Atherton Collieries fought out a goalless draw against Witton Albion under the floodlights at the Skuna Stadium.
In a tense, cagey affair, clear-cut chances were few and far between, with a lively battle in the middle of the park the highlight of the game.
Most of the early attacking came from the visitors, an ambitious early strike from distance caught by Danny Taberner and an in-swinging corner headed narrowly over the bar.
Colls’ injury woes got worse after half an hour when midfielder Scott Sephton went down in pain and was replaced by Anton Smith.
The hosts got into their attacking groove after the change, Gaz Peet cutting inside and seeing a low shot on goal saved by Greg Hall in the Albion goal.
Colls had Joel Amado to thank when a deep cross evaded Danny Taberner in the box, James Foley’s goalbound effort stopped by a stunning block on the goalline.
There was controversy before half time, Elliot Rokka and Clive Smith combining nicely before the former appeared to be tripped in the box but no penalty was forthcoming.
Brad Cooke opted for attacking reinforcements in the second half with James Hooper taking to the field, as Clive Smith saw his fizzing cross almost turned in by a Witton defender.
Hooper tested the keeper shortly after his introduction, cutting in and firing a shot narrowly wide before Zack Clarke warmed the palms of the keeper with a strike from distance.
With the game stretched in the final stages, the visitors had a golden chance when Will Jones’ header cleared off the line by the ever-battling Colls defence.
A final opportunity at the death saw Marcus Cusani race through on goal, however his shot late in the game lacked the energy to trouble the goalkeeper and the game finished goalless.
Colls: Taberner, Clive Smith, Peet, Sephton (Anton Smith ‘32), Amado, Defreitas-Hansen, Kershaw, Clarke (Fannon 87’), Aaron Smith, Rokka (Hooper ‘57), Cusani
Unused: Battersby, Lenehan
Bolton Arena Man of Match: Joel Amado
Photo: Dave Featherstone
Report: Danny Brown