AN END-to-end battle somehow finished goalless on Tuesday night as Buckland Athletic drew 0-0 with Brixham at Homers Heath.

The Devon Derby saw sixth-placed Buckland ‘ruing chances,’ according to Head Coach Dan Hart, while the Fishermen came within a matter of inches of reeling in all three points as only the goal-line intervention of a retreating Rob Farkins thwarted a first-half effort.

‘It’s a stalemate,’ Hart said. ‘It was two sides that defended their goals really well and limited each other to minimal chances, and I think it would be agreed we had the better of the open play. 

‘I think the clinical edge was missing and we were a little bit unfortunate but, as far as 0-0s go, it was a pretty decent one with lots of effort and intensity on a pitch that has been battered over the last few months but held up really well. It’s probably a fair result overall.’

It was the first time since the beginning of January that Buckland have kept a clean sheet and only the third time since the turn of the year that they have failed to find the net. Hart insisted that it was his side’s lack of scoring threat on his mind on Tuesday.

‘I think we’re in that moment of the season where, when we’re playing for places, goals count,’ he said. ‘I expect my teams to have good structure because we coach them well, so I’m pleased with a clean sheet but I think we’ve got the talent and the players and we had lots of goal-scorers on the pitch for the last half an hour, so I would have liked to have seen us create a little bit more from wide areas. 

'But Brixham marshalled us well and nothing really fell for us in the box. There were moments at the end where we were taking shots from wide angles or outside the box; you want them falling to your [Jared] Lewingtons, your [Josh] Grants and your [Ryan] Bushes, and they didn’t tonight. That’s why we weren’t able to take all three points. 

‘Certainly I’ll be ruing the amount of chances we created to give ourselves the chance to win.’

The chasm between Buckland and the play-off spots shrinks by a solitary point but remains at seven after the draw. Bridgwater United, who occupy that all-important fifth place, have a game in hand on the Bucks. Four games remain for Hart’s men but the target of promotion touted at the beginning of the season is gradually slipping out of reach.

‘While the opportunity is there we have to graft,’ Hart said. ‘We owe it to the club, the group and to us as coaches that work so hard to give everything in every game and see where that takes us in the league. 

‘We’ve all learnt an awful lot this year – as a club and as a squad – about how we conduct ourselves, how we put ourselves around on the pitch and how we create harmony in a dressing room. 

‘I think in my first season here we over-achieved with what we had in every way but this year we will be disappointed when we come away without being in a play-off spot or higher but it just shows the competitiveness of this division and the fine margins in it. 

‘There have been too many occasions – Brixham away being one, where they equalised in injury-time – where we could be places higher if we were able to do something which we’re really passionate about; scoring late goals. Those points would have made a huge difference on where we will eventually finish in this league.’