Stafford Town’s rearranged visit to northern neighbours Abbey Hulton United ended as a 0-0 stalemate at Drayton Beaumont Park, with neither side able to produce a piece of enough attacking quality to claim all three points. Stafford will be satisfied however that they had the greater measure of control in the game, especially in the second half, and keeping a clean sheet away from home after some recent defensive frailties saw them concede eleven goals in their last two league matches can also be deemed a success. Following a curling shot by Abbey in the first minute that was wide; the first fifteen minutes of the game saw no further chances for either side, the match being played at a frantic tempo as both sides struggled to maintain possession and build proper attacks. In the 18th minute a Stafford short corner resulted in a cross by Declan Arber that was glanced across the goal before going just wide. Two minutes later an Abbey free kick towards the edge of the box dropped free for a volley that was wide of the target. Stafford then headed a corner into the side netting at the back post and had a shot by Nathan Scott deflected wide for a corner. Abbey then wasted a free kick in a promising position, firing into the wall before weakly putting the follow up attempt wide. Arber flashed another dangerous delivery from the right across the front of the Abbey goalmouth in the 33rd minute, but no Stafford player was able to turn the ball home. Abbey looked to have a chance on the break as half time approached, winning possession in the Stafford half on the right; however the shot was again dragged wide. Stafford were looking much more solid defensively than in recent league outings and they were hopeful of adding some attacking precision to their play in the second period. HT 0-0. The Abbey attacking threat certainly diminished after the break and Stafford began to enjoy longer spells of possession, although Abbey looked unlikely to concede as they defended in numbers and with a good shape that Stafford were unable to break down. Five minutes into the half saw a driven cross by Scott flicked clear, the ball reaching Harry Bowers but he scuffed his shot wide from distance. The next ten minutes saw Josh Wilson also drag a shot wide after cutting inside before debutant Arek Pociask saw his well-struck effort from distance go over the bar. Scott then shot over following a good Stafford break down the left before a Wilson free kick into the box from the right was headed wide at the backpost. As the game entered the final fifteen minutes Abbey had a rare foray forward, shooting wide from distance before Stafford put together the best spell of possession on the night, working the ball across the pitch a couple of times and probing the Abbey defence who had to work hard to make sure that no finish arrived. Despite being in control for the majority of the half Stafford were unable to create the clear chance required to score, Abbey having a final shot wide before the referee brought an end to proceedings. FT 0-0. Stafford will have to be at their best to get anything from their next league match at Evans Park against New Mills on Saturday 5th March, before turning their attention to the visit of Staffordshire neighbours Eccleshall in the Second Round of the First Division Challenge Cup (Edward Case Cup) on Tuesday 8th March.