Bury 0, Lowestoft Town 0

It's as you were in the race for promotion to Blue Square South after a tense Suffolk derby ended goalless on Tuesday night.

Suffolk's top two non-league sides – meeting for the first time at step three level – had to settle for a point apiece after a stalemate watched by 931 spectators at Ram Meadow.

Lowestoft, starting the match in fourth – seven points behind second-placed Bury but with two games in hand – failed to close the gap despite dominating the second period.

However, it was Bury who came closest to breaking the deadlock, when Neil Andrews saw his 30-yard shot come back off the bar with Andy Reynolds beaten.

Outstanding Bury skipper Tom Bullard and his fellow defenders made a series of last-ditch blocks as the home team held firm under almost continuous pressure as the second half went on. Matt Nolan drilled a shot straight into Marcus Garnham's stomach and the Bury keeper then beat away a vicious effort by former Woodbridge team-mate Joe Francis and substitute Adrian Forbes saw a shot deflected wide in the closing stages.

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Lowestoft, fresh from Saturday's 8-1 victory over Hendon, settled quicker and looked the more threatening in the early stages.

Francis was prominent on the left and from his low cross Nolan should have done better but mis-kicked wide in the 12th minute.

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Neither side was able to get a firm grip on the game, which was being played at a frenetic pace.

Bury almost went ahead in the 20th minute when James Scowcroft flicked on Russell Short's long throw at the near post and Andrew Cave-Brown had to head clear from underneath the bar at the far post.

Scott Mitchell's shot from the right touchline dipped and had Garnham scrambling backwards before it dropped just over the bar on the half hour.

Just seconds later Nolan linked well with Francis and the left winger's cross shot just evaded the far post. Scowcroft's header from Sam Reed's 37th minute free kick cleared the bar as the half ended goalless.

Mitchell, a constant threat on the right of midfield, twice went close after the restart and Francis saw two low crosses scrambled clear as the visitors set the tone but were unable to find a way through.

• Bury Town: Garnham, Short, Coulson, Andrews, Hipperson, Bullard, Leabon, Scowcroft, S Reed, L Reed, Chaplin (Nurse, 80). Unused subs: Nunn, Ingram, Henderson, Pope.

• Lowestoft Town: Reynolds, Cave-Brown, Smith, Fisk, Crane, Haynes-Brown, Mitchell, Cockrill, Nolan (Forbes, 87), Frew, Francis. Unused subs: Halliday, Forshaw, Godbold, Stock.

• Referee: Mr M George (Norwich).

• Attendance: 931.

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