Broadbridge Heath extended their unbeaten run to four games as they were held to a 0-0 draw by improving basement boys Eastbourne United on Tuesday night.
Heath travelled to The Oval to take a United side, who under manager Arron Hopkinson, appeared to have had an improvement in their fortunes, their last outing a 2-0 win over Lingfield.
Both teams needed the points for different reasons, Heath to stay in touch with the summit and United to climb from the bottom - The Bears were expecting a tough test from the home side on a bitterly cold evening on the coast.
Heath, who also drew 0-0 with Pagham on Saturday, started the game with ten men, awaiting the arrival of Andy Waddingham, who arrived shortly after kick-off.
Kieron Thorp returned in goal, but the visitors without influential midfielder Lee Carney, striker Dean Wright and central defender Marlon Maxwell.
Eastbourne started the game in lively fashion as Heath took a while to counter the home sides’ passing game. However, once overcome it was Deven Fender who almost gave Heath the lead, meeting a left-wing cross with only the goalkeeper to beat, but somehow missing the target.
Dean Robinson, Fender and George Cousins all went close in quick succession before United had a shot that whistled past Thorp's left-hand post.
Apart from that it was a pretty non-eventful first half with neither goalkeeper being called into serious action.
The second half continued in the same vein until midway through the half Ollie Moore was shown a straight red card by referee Tom Price for what looked like a fair challenge and few others felt it was even a foul.
On 75 minutes, Dean Robinson was replaced by Alfie Jones with Richard Wetton pushing into a more forward position.
With skipper Tom Bold struggling with an injury Heath were now up against it and had to dig deep to combat Eastbournes’ mainly aerial threat, but United were also gaining a bit more control in the middle of the park due to the extra man.
However, Heath were still dangerous on the break and with the back four of Wetton, Martyn Flack, Ryan Brackpool and Jamie Robinson dealing with everything thrown at them.
Cousins was giving the United full-back the runaround and it was looking like the visitors might snatch the points. Again it was Fender, put through by Bold, who almost broke the deadlock - his shot well saved by Jordan Hawkins.
However, despite a valiant effort from both teams the game ended in stalemate - Heath's third clean sheet in a row and fourth game unbeaten.
The Bears now have the weekend off with the next game on Saturday, January 19, when Little Common are the visitors to the Leisure Centre.
Heath: Thorp, Wetton, Flack, Brackpool, J.Robinson, Waddingham, Bold, Moore,Cousins, D.Robinson (Jones), Fender. Unused: Sim, Evento, D.Riecker.