Birmingham City and Millwall were held to a dull goalless draw at the St Andrew's Trillion Trophy Stadium.
Story of the game
The first-half was fairly quiet affair. It seemed both sides were reluctant to concede with both teams conjuring up few chances.
A ball played in across from the right provided a great chance for Troy Parrott but defender Marc Roberts seemingly put the Irishman off and he could not connect with the cross.
The hosts had the best chance of the half when Jonathan Leko slipped in Maxime Colin down the right and the latter floated a ball into the far post, only for Lukas Jutkiewicz to head the ball over the bar.
Birmingham had a chance to open the scoring in the second-half when Ivan Sanchez crossed the ball in to Kristian Pedersen, his header sailing over the bar.
Millwall were dangerous from set-pieces. A Jed Wallace free-kick from the right created a scramble in the box before Birmingham were able to knock the ball out for a corner.
The two sides seem to cancel each other out with their resilient shapes, limiting the chances in the game.
Blues' Roberts forced a save from Bartosz Bialkowski after the defender connected with Jeremie Bela's free-kick. Moments later, the visitors had a great chance late in the game when a set-piece fell to Murray Wallace and his athletic effort was brilliantly tipped over by Neil Etheridge.
Man of the Match
The veteran defender was one of the few positives from this game. He, along with his fellow defenders Roberts and Harlee Dean were solid in dealing with Millwall's threat from open play. Friend also made some very good challenges, one particularly where he prevented what could have been a crucial counter-attack from the visitors had it not been for the 33-year-old's intervention.
Birmingham and Millwall will both walk away from this game disappointed. They both had the potential to win the game but seemed too interested in keeping a clean sheet to take gambles going forward.
Aitor Karanka should look at the team and shape he keeps putting out as nothing seems to be changing for the better. Only one substitution in a game where there was little creativity and few chances does ask questions. The Spaniard needs to start picking a settled lineup and shape so that his side can start building momentum and pick up more points.
As for Gary Rowett, his side looked the more dangerous in possession but their end product was absent. They seem to be spiralling currently, having not won in five matches. Understandably, Birmingham's defensive shape will have frustrated them but there will be games approaching where there will be openings for them to exploit.
They are not losing games which is a positive, they just need to start creating more from open play. It seems they are currently too reliant on their set-pieces.