried to chip the U's keeper, he didn't get it right, and Clarke caught the ball comfortably.
Sangare headed over from Paul McLaren's corner, but the big centre half took a hefty knock soon after, and he had to limp off in the 43rd minute.
By this time, home fans were getting frustrated by referee Graham Salisbury's leniency.
He chose not to book Dean Morgan for scything down Damian Batt, and when James Constable flicked the ball to one side of Mattis to prepare for a shot, and was unceremoniously brought down, the official again took no action.
Only some superb defending denied United a goal when Payne played in Potter in the 39th minute.
Keeper Tommy Lee spread himself to make a fine save, and Payne's follow-up shot was brilliantly blocked by Derek Niven.
In the second half, despite having a very changed back line, United kept trying to force the issue.
After a fine moved by Batt, Constable and Potter, Hall fired wide from 15 yards.
Constable was just unable to turn in Potter's low right-wing cross, and then Potter shot over, left-footed, after beating his marker with some clever footwork.
There was a loud ironic cheer when the ref did at last show a yellow card to Ian Breckin, for a foul on Potter, who became the second half's focal figure.
Mattis produced another outstanding blck to turn a Potter shot for a corner, and the U's forward then headed over from eight yards.
Wales international Davies demonstrated his raw pace and power with one strong run, ended by Clarke sticking out a hand to save, with Purkiss then mopping up.
United ended strongly, Constable and Payne both going close, but Chesterfield gained another point in their march to the title.