ROTHERHAM UNITED extended their unbeaten run to nine games following a goalless draw with Nottingham Forest.
The Millers edged a point closer to Championship safety but could count themselves unlucky not to have earned their seventh win in nine games as Richard Wood crashed a second-half header against the Forest bar.
Following their handsome victory over Milton Keynes Dons last time out, the Millers named an unchanged line-up for the third successive match.
Lee Frecklington passed a fitness test on the morning of the clash as he shrugged off a calf injury to take his place in the home engine room.
The midfield dynamo was in the thick of the early action as he robbed Gary Gardner of possession to attack with menace towards the Forest box but an errant pass released the pressure on the visitors.
Skipper Kirk Broadfoot became the first to see yellow for a late lunge on Ben Osborn on halfway before Henri Lansbury’s slide rule pass almost put Ryan Mendes in the clear but Lee Camp was quickly off his line to snuff out the danger.
Just past the quarter hour, Grant Ward was felled by Robert Tesche in an inviting position on the edge of the box and the Millers almost made the visitors pay from the resulting free-kick when Greg Halford swung a tantalising centre which was met by the head of Wood, but the home centre-half could not keep his header down as it fizzed narrowly over the bar.
Moments later, Joe Mattock and Richie Smallwood exchanged passes paving the way for the Rotherham full-back to fire a rasping effort which was took a wicked deflection off Tesche and the ball looped agonisingly towards goal forcing Dorus de Vries to smartly tip the ball over.
In the next phase of play, Leon Best’s smart drag back saw Smallwood float a delicate centre which saw Grant Ward drag his volley across goal whereby Matt Derbyshire was agonisingly inches away from tapping home at the far post.
Just before the half-hour mark, Mendes injected pace into a Forest attack and following a smart one-two with Dexter Blackstock on the edge of the box, the visitors winger looked to toe-poke the ball into the far corner of the goal but to the Millers relief, his effort grazed the upright.
Minutes later, Tesche tried his luck from distance and his dipping effort had Camp nervously scurrying across goal as it fizzed past the post before the German midfielder stripped Derbyshire off the ball, minutes later, before finding Mendes at the far post, who worked a shooting position after jinking past Stephen Kelly but his looping effort flew narrowly wide of the target.
There was a moment of controversy near half-time when a ball from the right took a fortuitous deflection off a retreating Millers defender which took the ball into the path of Blackstock just yards out, but Camp stood up tall to block his point-blank effort before Kelly got a nick on the ball as Osborn looked to turn the ball goalwards, with the visiting winger tumbling under his challenge, but referee Simon Hooper waved away Forest protests for a spot kick.
Half-time- Rotherham United 0 Nottingham Forest 0
The visitors had the first sniff of goal following the break when a clever piece of skill from Mendes put the Millers on the backfoot and a one-two with Osborn saw Mendes bare down on goal but a combination of Smallwood and Camp with a point-blank save at his near post kept the score goalless.
Moments later, Forest countered with purpose and Mendes played a throughball which seemingly put Lansbury in the clear, as he beat the offside trap, but the ex-Arsenal midfielder lost his footing and the chance was lost.
Just past the hour mark, the Millers almost broke the deadlock in spectacular fashion when Mattock’s throw was chested down by Best into the path of Derbyshire, who unleashed a dipping half-volley from long range which had de Vries nervously looking over his shoulder as it flew narrowly wide of the target.
The home fans had their hearts in their mouths when Lansbury found Mendes, whose cross-cum-shot almost fell kindly for the Forest skipper, just yards out, but Kelly cleverly ushered him out of the picture, with the referee waving away Forest appeals for a penalty.
The Millers came within a whisker of the breakthrough when Smallwood caught Mendes napping just outside his own box, before delivering a delicious centre which saw Wood crash a point-blank header against the crossbar, with Broadfoot unable to turn the rebound home before Forest scrambled the ball clear.
Wood was proving a menace in the visitors box and he twice got on the end of back-to-back Mattock corners, with his second effort failing to trouble de Vries despite the ex-Wednesday centre-half having the goal at his mercy.
In the dying minutes, sub Danny Ward almost made a decisive introduction from the bench when he turned smartly before unleashing a fantastic effort from distance which whistled past the upright before the Millers had Camp to thank for preserving a point as Mendes bundled his way clear, evading the attentions of Broadfoot, before the Cape Verdian angled a goalbound shot which was heading for the bottom corner until Camp produced a save from the top drawer to keep parity.
In the last play of the game, the home fans breathed a huge sigh of relief as Mendes’ mazy run saw him race on goal but a timely last-ditch tackle prevented him getting his shot away, before the referee brought the game to a conclusion.
Full-time:- Rotherham United 0 Nottingham Forest 0
Rotherham United 0
Nottingham Forest 0
Teams: Rotherham- Camp, Kelly, Broadfoot, Wood, Mattock, Halford, G Ward, Smallwood, Frecklington (Newell 80), Derbyshire (D Ward 78), Best. Unused- Kenny, Richardson, Green, Thomas, Clarke-Harris.
Forest- De Vries, Lichaj, Mills, Jokic, Fox, Mendes, Gardner, Tesche, Osborn, Lansbury, Blackstock (O’Grady 90). Unused- Cohen, Macheda, Vaughan, Evtimov, Burke, Worrall.
Referee- S Hooper
Attendance- 11503 (2001)