The Magpies were at home for the third Saturday in a row and were keen to overcome recent disappointments on their own turf with Crawley Down Gatwick the latest visitors.
In a scrappy opening period, the visitors arguably had the best of it with captain Sam Cane going closest when his shot on 10 minutes grazed the post with Sam Smith at full stretch in the home goal. Indeed, that was the best of the first half hour, with neither side wanting to expose themselves too much but equally lacking in any great creativity in the final third.
The hosts broke that trend in the 34th minute though when a neat lay off by Dean Wright set Harry Bachelor away down the left. The young midfielder cut inside onto his right foot before rifling a shot from the edge of the area (above) into the bottom corner, giving Anvils' 'keeper Seb Boss no chance. With the deadlock broken, the Magpies should really have been two goals to the good 4 minutes later when Wright forced Boss into a low save but his parry fell to Michael Wood who hit the rebound from a narrow angle but the ball struck the junction of post and crossbar and out for a goal-kick.
With 5 minutes to go until the break the visitors sought to get themselves back into the game but were thwarted by brave blocks, firstly by French to deny Nick Sullivan and then by Adrian Todd to frustrate Dan Sullivan. In between those efforts Ollie Moore had a header at goal but his cross-goal effort lacked power and Boss claimed comfortably. The closing minutes of the half brought more goal mouth action than the rest of the half put together with Cane denied by Smith in the final minute of normal time, but there was still time for one further effort. Festus Loir made good progress down the left but when his shot was cleared it appeared the danger had been adverted. However, the visitor's most recent addition, right back Russell Malton, seized the ball in an advanced position before firing high and across Smith into the top corner to square the game.
The visitors had an equally good sight of goal just after the break too when Nick Sullivan met the ball at the near post but he should have done better than putting the ball over as he did. The hosts were struggling to gain any fluidity through the midfield but when they did break down the flanks the resulting deliveries were well dealt with by the Down defence and both sides were being forced into the somewhat speculative in search of the lead.
Just after the hour though, Nick Sullivan was presented with probably the clearest opportunity of the afternoon when he seized on indecision between Smith and his defence to nick the ball but he couldn't turn the ball home into the unguarded net from a tightening angle. The visitors had another great opportunity with 15 minutes to go when a direct free kick was turned onto the post by Smith's fingertips but his momentum saw him collide with the post prompting a lengthy delay as he received treatment for what was a telling save.
The break in play appeared to help the hosts as it arrested the Anvils' momentum and began to force a number of corners along with achieving testing possession out wide. The deliveries from both wasn't proving fruitful though with balls either comfortably gathered by Boss or opportunities wasted, such as substitute Alfie Gritt heading over in the 83rd minute.
Somewhat inevitably in the end the game would finish even with both sides probably not too enamoured with taking a point for their efforts. The Magpies now move into county cup action as they head to Saltdean United on Tuesday night.