For the second time this season the Steel City derby between Sheffield United and Sheffield Wednesday ended 0-0.
A tense game with few chances was defined by two good opportunities and two fine saves.
In the first half Keiren Westwood sharply blocked an effort from former Owl Gary Madine from just six yards. In the second, Sam Hutchinson struck his shot from eight yards straight at United goalkeeper Dean Henderson.
“I don’t think either side deserved to win the game because neither showed enough quality,” Blades manager Chris Wilder told the Sheffield Star.
“The game was littered with fouls and never got going.
“It was a game of two chances really, and Gary should score really and Sam should score for them. They were the only clear openings – there were some bits and pieces, but no-one did enough to win.”
Wilder made three changes to the side that started the 1-0 win at West Bromwich Albion the previous week. Chris Basham came in for Martin Cranie at the back, while Jack O’Connell replaced Marvin Johnson with Enda Stevens moving from central defence into his usual position at left wing-back.
Finally, Madine was preferred to David McGoldrick upfront. However, aside from his one big opportunity the Cardiff City loanee struggled to make much impact.
Yet when McGoldrick was brought on for Madine in the 68th minute United’s fortunes going forwards changed. Three of their seven shots came in those final 22 minutes, they spent 53% of that time in the attacking third, completed 73 passes and put in 10 crosses.
One of those, from McGoldrick, had to be hacked away by Wednesday defender Michael Hector as the hosts defended resolutely.
Not only that, but the decision from Wilder to bring off attacking midfielder Kieran Dowell for centre-back Cranie on 62 minutes suggested he was happy with a point at Hillsborough.
The 51-year-old is a superb tactician and has deployed an inventive system with overlapping central defenders. But that doesn’t mean he gets everything right.