GREENOCK’S first goal-less draw in the league this season wasn’t quite what manager Martin Campbell had called for pre-match.

But the point gained at Irvine could still prove to be a crucial one come the end of the league campaign.

With the Vics’ own status in the Super League First Division under threat, the draw was more damaging for them, as it leaves the Ayrshire club teetering just above the relegation zone and still four points behind the Ravenscraig men.

The scoreline in this match may have been blank, but that’s not to say there wasn’t much to keep the fans entertained.

After just five minutes, the home side came close from a corner, with a header going just over.

Greenock’s first real opportunity came 10 minutes later, when a Barri Stanton free-kick almost caught out home goalkeeper Chris Lamb, who stumbled when back-tracking and only just managed to reach and collect the ball before it crossed the line.

But it was the Vics who almost opened the scoring on 19 minutes.

A low, drilled corner found its way into the six-yard box, where it was met by David Wilson, who directed the ball towards goal but looked on in frustration as it hit the bar. The rebound fell to another home player, but his shot was saved by Greenock keeper Ryan McWilliams.

Both sides were pressing hard for the vital opener, and Allan Docherty almost got it for Greenock, as he took advantage of a slack back-header by a Vics defender, but his lob from a difficult angle went just past the post.

Five minutes before the break, it was Greenock’s turn to strike the woodwork, when Tam Jamieson hit the bar from a cross-cum-shot.

Jamie Cunning then suffered a nasty head knock — which later required a hospital visit and stitches — and was replaced by Brendan Gillan just before half-time.

The sub didn’t have the best of starts, though, as within a minute of the second half getting under way he missed an open goal, when scoring looked to be easier. Then on 65 minutes Greenock had a narrow escape.

From their own corner, the ball was cleared upfield to a Vics forward, whose chip from an acute angle clipped the top of the bar.

A few minutes later a Kenny Munro cross found Gillan at the back post, but his flick went just wide.

There was another let-off for Greenock 12 minutes from time, as the Vics struck the woodwork again. The visitors failed to clear their lines from a corner, resulting in a cross which was met by a home attacker, whose shot hit the base of the post and rebounded to safety.

But it was Greenock who ended the match in the ascendancy, with two near things.

Five minutes from time a long throw-in from Thomas Docherty was knocked on by Munro and met by the unmarked Allan Docherty, whose goal bound header was saved by home keeper Lamb.

Then right at the death the Nock had a goal chalked off.

A diagonal cross found Gillan at the back post, and his knock-down was met by Allan Docherty, who netted from six yards out. But the effort was disallowed by referee Colin McDonald, who deemed that Gillan had used an arm to knock the ball on. The match then ended with both sides having to settle for a share of the spoils, which Greenock gaffer Campbell, pictured, accepted was a fair outcome.

He said: “Over the piece the two teams were about even in terms of chances and performance, so a draw was just about right.

“Obviously I would have preferred the win, but we should be okay if we keep picking up some points while most of the sides below us lose, which was what happened on Saturday.” GREENOCK: McWilliams, Orr, Cunning (Gillan 43), McLaughlin, McGarrigle, Begley, T. Docherty, Jamieson, A. Docherty, Stanton (Craig 60), Brown (Munro 70). Subs not used: Murray, McQuilken.

Greenock Juniors are sponsored by SAVEHEAT, and the Lighthouse Bar.