Eastbourne Town shared the spoils with Sussex rivals Burgess Hill Town in a goalless Eastern Monday draw at Leylands Park.
With both sets of players and management knowing so much of the other, it was no surprise to see a goalless draw in this Ryman Isthmian League Division 1 South clash.
In a drab game, played with a difficult wind blowing throughout, both defences dealt comfortably with attacks that had no sharp cutting edge.
The result didn’t help either side in their quest for a top 10 finish but, on balance, it was a fair reflection of the play.
Town boss, Danny Bloor, looking for an immediate response following Saturday’s tame performance against Three Bridges, was without his injured captain, Ben Austin, and fellow defender Luke Denton.
Midfielder Ethen Strevett was on the bench as Richard Greenfield was recalled to the starting line-up against his old club.
Sam Crabb came in to play at right back and young David O’Callaghan made his full Ryman League debut in midfield.
The first period was pretty much a non event as both defences dominated open play that was littered with petty fouls.
The nearest either side came to a goal was when the tricky Nicky Wheeler was expertly played into the Eastbourne Town box but he pulled his shot wide with only Josh Pelling to beat.
Having had to replace hamstring victim Ross Treleaven on 35 minutes, Bloor was forced into another change at half-time as Dan Bolwell came on for the injured Ross Sutton.
The second half was a marginally more exciting spectacle as each side strived to open the scoring.
Having been played in by Greenfield, O’Callaghan’s effort was thwarted by Ben Lucas who passed back to his ‘keeper, Mark Zawadski, who proceeded to pick the ball up. From the resultant free kick, the ball smashed into the host’s defensive wall before being cleared to safety.
The game was still being littered by silly fouls and from one of these the referee booked Town’s Aaron Hopkinson.
The home side picked up the tempo as the game entered the final quarter.
From one attack John Lansdale had to head behind but, in doing so, he narrowly missed conceding an own goal as the ball flew inches past the post. Dan McLaughlin was then thwarted by a brilliant goal line clearance from Matt Crabb following a super header from the flurry of corners the hosts earned.
The best piece of play in the whole game came on 83 minutes.
From a headed clearance the ball fell for Burgess Hill full back, Neil Watts, fully 30 yards from goal. His shot was sweetly and firmly struck and was arrowing into the top corner until Josh Pelling flew across his goal to tip the ball over for yet another corner.
As the clock ran down, Hopkinson picked up a needless second caution that saw him leave the pitch 2 minutes before the other players.
Eastbourne Town: Pelling 8, S.Crabb 7, Sutton 7, Elliott 8*, O’Callaghan 7, Greenfield 6, Lansdale 7, Treleaven 6, Curd 6, Hopkinson 6, M.Crabb 7
Subs: Archibald 7, for Treleaven 35 mins, Bolwell 6 for Sutton 45 mins, Strevett 6 for O’Callaghan 70 mins
Starman: Steve Elliott - Big and brave performance at the heart of Town’s defense