Forest frustrate Blades
Nottm Forest keeper Lee Camp was the star of the show as Sheffield United were held to a goalless draw.
Last Updated: 08/12/09 10:55pm
Nottingham Forest goalkeeper Lee Camp was the star of the show as Sheffield United were held to a goalless draw at Bramall Lane.
Both sides went into the clash in excellent form but the opening 45 minutes was devoid of excitement and there rarely looked like there would be a breakthrough.
The Blades improved considerably after the interval but they were denied victory by some resolute Forest defending and the brilliance of Camp in goal.
Manager Billy Davies was not present to witness Camp's impressive performance, however, after being taken ill prior to the match, leaving assistant David Kelly in charge.
United's on-loan forward Richard Cresswell saw a snapshot fly wide inside the first minute.
At the other end, Dexter Blackstock headed wide from Chris Cohen's floated free-kick, while Paul McKenna curled a tame shot straight at Bunn from 25 yards.
With clear-cut chances at a premium, Ched Evans tried his luck with an audacious 40-yard lob in the 22nd minute, but Camp gathered with ease.
Remarkably, Evans' ambitious effort proved to be the final attempt on target before the interval.
The dismal standard of play clearly frustrated the vocal home support and their mood was hardly improved shortly before the break when referee Andy Haines waved away appeals for a penalty after Evans appeared to have his shirt pulled in the area.
Goalmouth action remained scarce in the opening stages of the second period as both sides continued to struggle in the final third.
Blades goalkeeper Mark Bunn was finally called into action on the hour mark to tip away a left-footed shot from Robert Earnshaw, although the officials bizarrely awarded a goal-kick instead of a corner.
Seconds later, United's Jamie Ward saw a close-range header parried away by Camp before Nick Montgomery's powerful follow-up thundered into the chest of Cresswell, who was duly flagged offside.
Camp made another reaction stop to deny Stephen Quinn in the 68th minute after the midfielder had stretched to get a toe-end on James Harper's lofted through ball.
And Forest's goalkeeper had to be alert to keep out a drilled effort from Blades substitute Henri Camara five minutes later as the game finally sparked into life.
Earnshaw saw a goalbound effort blocked by Chris Morgan before a swift United counter-attack ended with Camp making a fine double save with his feet to deny Camara and Quinn.
Camp once again came to Forest's rescue in the 78th minute, keeping out a weak effort from Matt Kilgallon after the centre-half had been played clear through on goal.