Cheltenham Town produced a much improved performance on their travels to pick up a share of the spoils in Morecambe this afternoon.
They more than matched their opponents at the Globe Arena but despite their promising play throughout, they couldn't force veteran goalkeeper Barry Roche into a meaningful save in a game of few chances.
Morecambe hit the woodwork before the break while the Robins had half a claim for a penalty in the second half but that was about it on a windy afternoon on the Lancashire coast.
This was an infinitely better performance than the one we saw here at Easter, by a relatively young Robins side against a typically well chiselled outfit under Jim Bentley.
It leaves the Robins with a full gamut of results after three League Two games with Carlisle United in town on Tuesday night.
Duff made three changes to the side that were well beaten by Bristol Rovers on Tuesday. Ryan Broom (for Conor Thomas), Max Sheaf (Chris Clements) and Gavin Reilly (Alex Addai) came into the starting line-up with Tahvon Campbell dropping to the bench while young players Tom Chamberlain and Archie Brennan retained their places amongst the substitutes.
There was a sight of goal for seasoned campaigner Kevin Ellison around the 20-minute mark, seizing on some hesitation between Charlie Raglan and Ben Tozer but Scott Flinders did enough to see off the danger and by the half-hour mark, very little had had transpired in terms of goalmouth action.
But each side had a fantastic chance to break the deadlock as the opening 45 minutes drew to a close. First Gavin Reilly wasted a great chance to open his account for the Robins, spurning a chance at the far post before Lewis Alessandra, at the end, watched an angled drive come back off the angle of the goal.
Reilly almost caught Roche off guard with a looping cross in the opening moments of the second period. The hosts had changed formation to match Duff's men which was testament to his young side's effort before the break.
Duff made a couple of changes, replacing Sheaf (with Conor Thomas) and Reilly (George Lloyd) after the hour but the next chance fell to Stockton, who wrapped his foot around an Adam Buxton cross from the right but it flew a foot over.
Broom tried his luck from distance but it travelled well wide of the target during a spell of promising possession in the final quarter of the match which culminated in the midfielder being hauled down just outside the box by Roche, racing from his line.
The Morecambe number one was carded for the indiscretion but Doyle-Hayes' subsequent free-kick was cleared. Five minutes from time Sean Long lifted a clever effort onto the roof of the net after Lloyd had won a throw in out of nothing on the far side.
The young striker really put himself about during his cameo and won a corner as the game drew to a close, leading to two more but his side couldn't force a clear chance. Morecambe threatened in injury time but Flinders wasn't tested and the spoils were shared.
MORECAMBE (4-4-2): Roche (c); Buxton, Old, Lavelle, Tanner (Cranston 64); O'Sullivan, Tutte, Kenyon (Sutton 70), Ellison (Miller 64); Stockton, Alessandra. Subs not used: Halstead (Gk), Brewitt, Oates, Brownsword.
CHELTENHAM TOWN (3-5-2): Flinders; Raglan, Tozer (c), Greaves; Long, Broom, Sheaf (Thomas 56), Doyle-Hayes, Debayo; Reilly (Lloyd 66), Varney. Subs not used: Lovett (Gk), Bowry, Campbell, Brennan, Chamberlain.
REFEREE: D Rock
ATTENDANCE: 1,692 (128 from Cheltenham)