Frickley Athletic had to settle for a point when they fought out a goalless draw with fourth from bottom Witton Albion at Westfield Lane on Saturday.
The result left the Blues ahead of the relegation places in 19th spot, but they enjoyed the lions’ share of play only to struggle to break a down a stubborn Witton defence.
Frickley boss Karl Rose welcomed back Joe Wilcox and Matty Bloor after suspension while Joe Kenny returned to the subs bench.
Witton started the better with Martyn Jackson and Chris Simm combining on the edge of the box for the latter to have his shot deflected wide by Andy Villermann. The resulting corner saw Ben Harrison blaze over from eight yards.
The Blues had their first sight of goal after 17 minutes when Gavin Allott flicked on a Wilcox free-kick for Jimmy Ghaichem to have a 15-yard shot deflected wide.
Jackson missed a great chance to put Witton ahead on 21 minutes when screwing a shot wide despite having time and space to pick his spot. This let-off spurred the Blues into action and on 26 minutes Steve Gardner headed the ball forwards for Luke Hinsley to find himself in space on the edge of the box, but he delayed his shot enough for Robert Bodie to deflect it wide.
Ghaichem’s free-kick from the right of the box saw Bloor head agonisingly wide and two minutes later Allott put an overhead kick over the bar.
The game threatened to get out of hand just before half-time when referee Chris Ward missed Powell shoving Ghaichem in the face, leading to a bleeding nose, with Ghaichem kicking out at Powell.
Ghaichem was then cynically brought down from behind by Jonathan Breeze with the resulting free-kick being flicked on by Sam Denton for Tyler Collishaw to fire into the side netting from a tight angle.
On the stroke of half-time Bloor headed a corner from Picton just wide of the far post.
The second half was less eventful and it took until the 65th minute before either side troubled the other’s goal with Hinsley firing in a low angled shot which Matthew Cooper smothered comfortably.
Hinsley went close again on 73 minutes before Villermann joined in with the attack to have a 25-yard shot fly straight at Cooper while in the 88th minute Ghaichem and Allott combined for Ghaichem to see his low snap-shot pushed past the post by Cooper.
The Blues could have snatched the points in the last minute as Allott flicked on Gardner’s long ball and Picton broke away shoulder to shoulder with Bodie, but his shot clipped the top of the crossbar.
Frickley now have two games in the next week as they travel to play 16th-placed Trafford in the league on Saturday then are away to Brigg Town in the third round of the Doodson Sport Cup on Tuesday.