Charlestown and Valentine's frustrating starts to the Northern NSW NPL season continued on Sunday with a goalless draw in their catch-up game at Lisle Carr Oval.
The postponed round-one fixture was the only NPL match on the weekend, which was set aside five rounds into the league as teams in the top division start their FFA Cup campaigns.
Sunday's draw gave last-placed Valentine their first point of the season, while Azzurri moved to four points but remain eighth, behind Lake Macquarie on goal difference.
Azzurri dominated in the first half, creating chances down the flanks but failing to convert in front of goals.
Charlestown's 2020 Graham Jennings Medal winner Rene Ferguson was denied from close range in the 18th minute, while Jackson Frendo hit a good chance for the hosts over the crossbar in the 23rd.
Dean Pettit, on his starting debut, came closest for Charlestown, rattling the crossbar with a shot in the 30th.
Phoenix had few bright moments in the opening half but player-coach Adam Hughes was just wide with a header in the 36th.
The visitors turned the tide in the second half and more than matched Charlestown in opportunities created.
Valentine appealed for a penalty when youngster Max Middleby went down in the second minute of injury time but the call was waved away.
Both sides threatened in a frantic, end-to-end finish but the draw looked a fair result at fulltime.
Charlestown coach Graham Law said his side were frustrated at half-time after not capitalising on their dominance.
Law replaced midfielder Matt Tull with striker Scott Smith for the last half an hour to chase a winning goal but it was to no avail.
"If it was 4-0 at half-time, so one would have complained," Law said of his side's control of the first half.
"But you have no divine right to win any game. Every team has got a level of credibility in the comp this year and we were very respectful of Valentine.
"From watching them today, write Valentine off at your peril. Second half, when they got a bit of belief in themselves, transitionally they were quite effective.
"In the end, both teams could have won it.
"Fair play to Valentine. They would have felt fortunate to go in level at half-time but they were much better in the second half."
Aaron Oppedisano (hamstring) and Dom Bizzarri (groin) joined the Charlestown injury list and missed the clash, but defender Zac Lloyd (knee) got through the game despite coming off early on Wednesday night in their 4-2 FFA Cup win over Kahibah.
Azzurri have Riley Smith (broken arm) and Kane Goodchild (knee) with long-term injuries.
Valentine start their FFA Cup run against Minmi Wanderers on Wednesday night at Lake Macquarie Regional Football Facility.
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