Burton Albion were left to rue missed chances against Bristol City as their six-month, 14-game winless run at home continued with a 0-0 draw.
Albion doubled the attempts on goal of seventh-placed City but were unable to find the net at the Pirelli Stadium, settling for a point in their fight for survival.
Albion were superior in the early stages and, on the two-minute mark, were the first to get an effort on target when Tom Flanagan’s looping cross was met by the head of Derby County loanee Darren Bent; the resulting effort was straight at City ‘keeper Frank Fielding.
Moments later the Brewers’ promising start was dealt a blow when wide-man Lucas Akins pulled up with a hamstring strain and had to be replaced by Lloyd Dyer.
Despite the early set-back, the home-side continued to dominate proceedings but it was Bristol City who really tested a goalkeeper first after 35 minutes, when Jamie Paterson rounded Flanagan on the left-side of the box and forced a reflex save from Stephen Bywater at his near post.
In the 41st minute the Brewers finally broke through City defence as Hope Akpan, returning from injury, played a deft one-two with Liam Boyce to find himself through on goal, only to see his shot denied by Fielding down low.
In the aftermath of Akpan’s effort, the ball fell to captain Kyle McFadzean on the edge of the box. His initial effort was curling wide but a deflection off Bent sent it in the direction of Fielding, who was quick enough to react and hold on to the ball.
It was roles reversed in the second-half as City took control of the game, but also struggled to make openings.
Another injury blow hit the Brewers 10 minutes into the second-half when record-signing Boyce came out the worse in a 50-50 challenge and was unable to continue. Manager Nigel Clough replaced the Northern-Ireland international with Martin Samuelsen, on loan from West Ham United.
With the majority of the second period played in the middle of the pitch, it was not until the final 10 minutes that the game began to open up and with three minutes remaining Flanagan found space on the corner of the box and floated a ball to the far post, which evaded Marvin Sordell and Samuelsen and drifting harmlessly wide
City’s Josh Brownhill went by virtually unnoticed throughout but, with just seconds remaining, had the ball fall to his feet on the 18-yard line. A rifled shot was dealt with calmly by Bywater, who was content with holding on to the ball to secure a point.
Clough admitted at full-time that frustration is growing amongst his team.
He said: “If we had got the goals in the first-half that we deserved then it would have been a different story.
“We had the best two chances of the game, and if one or both of them go in then we win.
“It’s hugely frustrating because we’ve had chances in the last few weeks [to end winless run at home]against Millwall, Nottingham Forest and then again today.”
Burton now have to wait until April 4th, when Middlesbrough venture down south, for another opportunity to bring their drought at home to an end.