Middlesbrough began life outside the top flight with a fairly drab goalless draw against Sheffield United in the first game of the Championship season.
United had the better of a lively opening and Keith Treacy saw a close-range shot well saved by Danny Coyne.
New Boro signing Mark Yeates went close when a stinging drive was palmed to safety as the hosts began to dominate.
Boro' Adam Johnson had a strong penalty shout rejected but the quality then plummeted and the game fizzled out.
Early-season rustiness had certainly kicked in by the end and, with neither side showing too much ambition to push for a winner, the full-time whistle was greeted with boos from the home supporters.
Boro, relegated in May after 11 seasons in the Premier League, enjoyed plenty of possession but lacked a cutting edge in front of goal, mustering only two shots on target all evening.
Manager Gareth Southgate will surely look to bolster his front-line before the transfer window closes.
United have recruited nine new players since they were beaten by Burnley in last season's play-off final, but the Blades already look to have gelled reasonably well and Kevin Blackwell's men deserved to come away with a point.
Well-organised and physically imposing, they might have opened the scoring inside two minutes when Treacy, signed on loan from Blackburn, was denied by the reactions of new Boro goalkeeper Coyne, the former Tranmere stopper.
Boro were struggling to cope with United's direct approach and, despite including the towering centre-half duo of David Wheater and Robert Huth, Southgate's side appeared vulnerable from set pieces.
They resorted to playing on the counter-attack but with Mido having left the club and Tuncay Sanli suffering from tonsillitis, Jeremie Aliadiere was deployed as the target man and he struggled against defenders Chris Morgan and Matt Kilgallon.
Boro eventually settled into a tidy rhythm and, aided by the calming presence of Didier Digard in central midfield, began to dictate the tempo.
Midfielder Yeates, a summer arrival from Colchester, was cutting in dangerously from the right and saw a rasping left-footed strike tipped around the post by Mark Bunn, and Johnson skipped past Andy Taylor on the right but shot straight at the United goalkeeper.
In between those chances, Coyne dived to his left to repel Stephen Quinn's goalbound strike and a Ryan France cross - set to be met by an unmarked Brian Howard inside the six yard box - was headed clear by Huth.
But Boro were in control and continued to threaten a breakthrough after half-time.
Referee Lee Mason turned down a penalty appeal when Johnson surged in off the left wing and was felled by Kyle Walker before Rhys Williams, scorer of four goals in four pre-season games, drilled wide.
Blackwell looked to regain the ascendancy by introducing two attackers, David Cotterill and £3m signing Ched Evans, while Southgate responded with new acquisition Leroy Lita.
But the substitutions served only to disrupt the flow and none of the new faces took their opportunity to shine.
In one of Boro's rare late forays forward, Tony McMahon shot horribly high and wide, a strike that aptly summed up the closing stages.
Middlesbrough manager Gareth Southgate:
"We've seen what the Championship is all about. There are no better exponents of football in this league than Sheffield United.
"They are big, strong, well organised and very direct but I was pleased at how we stood up to the physical challenge.
"That was a tough start for us but we didn't shirk the challenge. We've got a clean sheet and a point on the board. We know we need goals but we are working on that."
Sheffield United manager Kevin Blackwell:
"Boro are a good team and we know they have quality. So I was delighted that, with five new players in, we got a performance like that.
"We caused them quite a few problems up front and we were strong defensively.
Maybe we could have come away with three points but I've got to be pleased with one."
90:00+2:07 The referee signals the end of the game.
90:00+1:47 Foul by Darius Henderson on Jonathan Grounds, free kick awarded. Danny Coyne takes the free kick.
90:00+1:16 Jeremie Aliadiere concedes a free kick for a foul on Nick Montgomery. Mark Bunn restarts play with the free kick.
90:00+0:36 Stephen Quinn is penalised for a handball. Free kick taken by Danny Coyne.
88:41 David Wheater challenges Chris Morgan unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Mark Bunn.
88:16 David Cotterill gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Jonathan Grounds. Jonathan Grounds takes the direct free
84:45 Free kick awarded for a foul by Darius Henderson on David Wheater. Free kick taken by David Wheater.
83:39 Free kick awarded for a foul by Darius Henderson on David Wheater. Danny Coyne restarts play with the free kick.
83:21 Stephen Quinn fouled by Mark Yeates, the ref awards a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Ryan France.
82:44 Long range shot from Tony McMahon misses to the left of the target.
78:51 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Leroy Lita by Ryan France. Gary O'Neil restarts play with the free kick.
78:02 Foul by Gary O'Neil on Nick Montgomery, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Ryan France.
73:49 Stephen Quinn has an effort at goal from just outside the area which goes wide of the left-hand post.
71:39 Nick Montgomery challenges Gary O'Neil unfairly and gives away a free kick. Jonathan Grounds takes the free kick.
70:25 Nick Montgomery concedes a free kick for a foul on Leroy Lita. Jonathan Grounds takes the direct free kick.
69:22 Inswinging corner taken from the left by-line by David Cotterill, save by Danny Coyne.
67:20 Substitution Ched Evans comes on in place of Brian Howard.
66:38 Darius Henderson concedes a free kick for a foul on Jonathan Grounds. Free kick taken by Mark Yeates.
65:50 Shot by Stephen Quinn. Gary O'Neil gets a block in.
65:24 Gary O'Neil is penalised for a handball. Direct free kick taken by Matthew Kilgallon.
63:52 Substitution Leroy Lita on for Marvin Emnes.
63:52 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Nick Montgomery by Mark Yeates. Mark Bunn takes the direct free kick.
62:40 Substitution David Cotterill joins the action as a substitute, replacing Keith Treacy.
59:04 Free kick awarded for a foul by Andy Taylor on Mark Yeates. Free kick taken by Danny Coyne.
58:02 Free kick awarded for a foul by Jeremie Aliadiere on Andy Taylor. Mark Bunn takes the direct free kick.
57:01 Outswinging corner taken right-footed by Mark Yeates, clearance by Darius Henderson.
55:21 Rhys Williams has a shot on goal from outside the box which misses left.
53:05 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on David Wheater by Brian Howard. Danny Coyne takes the free kick.
52:45 Brian Howard takes the chance to get an effort at goal. Save made by Danny Coyne.
52:17 Jeremie Aliadiere concedes a free kick for a foul on Matthew Kilgallon. Mark Bunn takes the direct free kick.
51:55 Ryan France challenges Jonathan Grounds unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Danny Coyne.
50:58 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Andy Taylor by Mark Yeates. Keith Treacy takes the direct free kick.
50:11 Mark Yeates takes a shot from just inside the penalty box which clears the crossbar.
49:15 Booking Rhys Williams is shown a yellow card.
46:24 Brian Howard is ruled offside. Indirect free kick taken by Danny Coyne.
45:10 Stephen Quinn fouled by Gary O'Neil, the ref awards a free kick. Kyle Walker takes the free kick.
45:01 The referee starts the second half.
45:00+1:17 The ref blows to end the first period.
45:00+0:15 Unfair challenge on Gary O'Neil by Nick Montgomery results in a free kick. Tony McMahon restarts play with the free kick.
43:53 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on David Wheater by Darius Henderson. David Wheater takes the direct free kick.
42:39 Darius Henderson fouled by Mark Yeates, the ref awards a free kick. Mark Bunn takes the free kick.
40:16 Mark Yeates produces a cross, Andy Taylor makes a clearance.
40:16 Substitution Gary O'Neil joins the action as a substitute, replacing Didier Digard.
40:16 Keith Treacy is penalised for a handball.
39:54 Shot by Mark Yeates. Blocked by Matthew Kilgallon.
39:36 The ball is swung over by Adam Johnson, save made by Mark Bunn.
38:03 Free kick awarded for a foul by Keith Treacy on Mark Yeates. Adam Johnson crosses the ball from the free kick left-footed
from right wing, save by Mark Bunn.
36:01 Ryan France takes a shot. Robert Huth makes a clearance. Corner taken left-footed by Andy Taylor, David Wheater makes a clearance.
Chris Morgan takes a shot and cleared the goal.
35:07 Corner taken by Ryan France from the left by-line, clearance made by David Wheater.
34:49 Jeremie Aliadiere challenges Matthew Kilgallon unfairly and gives away a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Chris Morgan.
32:21 Stephen Quinn takes a shot from 18 yards. Danny Coyne makes a save.
28:25 Unfair challenge on Marvin Emnes by Stephen Quinn results in a free kick. Direct free kick taken by Tony McMahon.
27:12 Didier Digard has a drilled shot. Chris Morgan gets a block in.
25:22 The ball is crossed by Mark Yeates, Chris Morgan makes a clearance. Outswinging corner taken by Jonathan Grounds, Header from
deep inside the area by David Wheater goes harmlessly over the crossbar.
24:45 Outswinging corner taken by Mark Yeates from the right by-line played to the near post, clearance made by Kyle Walker.
24:33 David Wheater fouled by Ryan France, the ref awards a free kick. Free kick taken by David Wheater.
22:26 Drilled right-footed shot by Mark Yeates. Mark Bunn makes a save. Inswinging corner taken from the right by-line by Adam Johnson,
Chris Morgan manages to make a clearance.
18:39 Corner taken right-footed by Ryan France from the left by-line, clearance by Didier Digard.
17:27 Foul by Darius Henderson on David Wheater, free kick awarded. Free kick taken by Danny Coyne.
16:58 Foul by Tony McMahon on Keith Treacy, free kick awarded. Mark Bunn takes the free kick.
16:20 Keith Treacy gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Rhys Williams. Free kick taken by Rhys Williams.
12:10 Stephen Quinn produces a left-footed shot from the edge of the box and misses to the left of the goal.
11:35 Foul by David Wheater on Brian Howard, free kick awarded. Mark Bunn takes the direct free kick.
9:23 Nick Montgomery gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Rhys Williams. Danny Coyne takes the direct free kick.
8:33 Marvin Emnes gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Stephen Quinn. Free kick taken by Matthew Kilgallon.
6:00 Darius Henderson concedes a free kick for a foul on David Wheater. Direct free kick taken by Danny Coyne.
5:43 Marvin Emnes produces a cross, save by Mark Bunn.
3:50 Short corner taken by Adam Johnson from the right by-line.
1:38 Ryan France takes the inswinging corner, Chris Morgan takes a shot. Blocked by Jeremie Aliadiere.
1:14 Effort on goal by Keith Treacy from 12 yards. Save by Danny Coyne.
0:00 The referee starts the match.
Live text and data provided by The Press Association.
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