A match that had held so much intrigue with Chris Hughton and Aitor Karanka facing their former clubs ended in a dull 0-0 draw between Nottingham Forest and Birmingham at the City Ground.
It was Hughton’s Forest who often looked the more likely to snatch three points but they found themselves up against a keeper in good form in Neil Etheridge.
Tobias Figueiredo was denied by the Birmingham stopper late on but that was far from the first save from the keeper, who had also thwarted Ryan Yates and Sammy Ameobi more than once.
Birmingham’s chances were more limited but Ivan Sanchez had perhaps the best one of the game, with Forest keeper Brice Samba keeping his low effort out.
Ameobi flashed a shot narrowly wide from range in the first few seconds for Forest. Yates had a similar effort well saved by Etheridge in the Birmingham goal to set the tone for what was to follow.
It was a scrappy opening to the game beyond that first few minutes, with neither side really threatening until Yates attempted an overhead kick in the penalty area which was always wayward.
Cafu almost picked out Figueiredo from a corner before a delivery from Yuri Ribeiro was headed down by Lewis Grabban, setting up Yates for an acrobatic volley, which Etheridge kept out brilliantly, diving to his right with impressive reactions.
Birmingham had not mustered an effort on goal of any description, on or off target, but they rectified that in the 40th minute as both Alen Halilovic and Jeremie Bela had efforts charged down in the box.
Ameobi had two efforts from the edge of the box that Etheridge dealt with comfortably while Figueiredo jabbed the ball just wide of the upright following a decent corner delivery from Cafu.
Forest had enjoyed more possession and more of the chances but had failed to make the breakthrough by the interval.
Birmingham almost made the breakthrough early in the second half but Ivan Sunjic fired his low shot too close to Samba when he might have done better and Bela had a shot blocked by Figueiredo.
Forest tried to put more threat into their attacking options when they introduced Anthony Knockaert and Lyle Taylor off the bench with 61 minutes gone and then Joe Lolley seven minutes later.
But it was Samba who was called into action again to punch away a cross-shot from Bela.
Lolley picked out Grabban in the box with a clever pass but his attempt at a lofted shot was blocked.
Sanchez almost snatched it for Birmingham as he completed a twisting run with a low shot but was denied as Samba kept him out.
But Forest also had an opportunity to take all three points as Joe Worrall crossed for fellow central defender Figueiredo, who saw his near-post effort well saved.
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