Coventry City 0 Stoke City 0
If the best teams are built on a solid defence, then these two clubs must have every chance of being in the Championship's promotion shake-up come May.
The division's two most miserly defences were hardly in the mood for early Christmas presents at the Ricoh Arena, which made for the most likely of goalless draws.
But you are not about to hear too many complaints from Coventry City manager Micky Adams, because his side are perfectly placed to make a push for the play-offs in the second half of the season.
The result keeps their mini-run going, too, meaning they are unbeaten in four matches and in their best form of a hitherto inconsistent campaign.
Although this weekend stalemate is hardly likely to increase the attendance levels at the Ricoh, the signs are there that everything is coming together quite nicely for Adams and company.
Stoke City have a wealth of talent, such as Aston Villa duo Lee Hendrie and Patrik Berger, thanks to the loan system while strikers Mamady Sidibe and Ricardo Fuller provided a stern test for Coventry’s backline, but centre-backs Elliott Ward and Robert Page passed it with flying colours.
Page has, quite possibly, been Adams’s best signing since he took over and his recent promotion to captain has resulted in him improving his play.
His young partner is proving to be worth every penny of the #1 million that it took to prise him away from West Ham in the summer.
Together, they kept Sidibe and Fuller relatively quiet and, on the odd occasion when they managed to break free, Andy Marshall foiled them with a couple of smart saves.
Coventry’s biggest failing remains their inability to score enough goals and that could ultimately cost them come the end of the season.
However, the supply line has improved of late and that is thanks in no small part to on-loan winger Darren Currie.
The 32-year-old, who impressed in his first two matches at Queens Park Rangers and Preston North End, was once again City’s danger man. Although not blessed with electric pace, his close control, his ability to use both feet and his delivery from open play and dead-ball situations has improved Coventry as an attacking threat.
It came as no surprise that the Sky Blues’ best opportunity came from a Currie cross. He stood the ball up perfectly for Dele Adebola in first-half stoppage time but the striker, who had scored in the two previous matches, headed against the post.
If Coventry genuinely harbour hopes of a top-six finish, they must surely make Currie’s move a permanent one from Ipswich when the transfer window opens in January.
The winger said: "I am here on loan with a view to signing. I just have to keep doing my best and hopefully it will happen.
"If the club spoke to me today, I would want to sign now, but if it goes on until January, then so be it.
"Everyone wants to play first-team football. I also know a couple of the lads from earlier in my career, the staff have been great and it is a super stadium.
"We are disappointed that we have not won the game. Certainly in the first half, we created enough and if we had scored, we may well have gone on to win."
COVENTRY CITY (4-4-2): Marshall; Duffy, Ward, Page, Hall; Cameron (John 66), Doyle, Clarke, Currie; Adebola, McKenzie (Birchall 90). Substitutes: Gonzalez, Bischoff, Virgo.
STOKE CITY (4-4-2): Simonsen; Hoefkens, Duberry, Higginbotham, Griffin; Hendrie, Diao, Russell, Berger (Brammer 90); Sidibe, Fuller (Pericard 88). Substitutes: Hill, Sweeney, Buxton.
Referee: Nigel Miller (Co Durham)
Bookings: Coventry – Hall (foul); Stoke – Hoefkens (dissent)