Eastern Suburbs Women are in control of the title race after fighting out a 0-0 draw with second-placed The Gap Women at Heath Park on Saturday night.
The stalemate keeps Easts a point clear of their nearest rivals and three ahead of Palm Beach SC Women, who hold a game in hand but have seven goals to make up.
Though now outsiders for the title with three matches to play, Gators will take heart from an eighth clean sheet in 10 minutes ahead of the post-season.
The pressure of the occasion was evident early as the usually-lethal Leah Curtis shot over the crossbar under pressure from Jenna McCormick.
It wasn’t until midway through the half that the league-leaders came more into the match although they still required goalkeeper Tash Mavrick to keep out Bethany Ashton.
Tegan Riding loomed dangerously for the hosts but couldn’t maximise her opportunities as it remained deadlocked at the break.
Gators pair Ashton and Curtis had further efforts in the early stages of the second-half while Ashlee Watkins spooned Easts’ best chance of the half over the crossbar.
As the match ticked a potentially season-defining final five minutes, both goalkeepers took centre stage to preserve the scoreless draw.
Mavrick was first quick off her line to snuff out a threatening through-ball, before Noran Abaza pulled off a sharp save to deny Riding at the other end.
Watkins teed up Riding for one final chance in the dying moments but her effort was deflected wide as the two sides settled for a point apiece.
Speaking after the match, Easts player Susie McKeen complimented both sides on their efforts.
“It was a great contest between both teams as we knew it would be. (It was) a bit unfortunate towards the end we didn’t put one away but it was a really good game,” McKeen said.
Gators coach Rob Askew expressed belief that the result might put the premiership beyond his side.
“We’re kind of traditional in the way we like to be the winners of the first past the post. That’s now well and truly out of our hands,” Askew said.
Eastern Suburbs FC Women 0
The Gap FC Women 0