Stalemate between Wednesday and Derby at Hillsborough
There was no splitting Sheffield Wednesday and Derby as the Sky Bet Championship promotion hopefuls fought out a cagey, goalless draw at Hillsborough.
Paul Clement's men made the short journey up the M1 to take on the play-off-chasing Owls in an encounter that failed to set alight.
Wednesday failed to translate an impressive first-half display into a lead and had to ride their luck at times after the break, with Derby midfielder Bradley Johnson rattling the crossbar late on.
It was a rare moment of excitement during a frustrating encounter, but things could have been so much different had Ross Wallace's exceptional half-volley 15 minutes in not been met by an equally-impressive save from former Wednesday goalkeeper Lee Grant.
Derby were a shadow of the side that so impressively won at Hull last time out but improved markedly after half-time, with Johnson their main threat on his return from suspension.
The former Norwich midfielder forced Kieren Westwood into action for the first time of the afternoon and then almost snatched victory with nine minutes remaining, rattling the crossbar from an indirect free-kick inside the Wednesday box.
Johnson and Grant were the only changes made by Derby boss Clement, with the latter making his first Rams appearance since September 12.
The goalkeeper exhibited little sign of rust at his old stomping ground, though, and showed great agility to turn away Wallace's exceptional half-volley.
That classy effort was a bolt out of the blue in a tepid opening 15 minutes and, while it did not light the touch paper, it saw Wednesday attack with more regularity.
Derby's backline were having to deal with a number of threatening balls into the box as the hosts upped the ante, but Barry Bannan and Fernando Forestieri's long-range efforts were the only attempts of note before half-time.
The visitors created less still and that inability to muster so much as a serious effort on goal likely led to a feisty half-time exchange.
Derby certainly returned with a new spring in their step, with Johnson heading over and Chris Martin seeing a clipped free-kick deflected wide.
Play was now swinging from end to end and soon after Wednesday striker Lucas Joao saw an effort blocked, with Daniel Pudil collecting the ball and firing across the face of goal.
Derby midfielder Johnson forced Westwood into his first save of the afternoon in the 67th minute and almost beat the Wednesday goalkeeper.
Shortly after Wallace flashed over for the hosts, the Rams attacked and Westwood handled a Glenn Loovens back pass.
Referee Graham Scott awarded an indirect free-kick and Johnson hit a rasping drive that smashed the underside of the bar, with Martin's follow-up saved.
Loovens headed wide from a corner and Derby substitute Darren Bent netted after the offside flag had been raised as a tame match reached a goalless conclusion.