Finn Harps manager Peter Hutton admitted recent results have made his hair grow grey but was content to get a decent point against the Longford Town on Friday night at Finn Park.
The 0-0 scoreline means Harps remain the only club in the second flight that Longford have failed to defeat this term.
Harps won the corresponding home fixture 1-0 in March and then left Flancare Park with a fine 3-2 victory in May.
“It was a lot more positive than the last few weeks,” Hutton said on Friday. “It was a decent draw with a battling performance that showed graft and hard work.
“Longford are a big, strong side that are very dangerous at set pieces. It’s a matter of concentration and we had some very decent passages of play as well.
“There’s even a touch of disappointment as we had some good opportunities there as well. We were in the ascendency and thought if we could score then we could capitalise on it.
“But the important thing is the clean sheet.”
Harps were missing central defenders Keith Cowan, through suspension and Thomas McMonagle, who aggravated a foot injury in the 2-2 draw with Cobh Ramblers seven nights’ beforehand.
However, with Aaron O’Hagan and Josh Mailey, who was making his first start at centre-half in the league having previously moonlighted at right-back, there was a solid look.
Hutton also reintroduced the 4-3-3 formation with which he has tinkered with this term, most notably in the EA Sports tie with Derry City in May, a match when Harps were unfortunate to lose on penalties.
“The lads that came in did a good job,” Hutton said. “I think 4-3-3 is a learning curve and it’s new to some of them. We had enforced changes with one thing and another but everyone did well.
“Josh has had a couple of games, in Salthill and Waterford at right-back, but he and Aaron had good games. I said to them before the game that they had done well against Derry so it wasn’t alien.
“We’ve been inconsistent in this league and I’ve gone grey overnight. But that’s football and what we’re working to alleviate that with such a young team.
“We always speak about the importance of players looking after themselves and that’s exactly why we’ve a team in the Ulster Senior League.
“That is a positive thing and we need players to be match fit when called upon.”