Northampton Town were left to rue a string of wasted opportunities after they were held to a goalless draw by Isthmian League outfit Burgess Hill Town in a pre-season friendly on Saturday.
Nicky Adams, Marc Richards and John-Joe O’Toole had the best of a number of chances to put the Cobblers ahead but they were unable to capitalise as Burgess held out for a draw.
It’s the first pre-season game Town have failed to win this year following victories over Sileby Rangers and Worthing.
Cobblers boss Chris Wilder named a strong side with Newcastle target Ivan Toney and Marc Richards both starting, and the visitors were quick into their stride at Leylands Park as Alfie Potter and Adams both saw dangerous crosses well cleared before Toney headed over from a corner.
Potter continued to drift in from the left and pose a threat, having a shot well-blocked, but although Cobblers pressed for the opener, clear-cut chances were few and far between in a scrappy opening half.
Richards played in Adams, who jinked past two defenders before seeing his goalbound shot blocked in the closest either side came to a goal before half-time.
The introduction of O’Toole and Ryan Cresswell did little to improve Town’s fortunes in the second and their frustrations only grew when Adams displayed some neat footwork to win a free-kick in a dangerous position, only for O’Toole to fire straight into the wall.
Toney then blasted an effort well wide before Richards was presented with the best chance of the game as Potter’s excellent cross picked him out at the back post, but the Cobblers skipper could only skew his effort wide from five yards.
Wilder then rung the changes as Chris Hackett, Lawson D’Ath, Danny Clifton, Sam Warburton and Sam Hoskins all entered the fray, and those changes seemed to give the visitors extra impetus as they proceeded to enjoy their best spell of the match with Hoskins denied by a fine save from Josh Green before O’Toole planted a header narrowly wide when well-placed.
Northampton continued to probe for an opening but they were repeatedly thwarted by the stubborn hosts, who enjoyed their own moments of promise at the other end, however neither side could find the breakthrough and the game ended goalless.
Burgess Hill starting XI: James, Doherty, Fisk, Budd, Pearson, Pointing, Harding, Keehan, Perry, Fraser, Harding.
Subs: Martins, Green, Saunders, Bradford, Pearse, Donaldson, Johnson, Smith, Hollins.
Cobblers: Smith, Lelan, Buchanan (Warburton 65), Taylor, Diamond, McDonald (Cresswell 45), Adams (Hackett 65), Byrom (O’Toole 45), Richards (Hoskins 65), Toney (D’Ath 65), Potter (Danny Clifton 65).
Sub not used: Clarke