WHITLEY Bay missed out on all three points in their home game against Durham City after being denied four times by the woodwork.
But the visitors also had their chances and might have won the game in stoppage time had it not been for excellent goalkeeping by Kyle Hayes.
Whitley named the same side that scored eight against Norton & Stockton in midweek, with Ashley Davis making his home debut.
Back in the Northern League and making their first visit to Hillheads for four years, Durham started in lively fashion and Hayes had to push a goal bound shot over the bar with less than seven minutes played.
Bay responded and City keeper Rhys Jobling did well to push a shot from Denver Morris onto the post, the ball then deflecting away.
An immediate clearance down field eluded the Bay defence and saw the ball played square by Scott Fenwick into the path of Gary Shaw who fired past Hayes to put the visitors ahead.
Whitley fought back and pegged City into their own half as they searched for an equaliser.
On 17 minutes, Chris Fawcett provided Morris with a cross from the left which Jobling saved well.
Two minutes later, Davis drilled in a shot from the edge of the area and the ball crashed off the underside of the bar and was scrambled clear.
On the half hour City captain Madden was booked for a challenge on Davis.
Whitley kept up the pressure and when Paul Chow flicked the ball on to Lee Kerr, his first time effort clipped the bar with Jobling beaten.
Five minutes before half-time, Madden drove a City free kick over the bar while at the other end Davis skilfully brought a long ball under control before firing in a shot that Jobling saved, to keep his side one goal up at the interval.
The second half opened with a Chow header crashing off the bar.
But their persistence was rewarded just moments later when Paul Robinson’s right wing corner was headed home by Brian Smith.
It was no more than Bay deserved.
Substitute James Fairley, on for Morris, had an excellent chance when played clear by Kerr, but he hesitated and his shot was off target.
Durham might have regained the lead in the 69th minute when Jack Pounder broke clear but he wasted a glorious chance, blazing his over the bar.
It looked as if the miss would prove costly when seconds later Whitley went in front.
Robinson’s neat pass cut through the City defence and Chow’s fierce shot crashed off the underside of the bar and into the net.
After a quiet start to the season, this was his fifth goal in three games.
Having battled so hard to get their noses in front, Whitley let their concentration slip for a crucial moment and within seconds of the game restarting, Fenwick was allowed sufficient time and pace to fire home a great shot from fully 25 yards.
The goal seemed to stun Whitley and although they battled to regain the lead, and despite bringing on substitutes Michael McMullen and Craig Smith, they created relatively few chances in the remaining minutes.
However, there was drama at both ends as the game entered stoppage time.
Whitley briefly thought they had snatched a winner when LeePaul Scroggins fired home a cross from McMullen but the goal was ruled out for an infringement on the keeper.
Then at the other end, a desperate goalmouth scramble saw the ball twice cleared off the line before Pounder wasted the last chance of the game, firing high over the bar.
Speaking after the game, Bay midfielder Robinson, although disappointed with the result, was upbeat about Whitley’s performance.
He said he felt that Whitley had played well in spells, created plenty of chances and deserved to have won the game, but Durham’s equaliser, coming so soon after Whitley had gone ahead, had been a killer blow.
Whitley Bay: Hayes, McFarlane, Fawcett, Reid, B Smith (C Smith 86 mins), Scroggins, Morris (Fairley 51 mins), Davis, Kerr (McMullen 81 mins), Chow, Robinson. Subs not used: Palmer, Rowe.