Whitby Town dropped out of the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League top five but saw their unbeaten run stretch to four games, earning a hard-earned point with a goalless draw on the road at Stafford Rangers.
Chris Hardy made a solitary change, forced by Steven Snaith’s suspension, with Lee Bullock returning to the heart of the defence, pushing Luke Bythway into midfield.
It was the hosts who looked the most dangerous, early on. Five minutes in, Levi Reid had a low drive saved well by Shane Bland.
Whitby, however, looked dangerous, and could have led just 15 minutes later.
Callum Martin’s right-wing cross was headed out by skipper Matthew Bailey, but only as far as Dale Hopson, but his volley met only the legs of Adam Whitehouse.
Stafford almost led though, just before the half hour mark.
Whitby’s problems defending balls into the box continued, as a left-wing cross was met by Kyle Perry, who headed home with ease. Immediately, however, referee Richard Abson ruled his effort out, adjudging Perry to have fouled his marker.
Whitby, however, weren’t to be stopped, and the open nature of the opening 45 minutes nearly led to the Seasiders gaining the initiative.
David Carson was fouled in dubious circumstances, with Abson awarding a penalty, but Hopson’s effort from the spot was saved low to Whitehouse’s left.
Some sort of half-time entertainment would perhaps have made up for the majority of the second half, with both sides failing to create any sort of chance of note.
The hosts had what could be considered as the best chance of the half, just 11 minutes from time.
A right-wing cross from Griffiths was headed away by Martin, but only as far as substitute Brian Barton, who could only volley over, inside the penalty area.
Hopson was looking to make amends for his earlier penalty miss, and forced a low save from Whitehouse, five minutes from time, with a low effort from 20 yards.