Sheffield United and Bournemouth had to settle for a share of the points as a hugely competitive encounter between the Championship promotion candidates ended goalless.
The Blades were the better side in the first half and came close to scoring when Cherries captain Lloyd Kelly’s clearance hit his own bar before keeper Mark Travers brilliantly foiled Morgan Gibbs-White.
Travers again needed to be at his best, rushing out to deny Gibbs-White as he raced clean through with 20 minutes to go.
Wolves loanee Gibbs-White was also denied a penalty late on after appearing to be caught by Nathaniel Phillips before Filip Uremovic missed a late sitter to win it.
Given their comfortable cushion in the second automatic promotion place, Bournemouth will be much the happier with the draw, while the Blades – in fifth before the 15:00 BST kick-offs – will look back on two potentially pivotal points that slipped away.
With both sides determined to consolidate their respective chances of playing Premier League football next season, the crowd at Bramall Lane was treated to a thunderous start as tackles flew during a super-competitive opening quarter of an hour.
The Blades’ slick passing gradually gave them a foothold with Oli McBurnie just failing to get his head to the ball as he threw himself at a fabulous volleyed cross from Enda Stevens.
After Oli Norwood sent a spectacular volley narrowly over from a deep John Fleck corner, another Fleck set-piece almost broke the deadlock when Bournemouth captain Kelly instinctively jabbed the ball on to and over his own bar as another corner fizzed across the box.
Kelly was again the last line of defense when getting a crucial deflection to send McBurnie’s drive from the edge of the area safely over.
After failing to get any of their 18 shots on target in their defeat at West Bromwich Albion on Wednesday, the Cherries had to wait until the 28th minute to test Wes Foderingham, who easily gathered Ryan Christie’s weak lob.
With Christie growing in influence, the Blades were happy to soak up the pressure and looked to hit on the counter-attack – and the plan nearly worked beautifully just before half-time.
Breaking up an attack on the edge of their own box, the ball found its way to Gibbs-White, who played a delightful one-two with McBurnie only for Travers to save superbly as Gibbs-White aimed for the top corner from 12 yards.
Wolves loanee Gibbs-White was again at the hub of another great chance early in the second half when he sat over a pinpoint cross from a short corner only for the unmarked Ben Davies to wastefully head over from close range.
Although Bournemouth improved as the game wore on, top-scorer Dominic Solanke remained an isolated figure and it was the home side that created the better openings with the best of the match falling to Gibbs-White on 70 minutes.
Racing on to a long ball that brushed off the back of Kelly’s attempted headed clearance, Gibbs-White’s goal-bound shot was blocked by Travers, who rushed to the edge of his area and spread himself expertly.
Sheffield United continued to press to find a winner and felt they should have had a penalty five minutes from time when the outstanding Gibbs-White appeared to be caught by Phillips’ attempted clearance as he tried to get on the end of McBurnie’s flick but referee Dean Whitestone turned down their feverish appeals.
There was still time for the Blades to nick it as the ball dropped enthusiastically for Uremovic six yards out, only for the Croat to hook horribly wide with the goal gaping.
Although his side stretched their unbeaten run at home to 12 games, Blades boss Paul Heckingbottom knows a great chance to put more daylight between them and the sides chasing the play-off places was missed.
Bournemouth’s relief at avoiding defeat was tempered slightly with news that defender Jordan Zemura looks like missing the rest of the season after suffering a hamstring injury in the last minute.
- 12eganBooked at 71mins
- 8bergeSubstituted forHourihaneat 81′minutes
- 4FleckBooked at 35minsSubstituted forosborneat 72′minutes
- 3stevensBooked at 24mins
- 27Gibbs White
- fifteenTo Smith
- 5KellyBooked at 90mins
- 33ZemuraSubstituted forBradyat 89′minutes
- 4L Cook
- 29billingBooked at 74mins
- 37DembeleSubstituted foranthonyat 74′minutes
- Dean Whitestone
Match ends, Sheffield United 0, Bournemouth 0.
Second Half ends, Sheffield United 0, Bournemouth 0.
Attempt missed. Filip Uremovic (Sheffield United) right footed shot from the center of the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Ben Davies with a headed pass following a set piece situation.
Lloyd Kelly (Bournemouth) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Lloyd Kelly (Bournemouth).
Morgan Gibbs-White (Sheffield United) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Corner, Sheffield United. Awarded by Nathaniel Phillips.
Substitution, Bournemouth. Robbie Brady replaces Jordan Zemura because of an injury.
Foul by Philip Billing (Bournemouth).
Filip Uremovic (Sheffield United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Sheffield United. Conor Hourihane replaces Sander Berge.
Hand ball by Jaidon Anthony (Bournemouth).
Attempt missed. Lloyd Kelly (Bournemouth) left footed shot from the center of the box is just a bit too high. Assisted by Nathaniel Phillips with a headed pass following a corner.
Corner, Bournemouth. Grant by George Baldock.
Philip Billing (Bournemouth) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Philip Billing (Bournemouth).
Oliver Norwood (Sheffield United) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Substitution, Bournemouth. Jaidon Anthony replaces Siriki Dembele.
Offside, Bournemouth. Mark Travers tries a through ball, but Dominic Solanke is caught offside.
Substitution, Sheffield United. Ben Osborn replaces John Fleck.