THE Muswellbrook Eagles survived a trip to Lake Macquarie, dropping points but remaining unbeaten in the 2019 season.
It was a tense match, which could have easily gone either way before finishing as a 1-all draw, after some heroics from keeper Ben Walsh.
Despite a relatively even 90 minutes, the home side had the better of the chances and would have scored several times if it weren't for the stopper's incredible reflexes and positioning.
Coach Brodern Adam-Smith praised the Irishman's efforts and said he was crucial to the final result.
"Lake Macquarie [had chances] but they didn't look likely with Ben Walsh being in such great form," he said.
"Ben made a lot of one-on-one saves and distributed the ball well all game."
He was however unable to do anything about the late equaliser, as the defence allowed a corner to be tapped in at the near post.
It was particularly disappointing for them to concede having scored no more than 10 minutes earlier via an Andrew Spradbrow penalty.
The captain now has six from three games, strengthening his reputation as a top poacher and clinical spot-kick taker.
He will, however, want to rein in the white line fever after receiving a yellow card in the first half for late contact on an opponent.
Marty Stuart also played extremely well in an unnatural position in the second half, bringing his high-pressure brand of defence to the attacking midfielder role.
Andy Nolan was impressive in defence again, winning almost every one on one contest and marshalling the back four well from open play.
The team has now slipped into second place on the ladder behind Hamilton Azzuri, and will face off against Cooks Hill at Victoria Park this coming weekend.
Adam-Smith believes he has highlighted some areas for the side to improve upon to get back onto the winner's list.
"We had a lot of chances but just couldn't capitalise, Shep [Mitchell Shepherd] was threatening down the right flank winning the penalty which was a game changer," said the coach.
"After taking the lead with 15 to go, we set up too defensive allowing Lake Macquarie too much space to move the ball around in the middle of the park."
In D grade, captain Clint Lanesbury secured a point for the side with both goals as they drew 2-all against Maryland Fletcher away from home.
They sit fifth on the table after three rounds and will take on top-placed Tenambit Sharks this Friday at 7pm at Victoria Park.
In the junior divisions, the under-10s and 11s put in proud performances, the 12 and unders secured a sweet victory against rivals Singleton Strikers, 14s took a point away against New Lambton with a 1-all draw and it was a memorable 6-2 victory at Dungog for the under-16s.