Promotion-chasing Sheffield United lost ground on Championship leaders Burnley as they were held to a goalless draw at Rotherham in a hard-fought South Yorkshire derby.
The Blades started strongly but the hosts created the biggest chance of the first half when Wes Foderingham clawed away Hakeem Odoffin’s close-range header.
Anel Ahmedhodzic sent a header over the bar from Jayden Bogle’s teasing cross after the break, and Bogle slashed a close-range shot over when picked out by Sander Berge.
But the visitors could find no way through and are now seven points behind Burnley, who beat Norwich in the other lunchtime kick-off, and 13 clear of third-placed Middlesbrough before the afternoon games.
Rotherham fell short of completing a first league double over their South Yorkshire rivals since the 1980-81 season, but extended their unbeaten run to three matches to move six points clear of the relegation places in 20th.
Since defeat by the Millers in November, the Blades have now gone unbeaten in 11 games in all competitions and dropped just four points from nine league matches.
They bossed the opening half hour, with Millers goalkeeper Viktor Johansson holding Berge’s strong shot from the edge of the box before Oli McBurnie’s effort was blocked after a sweeping move.
A succession of corners were dealt with comfortably by Matt Taylor’s side, who grew into the first half and created the most dangerous moments – particularly when Tariqe Fosu-Henry’s cross picked out Odoffin unmarked.
The away side carried the greater threat after the break, with Berge’s dangerous ball across the face of goal lacking a finishing touch, and Bogle twice snatching at efforts inside the box.
Billy Sharp was brought on for the final 15 minutes as Paul Heckingbottom made an attacking double change.
Yet Rotherham’s defence, featuring debutant Conor Coventry, coped well to extend their unbeaten run to three matches despite losing Bailey Wright to a suspected concussion just four minutes into his debut as a 71st-minute substitute.
Rotherham manager Matt Taylor:
“There were fine margins, neither team dominated enough facets of the game to feel comfortable at any stage.
“We had our best chances in the first half, but from that point on we didn’t quite create enough goalscoring opportunities, not for the want of trying. We have come up against a very good team today.
“Content is the right word. I still want the psyche and mentality of the group to be going for the win towards the end of the game – I know we were out on our feet.”
Sheffield United boss Paul Heckingbottom:
“We certainly have played worse than that and won games this season and we probably will do again, so I take it as a positive point.
“Rotherham are third-top scorers in the league at home and if you don’t stand up they beat you up. I thought we stood up to it very well and I’m pleased.
“The only thing that was missing for us was in the final third and the final pass. There were one or two things that didn’t drop for us, but I am pleased with lots of things.”
- 20HallSubstituted forWrightat 69′minutesSubstituted forHardingat 73′minutes
- 18RathboneBooked at 78mins
- 10HugillSubstituted forWashingtonat 69′minutes
- 7Fosu-HenrySubstituted forFergusonat 83′minutes
- 15AhmedhodzicBooked at 56mins
- 23OsbornSubstituted forMcAteeat 74′minutes
- 9McBurnieSubstituted forSharpat 74′minutes
- Graham Scott
Match ends, Rotherham United 0, Sheffield United 0.
Second Half ends, Rotherham United 0, Sheffield United 0.
Attempt missed. Jayden Bogle (Sheffield United) right footed shot from the right side of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Billy Sharp with a through ball.
Sander Berge (Sheffield United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Hakeem Odoffin (Rotherham United).
Delay over. They are ready to continue.
Delay in match because of an injury Chiedozie Ogbene (Rotherham United).
Foul by Anel Ahmedhodzic (Sheffield United).
Chiedozie Ogbene (Rotherham United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt saved. Hakeem Odoffin (Rotherham United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is saved in the centre of the goal.
Hand ball by Chiedozie Ogbene (Rotherham United).
Attempt saved. Billy Sharp (Sheffield United) right footed shot from the left side of the box is saved in the top left corner. Assisted by Iliman Ndiaye.
Offside, Sheffield United. Oliver Norwood tries a through ball, but Billy Sharp is caught offside.
Offside, Sheffield United. Billy Sharp tries a through ball, but Jayden Bogle is caught offside.
Attempt missed. Billy Sharp (Sheffield United) right footed shot from the centre of the box is close, but misses to the right. Assisted by Anel Ahmedhodzic with a cross.
Substitution, Rotherham United. Shane Ferguson replaces Tariqe Fosu-Henry.
Oliver Rathbone (Rotherham United) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
James McAtee (Sheffield United) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Oliver Rathbone (Rotherham United).
Corner, Rotherham United. Conceded by John Egan.