Southport manager Liam Watson was left pleased with his sides dominant display despite failing to secure three points against Curzon Ashton.
The Sandgrounders missed the chance to move into fifth ahead of Chorley with the Lancashire side having a game in hand.
Their frustration spanned across 16 attempts and a handful of penalty claims which were turned down as they were forced to settle for a point in a goalless draw with the Nash.
But for the Southport boss, despite seeing two points slip away, the performance bodes well for the upcoming run.
He told Off The Park: “Really pleased with the performance. Thought the performance was really, really good.
“We’ve 100 per cent thrown two points away with the amount of chances we created but another day we might not create any chances and come away with three points.
“On the balance of play, if we keep performing like that, there won’t be many teams who are going to come here and beat us.
“You know and I know, if we come in at half-time 4-0, no one could’ve complained starting in the first minute, Jordan’s [Archer] has a gift, for a forward, and he’s hit the post then it just went on and on and on, chances coming and going, Jack Bainbridge going clean through, Tyler’s [Walton] gone clean through twice, Dec’s [Evans] had a good header, they’re all great chances but it wasn’t to be.
“We’ve got to give Curzon credit because they put their bodies on the line, defended especially in the second half where we’ve had a lot of set-plays going in on them they’ve defended them well. But, you know, you take another clean sheet and move on.”
Referee Dane McCarrick was a talking point after the entertaining draw after denying the Yellows’ penalty claims with Watson highlighting one instance but had harsh words for the official.
He continued: “You’ve seen one, it’s the most bizarre decisions I’ve ever seen but he’s got to have been one of the worst referees I’ve ever seen at this level. If he’s coming through to referee in the football league, god help us.”
News broke earlier in the afternoon ahead of Curzon’s visit that George Newell would return to the squad after being recalled from his loan switch with Northern Premier League title-chasers Marine.
He was an enforced introduction after Jordan Archer trudged off with a suspected hamstring issue, but the Southport boss praised his coastal compatriot for the work he did in the forward’s rehabilitation from a double leg break.
“Neil [Young] understands, he’s our player. Neil’s done great to help George [Newell] in his rehab, George’s is a bit short of sharpness at this level which is understandable at this level after a double leg break but we know he’s a goalscorer.
“He’s incredibly popular in the dressing room so everyone’s willing him to get on and do well, hopefully that’s going to be the plan.
“Looks like a tight hamstring rather than a pull, not ideal,” he described Archer’s situation. “It happens, the squads small.
“We’ve had numerous games, prior to tonight five out of the last six have been away, trips to Kettering, Boston, Telford, the players have been asked to do a lot in recent weeks.”
Declan Evans was another late addition as he was unveiled as a Port player an hour-and-45 minutes before kick-off.
With Doug Tharme injured, he was forced to come in for a match before returning on loan to current side Mossley to see out their play-off push.
After impressing on his Haig Avenue bow, Watson lavished praise on the 22-year-old with the possibility of returning for the final games of Southport’s season.
Watson said: “Numerous clubs have gone in for him [Declan Evans] and he’s stayed loyal to Mossley. We’ve tried our best to convince him, he’ll be the ideal replacement for Doug [Tharme] what I liked was he wanted to stay at Mossley to see the season through, you don’t see many lads with that kind of commitment and loyalty.
“He goes back to Mossley on loan until the end of the season, their season finishes in the middle of April, ours hopefully finishes in the middle of May – at least – or the end of May even better so it’ll be nice to have a really talented kid that we can call on.
“He won his headers, might be a little bit disappointed he didn’t score but he’s certainly a handful in the box.”
Up next for Southport, they gear up for another home clash, this time in the form of Leamington who sit seven points off the play-offs.
The Conference North-winning gaffer knows the qualities of the visitors but couldn’t resist a sly dig at an old friend.
“[It’s a] Tough game, good friends with the manager of Leamington, know what they’re about,” before he joked: “He’ll know what I’m about, it’ll be difficult but difficult for them as well but he’s had his scout here watching us tonight – I say, it’s a long way to come from Leamington on a Tuesday night so he must be a bit worried.”