TURNSTILE problems led to a 10-minute delay in before kick-off at Moss Rose, and Newport County AFC never really got going until it was too late against a battling but limited Macclesfield Town side.

The 0-0 draw wasn’t too damaging for Michael Flynn’s men, who are now seven unbeaten.

They stay 11th in the table after the four sides above them also failed to win.

And they remain two points below seventh-placed Exeter City with a game in hand.

But this will feel like a missed opportunity against the relegation-threatened Silkmen.

Harry McKirdy replaced Jamille Matt in the one change from Friday’s thrilling 3-1 victory against Bury at Rodney Parade.

Matt was forced off with a dead leg at half-time against the Shakers after netting his 19th goal of the season and Flynn opted to give the big man a rest as he dropped to the bench.

McKirdy, a little nuisance of a forward, was rewarded for his impressive performances as a substitute over the past two weeks with what was only his second start since his deadline day loan move from Aston Villa.

And he was the Exiles’ main goal threat in a scrappy first half that was pretty low on quality.

The 22-year-old did well to win possession on the edge of the box after six minutes but his attempted curler towards the top corner was well off target.

McKirdy had another opportunity after a great run down the left flank from Josh Sheehan but he was crowded out before he could get his shot away.

And he again did well to charge down a clearance soon afterwards, only to see his shot blocked by Fiacre Kelleher.

Scot Bennett also had a half chance when Mickey Demetriou headed back across goal but Kelleher nipped in to clear the danger.

Sheehan sent a speculative long-range effort high over the bar and over the stand behind Kieran O’Hara’s goal and the Macclesfield stopper easily held a Matty Dolan free-kick in first-half stoppage-time.

The hosts went closest to breaking the deadlock before the interval thanks to two individual errors from the Exiles.

A misplaced Sheehan square ball presented Elliott Durrell with a clear run on goal but his control let him down and Joe Day was out quickly to spare the midfielder’s blushes.

And Demetriou then made amends for a poor clearance with a brilliant block to deny Brice Ntambwe what looked a certain goal six minutes before the break.

County were also glad to see Durrell waste another opening with a misjudged chip from the edge of the area.

South Wales Argus:

The second half continued in much the same way with both sides displaying plenty of urgency but not enough composure.

Bennett saw a diving header blocked by the legs of Miles Welch-Hayes at one end, while a long ball over the top caught out Regan Poole at the other but Smith hooked his shot well over the top.

Flynn looked to shake things up with a double change on 64 minutes as McKirdy and Dolan made way for Keanu Marsh-Brown and Ben Kennedy.

Both substitutes added a fresh energy to the County attack in the closing stages and they combined to tee up Bennett for a shot that was scrambled behind by O’Hara.

Kennedy then saw a curling effort beat O’Hara but the ball sailed just wide.

Sol Campbell sent on former Exiles loan man Reece Cole as he looked for the goal that would lift his side out of the bottom two.

Cole has earned himself a reputation as a free-kick specialist at Brentford, but the hapless Durrell took responsibility when Sheehan fouled his man 30 yards out and he fired well over Day’s bar.

Padraig Amond then crossed for Robbie Willmott but his header didn’t trouble O’Hara.

The enterprising Bennett was sacrificed in favour of Ade Azeez as both sides went all out for the win.

Sheehan appealed for a penalty and Amond saw a shot blocked in stoppage time.

But it was too little, too late, and a point apiece left both sides frustrated.

County: Day; Poole, O’Brien, Demetriou; Willmott, Bennett (Azeez, 81), Sheehan, Butler; Dolan (Kennedy, 64); Amond, McKirdy (Marsh-Brown, 64)

Subs not used: Pipe, Bakinson, Randall, Matt

Referee: Matt Donahue

Attendance: 2,265 (305 County)

Argus star man: Bennett