PRESTWICH Heys just about kept themselves in the play-off race with a gutsy goalless draw at home to Chadderton on Saturday.
Jon Lyons' men bounced back from two defeats and overcame a crippling injury list to battle to a point.
The result left them eighth in the Hallmark Security League First Division, five points behind Alsager Town in sixth but with a game in hand.
Chadderton, who are ninth, went into the game in good form, having lost just one of their previous six games.
Heys were forced to put coach Mark Baguley in goal in place of the injured Andrei Stinca. And Chris Baguley pulled out just before kick off, meaning James Hampson had to go through a late fitness test before starting instead of him.
The late replacement had Heys' first chance, but his shot from Adam Nuttall's pull-back was well blocked.
While the home side enjoyed the greater possession, Chadderton had the better chances.
Aaron Scholes, watched by his dad, ex-Manchester United and England midfielder Paul Scholes, had a couple of good efforts, forcing Baguley to push a shot on the turn around the post and also crashing a strike against the bar.
Baguley also got an important touch to a James Curley cross to divert the ball away from two waiting Chadderton players.
Chadderton started the second half in similarly lively fashion and Baguley again made a timely intervention to cut out a Matthew Crothers' cross.
Paul Tierney replaced Hampson in the 55th minute and almost made an immediate impact with a great ball into the box but visiting keeper Michael Smith was quick to react to cover at the feet of Nuttall.
Lyons put on Michael Itela and Carl Fitton for the final 15 minutes and the switch almost brought instant reward.
After Itela had been upended the ensuing free kick caused panic in the Chadderton defence and the ball broke to Nuttall, whose angled low shot flashed agonisingly wide.
The visitors finished the game stronger and Crothers twice found space but fired over and then wide.
In contrast, last Wednesday's defeat at promotion chasers Charnock Richard ended 5-2.
Nuttall and Jamie Baguley were on the mark as Heys fought back from two goals down to level at 2-2 before conceding three goals in the final 15 minutes.
Heys' punishing schedule continued last night when they entertained Cheadle Town, after the Guide went to press. They travel to Atherton LR on Saturday, kick off 3pm, and are at Bacup next Wednesday (8pm).
Heys Reserves can still win the Manchester League Division One title after a 2-1 victory at Boothstown.
Goals by Matt Jolly and Steve Charles moved them to within nine points of leaders Heyside with six games in hand. Heys Reserves host Westbury on Saturday (2pm) with Bolton County the visitors on Tuesday night (6.30pm).