Published Tuesday, 01 May 2012
Distillery's Gary Thompson and Newry's Don Tierney during the play-off first leg (© Pacemaker)
The stalemate at Ballyskeagh on Tuesday night showed that the tie could still go either way when the teams meet again at The Showgrounds on Friday.
Both sides made an edgy start with the best chance falling to David Larmour for the Whites - he headed over at the back post from an Andy Hall corner.
Championship runners-up Newry went close when the ball was snatched away from Mark Hughes before he could connect with a cross from Darragh Hanaphy.
The referee turned down a penalty shout.
James Hand sent a free-kick narrowly wide of the Distillery goalpost in the second half before Gary Liggett fired well over for the home side five minutes later.
John Cunningham's side had one last chance right at the end when Andy Hunter nodded on a corner, only for Marty Havern to head the ball to safety.
It finished nil-nil with City, who were relegated from the IFA Premiership after the 2010/11 season, set to host the crucial return leg on Friday.
Pat McGibbon's men will be hoping to join Championship winners Ballinamallard United in the top flight while Distillery battle for survival after finishing in the 11th spot.