Eoin Doyle, who was sent off in the closing stages, missed the Spireites' best chance soon after the break, chipping high over the crossbar after being put through the middle by Armand Gnanduillet's pass.
Ward said: "In our last home game against Wycombe we did really well but conceded a late goal, which meant we couldn't be totally positive about the performance.
"Here we have seen it out and I'm proud of my players.
"I had a go at them at half-time at Accrington in midweek, but I rarely have cause for complaint about their attitude and effort."
Eighteen-year-old Alefe Santos caught the eye on the right flank, and Ward added: "Alefe is a good listener. I told him not to worry if he put a cross behind the goal in the first minute and to keep on trying to do the right things.
"He did exactly that right up to to the final whistle. I don't like building up my youngsters too much because they have a long way to go. But if we are patient with them and look after them the future is bright."
And Chesterfield boss Paul Cook heaped praise on injury-hit Rovers after seeing his side held at the Memorial Stadium.
Cook said: "We had chances which we couldn't take, but Bristol Rovers did very well. John Ward is short of some key players but his team gave everything for him, which is what any manager wants to see most."