Charlton Athletic 0 West Bromwich Albion 0
West Bromwich Albion's 4-1 victory at Charlton Athletic last season was an exhilarating affair that sparked the Great Escape.
While this fixture won't live long in the memory banks, a turgid 0-0 could be just as valuable to Bryan Robson's men as they inch closer to Premiership safety.
Of course, there was no Robert Earnshaw to come off the bench in south London and provide fireworks on this occasion after his £3.5 million move to Norwich City.
It was quite ironic that on the day Albion sold the only player in their history to score a Premiership hat-trick, they failed to add to their tally of four goals on the road.
But after the debacle against Sunderland ten days ago, when they became only the second team to concede three points against the worst side in Premiership history, this was a quantum leap forward.
And they could have procured all three points had Geoff Horsfield's header not hit a post five minutes before the interval.
However, with Kevin Campbell a major doubt after sustaining a groin strain, Albion will be hoping one of their African stars returns to Europe from the African Cup of Nations in time for their crucial weekend clash.
Nevertheless, this was still an obdurate, dogged performance from Robson's troops. After Earnshaw's exit, the manager revealed that, pending a successful medical, Nigel Quashie would be signed from Southampton for a fee of £1.5 million.
And with the addition of Williams Martinez, Robson reasoned he didn't need to add any strikers to his squad, despite the likely loan departure of Horsfield this month.
"I started the season with six and Diomansy Kamara and Kanu are due back soon," he said. "It will be nice to have them back as we are missing Kamara's pace and I thought it was a good point under the circumstances."
Robson made three changes to the side who were embarrassingly beaten at home by Sunderland ten days previously. Neil Clement returned in central defence for the injured Steve Watson.
Horsfield was preferred to Nathan Ellington in attack while Andrew Johnson was recalled in midfield for the suspended Ronnie Wallwork.
Johnson's recall was a huge surprise, as his last start in an Albion shirt was during the reverse fixture at The Hawthorns in September and he has been linked with a move to Bristol Rovers.
There was an air of tension permeating the Valley among travelling supporters with the surprising changes, allied to the sale of Earnshaw, causing a degree of uncertainty.
And Robson's team only added to the tension with a jittery start that saw Charlton in the ascendancy.
The visitors gradually gained a foothold in the game and Jonathan Greening tested home goalkeeper Thomas Myhre with a sweetly-struck 30-yard volley that forced him into a low, diving save after 25 minutes.
Yet a moment of hesitancy in Albion's back line almost cost them dearly almost immediately. Marcus Bent flicked on Myhre's huge punt upfield to his namesake Darren and he bulldozed his way through but his shot rolled inches wide of his far post.
Nevertheless, Albion didn't heed the warning and slapstick defending from Curtis Davies proffered another chance to Charlton's wasteful attack.
Darren Bent was left bearing down on goal from the left-hand angle of the penalty area but goalkeeper Tomasz Kuszczak was equal to the task and deflected Bent's low shot to safety.
Despite this aberration, Albion's confidence was visibly mushrooming and they should have garnered a tangible reward five minutes before half-time
Greening's inswinging cross evaded Kevin Campbell, who appeared to have his shirt tugged by Herman Hreidarsson, and was met by Horsfield at the far post. His firm header was squeezed against the woodwork by Myhre before squirming agonisingly to safety.
The pendulum was swinging towards Albion and Horsfield bamboozled Charlton before dragging a shot wide from ten yards. However, Charlton took charge after the break and Albion were indebted to Kuszczak once again when he parried to safety a searing drive from Bryan Hughes.