WINSFORD'S scoring problems cost them a place in the FA Cup on Saturday.
They were the better team overall at Booth Street in the extra-preliminary round, but could not convert superiority into goals.
They might have scored in the first minute when flying winger Dave Hanlon beat the defenders and his cross found Mark Quinn but the home goal-keeper Terry McCormick made the first of many fine saves.
The sixth minute saw Jamie Mottershead make a point blank save to deny Gerrard Courtney in what was a rare home attack and Phil Porter cleared the rebound off the line.
Training ground routines made Winsford dangerous from corners and a devastating delivery from Dave Hanlon in the 14th minute needed only a touch, but somehow the ball eluded everyone.
Much against the run of play Congleton took the lead in the 19th minute when Neil Marsh's clearance was put back into the box and Scott Murcott headed home from close range.
A minute later the Blues looked to have equalised when Hanlon's corner found the head of Dave Chambers but the ball hit the bar and bounced down on the line before being cleared.
Just about every scoring chance was provided by Hanlon but his own 37th minute shot from the edge of the box was spectacularly headed off the line by Ben Alston.
It was a similar story in the second half with Scott Taylor creating openings but United were slow to react.
An otherwise subdued Rob Hopley brought a fine save from McCormick and Taylor's effort at the rebound was scrambled clear. The man-of-the-match goalkeeper made further saves from Taylor and Hanlon in the closing minutes.
United: Mottershead; Robinson, Chambers, Marsh, Stanton; Taylor, Porter, Quinn, Hanlon; Melia, Hopley. Attendance: 153.
Star Man: Dave Hanlon, magic moments on a dull day.
Next Best: Scott Taylor. Team Rating: 3. Match Rating: 3.