Derby County were denied their 500th win in second level league football, as the points were shared at Pride Park in a 0-0 stalemate with Brighton & Hove Albion.
John Brayford and Conor Sammon came closest to breaking the deadlock for the Rams, whilst Adam Legzdins
produced a wonderful save from Dean Hammond in the second-half, as both teams had to settle for a single point.
The Rams lined up with Will Hughes in a more central role whilst Theo Robinson was deployed out on the left-hand-side, and the former Millwall striker came close to opening the scoring inside the first three minutes.
Paul Coutts’ corner from the right was met by the towering head of Jake Buxton, who knocked it down towards Robinson. The 23-year-old swivelled well but could not connect with the loose ball, as Albion cleared away to safety.
The visitors’ first chance of the half fell to Spanish midfielder David Lopez, who sent a 20-yard free-kick straight into the arms of goalkeeper Adam Legzdins
Minutes later Coutts dragged an effort wide from the edge of the penalty area, whilst at the other end, Andrea Orlandi nodded inches over the crossbar following good work from former Valencia right-back Bruno.
Both sides were enjoying large spells of possession but neither team could find a decisive breakthrough, although the Rams thought they should have had a penalty when Conor Sammon went down under the challenge of Gordon Greer, before Coutts flashed a free-kick over the crossbar.
Albion thought they should have been awarded a spot-kick of their own moments later, after Richard Keogh slid in to block Lopez’s low cross; Seagulls’ Urguayan boss Poyet was adamant the ball hit the former Coventry City man’s arm; however referee Andy Woolmer waved away the home side’s protests.
The best chance of the half fell to substitute Stephen Dobbie, who initially played a clever one-two with Ashley Barnes, but the former Swansea City striker stabbed his close-range effort wide of goal.
Substitute Michael Jacobs was introduced in the second-half in place of Hughes, and the former Northampton Town winger almost had an instant impact as his low drive into the box was hacked clear by Adam El-Abd.
The Seagulls responded immediately as Liam Bridcutt’s 25-yard curling effort took a big deflection before dropping onto the top of the crossbar.
Poyet’s men came even closer to breaking the deadlock in the 62nd minute, after Bruno’s low ball was neatly laid off by Dobbie into the path of Lopez, but the Spanish midfielder thrashed his effort wide of Legzdins’ far post.
After two clear-cut chances the Seagulls thought it was third time lucky when Dean Hammond’s shot was followed up by captain Gordon Greer’s close-range header, but Legzdins was on hand to thwart the Scottish central defender.
However, the Rams sparked into life as John Brayford cut inside sent a left-footed drive goal-wards that forced former Manchester United goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak into an excellent reflex save.
In the final 10 minutes Clough’s side pushed forward in search of a winning goal, and almost found one when Jacobs’ clever flick found Sammon, but the former Kilmarnock forward was thwarted by a last ditch tackle by Greer, as both sides had to make do with a point apiece.
Derby County: Legzdins (GK), Brayford, Keogh, Buxton, O’Connor, Hughes (Jacobs 46), Bryson, Hendrick, Coutts, Robinson (Davies 75), Sammon.
Subs Not Used: Deeney (GK), Tyson, Gjokaj, Bennett, Freeman.
Brighton & Hove Albion: Kuszczak (GK), Bruno, Greer, El-Abd, Bridge, Buckley (Dobbie 34), Dicker, Bridcutt, Lopez, Orlandi (Hammond 61), Barnes.
Subs Not Used: Ankergren (GK), Dunk, Calderon, Lua Lua, Agdestein.
Attendance: 22,059 (1,490 Visiting Supporters).