Derby County retained the Brian Clough Trophy and took away a point from the goalless draw against Nottingham Forest in the East Midlands Derby at Pride Park Stadium.
For the second consecutive game, the Rams kept a clean sheet to move to fourth in the Sky Bet Championship.
Despite no goals for a second consecutive meeting between the rivals, it was fair from uneventful with both sides coming close in a physical battle.
David Nugent came close to nodding one in in the dying minutes while Harry Wilson was denied another stunning goal on the season. For Forest, Joe Lolley was denied by Scott Carson and the crossbar late in the second-half.
As anticipated, it was a feisty affair from the opening whistle with the two teams going to battle. Within the first five minutes it was the Forest keeper who was called into action when Jayden Bogle struck sweetly from outside of the box from a clearance off Scott Malone’s cross.
The Rams continued to hold the upper hand and looked fierce against when Jack Marriott intercepted a back pass to Costel Pantilimon and flung it over to Wilson to the right on the area who squared to Mason Mount, however the midfielder fired over.
Lewis Grabban had the first decent chance for the visitors as Derby’s backline had handled any pressure well so far. Having hit the Rams on the counter-attack, the striker rifled a low shot from range which Scott Carson comfortably grabbed.
Derby’s best chance of the half came just after 20 minutes. After Harry Wilson’s free-kick effort was deflected out, the resulting corner saw Mount deliver a great ball into the box. Richard Keogh got his head on first, but it was inches too wide. Tom Huddlestone was waiting at the back post, but despite his lightning reaction, fired over.
Carson made a huge save with the tip of his boot in the final minute of the half and again it was Grabban who was the major threat for Forest. After breaking through the back-line, he went one-on-one with the Rams ‘stopper and fired across goal to be denied by Carson’s outstretched leg.
Twenty minutes into the second-half Tom Lawrence sent a shot wide after the Rams hit back on the counter-attack. After shrugging off pressure by Tendayi Darikwa the Welsh winger struck from the edge of the area.
Straight down the other end and Carson made another superb save and tipped over an effort by Joe Lolley from the right that was heading for the top corner.
In the 75th minute, Wilson almost added another beauty to his goal reel but was denied by Pantilimon’s fingertips. Marriott whipped in a cross from the right and the winger struck perfectly on the volley from just inside the area.
Inside the final 10 minutes, Lolley struck again for the Reds, this time hitting the cross-bar.
In the final moments Nugent, who replaced Lawrence, was picked out at the back post and headed towards goal but Pantilimon was there to make the save.
With a share of the points, Derby moved to fourth in the Sky Bet Championship while Forest remain on the outskirts of the play-off places in seventh.
Derby County: Carson; Bogle, Keogh (C), Tomori, Malone; Mount (Holmes, 85) Huddlestone, Bryson; Wilson, Marriott, Lawrence (Nugent, 74)
Unused Subs: Roos, Wisdom, Jozefzoon, Pearce, Evans
Nottingham Forest: Pantilimon; Jank, Hefele, Robinson, Darikwa; Yacob, Colback; Lolley (Cash, 90), Carvalho, Osborn (C); Grabban (Murphy, 83)
Unused Subs: Steele, Guedioura, Watson, Dias, Ansarifard
The Rams will be back in action at Pride Park Stadium on Saturday to host Bristol City before traveling to face Sheffield United on Boxing Day.