Portsmouth and Derby shared the points after a drab goalless draw at Fratton Park on Friday night.
Throughout the entirety of the match, the two League One promotion hopefuls mustered just two shots on target between them, the most notable of which came after 12 minutes, when David McGoldrick rattled the crossbar for the visitors.
Craig Forsyth’s had the closest thing to a clear-cut chance on the south coast before the break, but his miss at the far post was glaring.
Danny Cowley’s Pompey have now drawn five successive matches at home for the first time since October 1974 and stay fifth in the table as a result, level on points with the sixth-placed Rams.
Should results go against them on Saturday, however, they could find themselves outside the play-off places.
How the spoils were shared on the south coast
The first third-tier meeting between two of the division’s heavyweights promised much, particularly with both given the chance to cement their spot in the top six ahead of the remainder of the weekend’s action.
Yet the first half was unapologetically lacklustre, bar two standout moments for the visitors: McGoldrick first rattled a fierce shot off the crossbar on the turn, before Forsyth could not sort his feet out in time to connect with a free-kick that dropped to him at the far post.
Owen Dale was a livewire on the right for Pompey, but enterprising runs and crosses from the flank largely came to nothing, with forwards Colby Bishop and Dane Scarlett isolated.
The second half largely failed to inspire either. Dane Scarlett cushioned Josh Koroma’s deflected shot into the six-yard box where no one in a blue shirt was able to meet it, while the underwhelming Colby Bishop could only turn a corner over the bar when a corner was fed to him at the near post.
Derby had penalty appeals waved away when Liam Thompson’s drive appeared to hit Jay Mingi’s hand on the hour mark, though referee Neil Hair seemingly gave him the benefit of the doubt as he slid to block the shot.
In the fourth minute of second-half stoppage time, Portsmouth finally managed their only shot on target when Mingi shot straight at Joe Wildsmith, which rounded off a distinctly under-par evening.
Player of the match – Owen Dale
What the managers said…
Portsmouth’s Danny Cowley:
Derby’s Paul Warne:
On Tuesday November 22 at 7.45pm, Portsmouth travel to Portman Road to take on Ipswich in the Papa John’s Trophy last-32, while Derby have nine days until they face League Two Newport in the FA Cup second round on Sunday November 27 at 3.15pm.