Wrexham 0, Milton Keynes Dons 0: THERE probably aren't too many diehard fans who would bet their mortgage on Wrexham avoiding relegation this season - particularly if they had watched the Dragons fail to win either of their two home matches last week.
But all those homeowners and prospective buyers have an opportunity to boost the club's finances as a result of a ground-breaking initiative between Wrexham Official Supporters' Association and the local branch of the Staffordshire Building Society, which will donate £100 to the cause for every new or switched mortgage deal concluded with supporters.
That the cash-strapped League One club could do with the money is self-evident - manager Denis Smith on Saturday told corporate guests that the lack of central heating oil at the Colliers Park training complex had forced his players to endure cold showers during the few days that proved to be the harshest spell of the winter.
The episode underlined the club's knife-edge existence - which was not greatly improved by another miserly attendance for a 'six-pointer' relegation battle.
A couple of hours later, following the 0-0 draw, Smith mounted a spirited defence of his players' performance against a Milton Keynes Dons side who set their stall out to avoid defeat.
'We've lost one in 10 so we are not a rubbish side, although some people might think we are,' he said.
'That's a decent record considering what's going on at this football club. To achieve what we have achieved the players have been magnificent.'
The stalemate preserved the Dons' five-point cushion over Wrexham, as the visiting defence put in a resolute performance in front of former Racecourse keeper Matt Baker, but the outcome might have been different had the home side been awarded an early penalty when defender Andy Holt rampaged into the Dons' penalty area after only five minutes.
An outstretched boot caused him to stumble, but instead of falling he regained his balance to set up a half-chance that brought the first save of the game from Baker, who held Matt Crowell's effort from 20 yards.
But Wrexham could not afford to ignore the threat posed by the pace and strength of Izale McLeod and the direct running of Wade Small.
The Dragons' back-line rarely matched the composure of the visitors' defence and their reluctance to get too close to their front two made for some painfully slow build-ups.
Twice in five minutes McLeod was first to the ball but couldn't force Ben Foster into a save, and the only other opportunity in the opening period fell to Wrexham's Spanish striker, Juan Ugarte, who headed tamely at Baker from Chris Llewellyn's centre.
Six minutes before the break the Dons survived another penalty shout, referee Phil Prosser leniently waving away an apparent handball by Michel Pensee-Bi-long.
The visitors came out of their shell when attacking the goal in front of their fans, initiated by a powerful run from Small, who pulled his shot wide of the goal with McLeod in vain trying to turn the ball in at the far post.
McLeod himself was equally wasteful when put through by Clive Platt, and Small came off worse in a collision with Foster and was carried off with what later proved to be nothing worse than a bruised ankle.
The Dons should have gone ahead in the 75th minute when Foster spilled a fierce drive from Platt. McLeod pounced to steer the rebound towards an empty net but Morgan got back to hook the ball off the line.
And in a nervous final few minutes for the visitors, Ugarte saw his free-kick deflected just wide of Baker's left-hand post before the keeper preserved a point for his side with a fine save from Sam.