Nottingham Forest put an end to a five-match losing run with a point at St Andrew's this afternoon after holding Birmingham City to a goalless draw.
A solid defensive display by The Reds ensured that they kept just their second clean sheet of the season and picked up their first point of 2017.
Philippe Montanier made two changes from the defeat in the Emirates FA Cup third-round tie away at Wigan Athletic, with Matt Mills coming in to captain the side in replace of Nicolao Dumitru while Lica replaced Nicklas Bendtner who started on the bench.
The home side dominated possession early on but it was the visitors who created the best chance in the opening 10 minutes. Eric Lichaj fired the ball across the face of the goal from the left-hand side but Brit Assombalonga was unable to get anything on it.
Five minutes later and Forest had an even better opportunity to go in front through Mills. Matty Cash’s corner from the right found the unmarked centre-half in the host's penalty area but he was unable to keep his header down as the ball cleared the crossbar.
Birmingham created their first real opportunity on 21 minutes when Che Adams cut inside from the left and drove the ball wide of Stephen Henderson’s goal and that proved to be the only highlight of the first-half for City as Forest continued to create good goalscoring opportunities.
Cash thought he had put Forest ahead on the half-hour mark only for his effort to be disallowed for offside. Lichaj sent a long-range pass over the top which was neatly controlled by Cash who delicately lifted the ball over Tomasz Kuszczak in the Birmingham goal, only to see the assistant referee flag for offside.
Minutes later Cash went close again after good work by Ben Osborn on the left. Assombalonga won a loose ball and released Osborn who raced clear and sent a perfectly-weighted cross into the path of an on-rushing Cash whose effort went high and wide as he stretched to reach it.
Forest continued to look dangerous on the break and from set pieces as the first-half wore on, and it was from a corner just before half-time when the visitors again went close as Mancienne this time headed just wide from Osborn’s delivery.
The Blues started the second half brightly after the introduction of new loan signing Craig Gardner and started to create chances. Lukas Jutkiewicz twice went close for the hosts, firstly being denied by Henderson after he managed to get on the end of a cross from the right with a header, then again on 65 minutes as his right-footed effort from inside the Forest penalty box was deflected wide by Mills with a last-ditch challenge.
Gianfranco Zola’s side continued to press forward and had the momentum going into the last 10 minutes. Jutkiewicz was again causing problems for the visitors and The Blues' striker did manage to find the net only for the referee’s assistant to flag for offside.
Forest were pegged deep into their own half after that as the home side went in search of the winner, however they unable to find a way through a resilient Forest defence as the match ended goalless.
Forest: Henderson, Mancienne, Mills (c), Hobbs, Lichaj, Lam, Cash, Pereira (Vaughan 83'), Osborn, Lica (Pinillos 72'), Assombalonga
Subs not used: Stojkovic, Bendtner, Perquis, Brereton, Edser
Booking: Mancienne 28'
: Kuszczak, Grounds, Shotton, Kieftenbeld (BirminghamGardner 54'), Gleeson, Fabbrini (Cotterill 64'), Adams, Jutkiewicz, Spector, Davis, Morrison (c)
Subs not used: Legzdins, Robinson, Tesche, Solomon-Otabor, Dacres-Cogley
Booking: Morrison 49'
Referee: Peter Bankes
Attendance: 18,041 (1,474 away)