Bristol City’s charge towards the Championship play-offs hit a bump in the road as they were held to a 0-0 draw by Birmingham at St Andrew’s.
A low-quality contest did little to ease Wayne Rooney’s concerns, with the Blues boss still having only two wins to his name since succeeding John Eustace 14 games ago, while Liam Manning saw his team’s three-game winning streak snapped.
A drab first half ended with neither goalkeeper having much to do. Birmingham produced the only shot on target, while Bristol City dominated the ball with 69 per cent possession.
The first attempt on goal came in the second minute when home skipper Dion Sanderson diverted a near-post corner from Juninho Bacuna over the bar.
The Robins then had two decent openings 10 minutes apart. First Nahki Wells turned Jordan James inside the area and the ball ballooned up to the unmarked Anis Mehmeti, who couldn’t apply a meaningful contact with his head from eight yards out.
Midway through the period the same player had an equally good opportunity when he was picked out by a right-wing cross from Mark Sykes but he could only nod over.
The only time a goalkeeper was tested throughout the entire match came seven minutes before the break when Bacuna invited Manny Longelo forward. The left-back approached the penalty area and fired in a low shot which was firm but straight at Max O’Leary.
The second half started in a similar vein with the Robins maintaining possession yet not really doing much with it.
Rooney tried to breathe some life into his team with a triple substitution in the 64th minute, with 17-year-old Romelle Donovan’s first start coming to an end when he was replaced by Tyler Roberts.
Keshi Anderson and Oliver Burke also came on with the latter at least sparking some urgency in his team. A couple of minutes later, with the tempo rising Bacuna pulled a long distance shot just wide of the post.
With 11 minutes remaining visiting captain Jason Knight angled a curling, low cross from the right into the near post where Andreas Weimann applied the faintest of touches but the ball dribbled across goal and past the back post.
The home supporters thought Ivan Sunjic had given them a late victory when his last-minute drive skimmed past the post and rebounded off the hoardings into the back of the netting but the match ended to a rumble of boos from the Blues faithful.