Derby County fought hard to ensure they extended their unbeaten run to three games with a 0-0 draw at Sheffield Wednesday.

Derby County fought hard to ensure they extended their unbeaten run to three games with a 0-0 draw at Sheffield Wednesday.

In a contest of very few chances, Bradley Johnson, returning from a one-match suspension, came closest to scoring with a pile driver that cracked the woodwork.

Resolute at the back, the Rams kept the Owls at arms length and restricted them to very little sightings of Lee Grant’s goal as Paul Clement’s side kept their third successive clean sheet.

In a quiet opening to the contest, it took 15 minutes for either side to carve out a clear opening.

Sheffield Wednesday had the first, a rasping shot from Ross Wallace from range that forced Lee Grant into a fine save, tipping the ball away for a corner.

Barry Bannan, the former Derby loanee, tried his own luck from range 10 minutes later, but Grant was not called into action on this occasion as he watched the effort sail over the bar and into the stand housing the away travelling support.

Fernando Forestieri repeated the trick, rifling another effort over as the hosts were restricted to opportunities from range by a stubborn Derby backline.

The meeting in Sheffield also harboured a feisty streak to it, three late challenges – two from Derby and one from the Owls – resulting in three bookings by Graham Scott, the referee.

Chris Martin’s header wide from Cyrus Christie’s cross was the visitors’ only opportunity in a hotly contested meeting in Sheffield as the first half neared its conclusion.

The Rams needed to show a response in the second 45 minutes and add more bite and imagination to their play.

Bradley Johnson, returning from a one-match suspension, headed a Jacob Butterfield free kick over the bar, whilst Martin saw a deflected free kick whistle narrowly wide.

As the half grew on, Carlos Carvalhal’s side rediscovered their momentum and dominated large periods of the contest.

The Owls rarely threatened Grant’s goal, though, and playing on the break, Clement’s side looked the most likely to break the deadlock.

Johnson forced Keiren Westwood into his save with an effort from the edge of the box, whilst Wallace struck a similar effort to the one he produced in the first half, this one however, flew over.

The contest was going to be decided by a remarkable goal or by a mistake and it was nearly a latter that won it for the Rams.

A pass back was picked up by Westwood, who picked the ball up to gift Derby an indirect free kick.

Johnny Russell, the substitute, placed the ball into the path of Johnson, who drove a fierce drive on to the crossbar, before Westwood recovered to claim a follow up header from Martin.

Glenn Loovens, the Owls’ Captain, headed a free kick well wide with five minutes remaining, whilst Darren Bent did have the ball in the back of the net, but his effort was chalked off for offside as the Rams held out to claim a hard-earned point in Yorkshire.

Sheffield Wednesday: Westwood, Palmer, Hutchinson, Loovens (C), Joao (Hooper, 76), Lee Lopez, Wallace, Pudil, Bannan, Forestieri

Substitutes not used: Wildsmith, Semedo, Nuhiu, McGugan, Wiggins, Sougou

Derby County: Grant, Christie, Keogh, Shackell, Warnock (Baird, 63); Thorne, Butterfield, Johnson; Ince (Russell, 63), Weimann (Bent, 76), Martin (C)

Substitutes not used: Mitchell, Hendrick, Pearce, Shotton

Attendance: 19,252

Tweets by @ dcfcofficial