Aston Villa lost ground in their search for automatic promotion as they were held to a 0-0 draw by Hull in the Sky Bet Championship on Saturday evening.
Albert Adomah missed two chances to open up an early lead at the KCOM, firstly poking Robert Snodgrass' teasing cross over from close range, before being dispossessed just yards from the goal line by Ola Aina.
Hull, battling for their lives at the bottom half of the table, defended well and were denied what looked like a clear penalty early in the second half when Jack Grealish raised his hands to Seb Larsson's free-kick.
Hull: McGregor (6), Aina (7), Dawson (8), MacDonald (6), Clark (6), Larsson (6), Henriksen (6), Bowen (7), Irvine (6), Wilson (6), Hernandez (7)
Subs: Toral (6), Hector (5), Grosicki (n/a)
Aston Villa: Johnstone (6), Tuanzebe (6), Chester (6), Terry (6), Hutton (7), Jedinak (6), Snodgrass (6), Lansbury (6), Grealish (6), Adomah (5), Grabban (5)
Subs: Kodjia (5), Elmohamady (6), Hogan (n/a)
Man of the match: Michael Dawson
Neither side could apply the killer blow in the end as Nigel Adkins' men moved six points clear of the relegation zone, with Villa now nine points behind second-placed Cardiff, who have a game in hand.
As the first of Adomah's chances presented itself, there was little more Snodgrass could have done to deliver a better ball into the six-yard box from the right flank, but the Ghana international somehow missed the target from just a few yards out.
The Tigers looked good value in terms of possession in the first half as they patiently built in midfield, but it was the killer final ball that was lacking as Villa stopper Sam Johnstone went untested for the entire first 45 minutes.
John Terry headed Snodgrass' inviting corner over, but on the cusp of half-time, Adomah was set free on the left by Grealish; he opted to square for Lewis Grabban, but the pass had minimal pace and was subsequently cleared by Aina.
Seemingly re-invigorated by Adkins' half-time team-talk, the hosts sped out of the blocks and were denied the chance to score the opener when Grealish failed to lower his arms as Larsson swung a free-kick in from the right-hand side; the Swede's animated appeals were swiftly waved away.
Nigel Adkins made just the one change from the side that lost 3-0 to Birmingham last time out, with Angus MacDonald returning to the defence in place of Ondrej Mazuch.
Steve Bruce made four changes of his own, with Henri Lansbury, Mile Jedinak, Axel Tuanzebe and Alan Hutton replacing Birkir Bjarnason, Conor Hourihane, Ahmed Elmohamady and James Bree. Meanwhile, Jonathan Kodjia returned to the matchday squad for the first time since October.
For all of their first-half opportunities, Villa's attacking potency was absent after the break and though Steve Bruce opted to finish the game with three strikers on the pitch, it was Hull goalkeeper Allan McGregor who was perhaps the least active player on the pitch.
Hull should have done better when both substitute Jon Toral and Max Clark fired strikes over the bar, but in the end, it was their defence that held firm to secure a valuable point in their survival quest.
Man of the match - Michael Dawson
Michael Dawson takes the plaudits for a vintage display, keeping Aston Villa at bay and securing both a valuable clean sheet and point.
The figures above tell the story of his performance and though his future at the KCOM may be coming to its conclusion, the defender will be key for the Tigers in the final seven games of the season.
Nigel Adkins: "It is a good point; it's a good clean sheet against a good side. I thought in the second half we did really well and, for me, we could have gone and won the game. The referee and the officials have got a decision to make and it should've been a penalty.
"They had a few opportunities in the first half but our captain Michael Dawson was outstanding at the back and I think the players' attitudes have been spot on. We played some good football in the second half and on another day we might have had a few opportunities, hut all in all it was a good performance from our players."
Steve Bruce: "In the first half, I thought we had control of it and all that was really missing for myself was the goal. We've had a glorious couple of chances but didn't take them and the longer the game went on, the more frustrating it got for us.
"In the second half, we really haven't got out of the traps at all and whether you can put that down to Hull, we gave the ball away cheaply, became disjointed very, very quickly and in the end it was a frustrating night for us."
Steve Bruce's men welcome struggling Reading to Villa Park on Tuesday evening, while the Tigers face a tough test when they travel to Molineux to face champions-elect Wolves. Both games get underway at 7.45pm.