West Auckland Town 0-0 Penrith AFC
West Auckland Town were left frustrated as several missed chances cost them a fifth consecutive victory in all competitions in a goalless draw with Penrith at the Wanted Stadium.
Alex Francis and Amar Purewal both had first-half efforts hit the crossbar and Shaun Dixon pulled off some tremendous saves to leave the Bonny Blues with just one defeat in the past five matches.
The result sees West climb up to ninth in the Northern League Division One table on 48 points, with a superior goaldifference keeping them above Newcastle Benfield while Penrith remain bottom, nine points behind Whickham.
In the previous meeting in November, Purewal’s brace along with a debut goal from Chris Hunter cancelled out replies from Shaun Gardner and Connor Shields to give West a 3-2 victory at the Frenchfields Stadium.
Within the opening minute, West could have been ahead as Francis crashed a header against the upright following an in-swinging delivery from Adam Mitchell.
Dixon was then called into action eight minutes later as Purewal burst through on goal after a well-timed pass from Francis, only to see his effort tipped around the post via a low smart save.
On 25 minutes, West were inches away from breaking the deadlock – Mitchell’s curling set piece found Purewal, though the forward’s looping header came back off the bar as Gary Forrest’s side continued their early dominance.
Another chance followed shortly after as Tom Portas connected with Liam Hegarty’s cross from the right-hand side, however this time, Dixon got a crucial touch to turn his header over the bar and keep Penrith on level terms.
The second-half began just how the first ended with West on top – the only thing missing was a goal to show for their effort and in remarkable circumstances, Dixon made a superb save to deny Steven Snaith’s right-footed shot at full stretch following a clever lay-off from Hegarty.
With less than a quarter of an hour remaining, Forrest decided to introduce Nathan Fisher, who has been out of action for several months through injury, with Tom Portas making way in search of finding that decisive goal.
Frustratingly for West it never came, and they were left to rue missed chances as Andy Coyles’ side, who failed to register a shot on target and barely threatened Shane Bland’s goal, came away from the Wanted Stadium with a pivotal point.
Next up for West is a mouth-watering trip on Wednesday evening to Heritage Park as they take on local-rivals Bishop Auckland in the second Auckland derby of the season (19:45).
West Auckland – Bland, Mitchell, Cobain, Colquhoun, Hunter, Portas (Fisher, 68), Hegarty (Morris, 81), Dodds (c), Purewal (Dowson, 89), Snaith, Francis
Subs not used – Burnicle, Bell
Penrith – Dixon, Hebson, Johnson, Davidson (c), May, Bowman, Gardner, Main, Gray (Shields, 56), Brown, Clarke
Subs not used – Law, Moynan, Paul, Holliday
Referee – Graeme Hopper
Attendance – 171
Report by Harry Crowe