A nervy Championship play-off semi-final first leg between Wigan Athletic and QPR ended goalless at the DW Stadium on Friday.
With promotion back to the Premier League available for two sides who suffered the ignominy of relegation last year, there was palpable tension around the ground.
And that manifested itself in a drab encounter where both teams opted for a safety-first approach.
Wigan's Marc-Antoine Fortune had the only chance of note, blazing over midway through the second half, and the sides will meet again at Loftus Road on Monday with a place at Wembley still very much up for grabs.
It was the hosts who looked the more likely in the early stages, although chances were few and far between after QPR keeper Rob Green comfortably saved Gary Caldwell's header.
Their dominance in possession did almost bring reward just before the break, Green producing a fine save to keep out Jordi Gomez's powerful, low effort.
Whatever QPR boss Harry Redknapp said to his players at half-time seemed to have an impact as his team came out after the break with added verve.
Yet, as was the case with their opponents in the opening period, control of the game did not yield openings with Wigan defending resolutely.
In fact, it was Uwe Rosler's side who created the next chance.
After QPR failed to clear their lines on multiple occasions from a corner, Robert Kiernan sent a vicious pass across the box but Fortune turned the ball just over.
Rocked into action, Redknapp responded with a positive substitution, replacing defender Armand Traore with striker Kevin Doyle.
But that failed to have an immediate impact and the withdrawal of attacking midfielder Ravel Morrison soon after suggested a change in tact.
Indeed, there was a sense of both sides settling for the result, although Wigan did have a good penalty appeal turned down when Clint Hill appeared to have fouled Kiernan.
It was not given, though, leaving matters intriguingly poised ahead of the second leg.
|Coach: U. Rösler|
for M. Fortuné 76'
for C. McManaman 76'
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