Morecambe boss Jim Bentley had nothing but praise for FC Halifax Town after they came within an offside flag of victory at the Globe Arena.
An injury-time decision in the Shrimps’ favour meant a goalless draw in Saturday’s FA Cup first round meeting.
The two sides will meet again next Tuesday with a place in round two, as well as the small matter of £36,000 prize money, going to the winning team.
Bentley’s players enjoyed more of the possession and had almost six times as many shots as their visitors but most of those were from distance as the Shaymen put up a formidable defensive barrier.
However, as the Morecambe manager admitted afterwards, an early goal in their favour would have changed the game’s complexion as it did in the first round last year against Hartlepool United.
Rewind 12 months and Kevin Ellison struck in the fourth minute to give the Shrimps an early advantage before two second-half goals wrapped up victory.
“Goals do change games and, if we had got our nose in front, they would have had to come out a bit more,” Bentley said.
“There was a stage in the first half where we put 25 passes together but they were banked up and sat deep.
“That’s testament to them as they have worked hard on their defensive shape.
“If you go back to last year, we weren’t playing as well but we got the job done and the early goal meant that Hartlepool had to come out.
“When that happens, they have to have a go and you can maybe exploit that a bit but Halifax looked a threat on the counter-attack.
“Nathan Clarke has played hundreds of Football League games, as has Joe Skarz, Dayle Southwell is someone I’ve looked at in the past and Sanmi Odelusi has played in the Championship, so they are a capable outft.
“They did hurt us and we got away with one at the end but, although I thought we were the better side, the game is about putting the ball in the back of the net and we haven’t done it.
“I said before the game it didn’t matter how we did it but we had to get in the draw for the second round.
“You look at Yeovil Town getting beaten and Tranmere Rovers struggling; there are loads of strange scores up and down the country.
“I’m just grateful that one got chalked off at the end which gives us another chance.
“We go again next week when they are at home and we will look forward to that.”