LITTLEHAMPTON Football Club’s hopes of lifting the County League title were dealt a blow on Monday when they were held at home by last season’s champions East Preston.
The point leaves Golds four points adrift of leaders Dorking Wanderers, although Littlehampton do have a game in hand.
Wanderers took maximum points from their Easter matches, while Golds picked up just one point, after a loss at Horsham YMCA on Saturday.
Littlehampton were nearly ahead inside two minutes against EP but Shay Wiggans’ cross was just out of Lee Garnham’s reach.
Joe Shelley then went close to netting against his former side but his fierce strike from 30 yards was parried wide by EP stopper Steve Allfrey.
The visitors grew into the game as the half went on and could have taken the lead on 30 minutes.
Michael Belli’s knock-down found Ben Gray, who crashed a left-footed shot towards goal but his effort was tipped over by Jon Hendrick.
Shaun Charles then embarked on a fine run before his cross deflected off Mark Zydonik and into Hendrick’s arms.
Littlehampton continued to push forward in the second half and should have gone in front on 60 minutes.
A fine breakaway move saw Scott Packer released down the left by George Gaskin, his cross found Dave Herbert but his goalbound effort was blocked by Scott Johnston.
The closest either side went was 15 minutes from time.
Golds’ Mitchell Hand’s floated free kick was headed down by Shelley and Kieron Pamment struck a sweet left-footed strike which came back off a post.
Allfrey then pulled off a remarkable one-handed stop to deny Shelley with a header late on and it ended scoreless.
Littlehampton travel to Hailsham on Saturday, while leaders Dorking are at Eastbourne United, where Golds lost 3-0 in February. Littlehampton are then away to Eastbourne Town on Tuesday.
EP travel to Ringmer on Saturday.
LITTLEHAMPTON: J.Hendrick; Wiggans, Zydonik, Bates, Hand; Humphreys, Shelley, Swain; Garnham, Gaskin, Pamment. Subs: Herbert (Garnham), Packer (Swain), Boswell (Gaskin), McKay, Peters.
EAST PRESTON: Allfrey; Curtis, Johnston, Franks, Miles; Belli, Hampson, O’Callaghan, Grantham; Gray, Charles. Subs: Tilley (Grantham), Chadwick, O’Callaghan.