Nottingham Forest's slim hopes of an automatic promotion place grew fainter as the Championship's third team were held by fourth-placed Cardiff City.
But the Bluebirds needed a full-stretch save late on from goalkeeper David Marshall to deny Dexter Blackstock.
The Scotland stopper also denied Rob Earnshaw in a first half one-on-one.
Forest counterpart Lee Camp was less busy but was on his toes to keep out a Ross McCormack free-kick and a long-range pile-driver from Stephen McPhail.
The result denied Forest a club-record 13 home wins in a row and was Cardiff's first goalless draw of the season.
Forest can mathematically still catch West Bromwich Albion, second behind now promoted Newcastle, but the 11-point gap is realistically now insurmountable in the games remaining.
So Cardiff and Forest will likely be content with Monday's point apiece that keeps them firmly on course to make the play-offs, where they could yet repeat this encounter with a place in the Premier League at stake.
With both sides tasked with protecting their respective place in the play-off zone a cagey start might have been expected.
But the players surged forward from the first whistle to ensure this meeting between the Championship's third and fourth best teams lived up to the pre-match billing.
Both goalkeepers had to be alert early on and Cardiff's Marshall was fortunate that Blackstock could only direct a weak header straight into his midriff.
Within a minute it was the Forest goalmouth being threatened, first Joe Ledley having a shot blocked and then Darcy Blake heading the resulting corner into the ground and over the crossbar.
Blake, more usually in midfield, had been pressed in as an emergency defender because of Cardiff's injury problems, partnering Anthony Gerrard at centre-back.
His inexperience nearly gifted Forest the opening goal as Blake misread a bounce, allowing Earnshaw to race through on goal.
The Wales international seemed favourite to score against his former club but Marshall stuck out his left leg to divert the goal-bound shot.
Only 12 minutes had elapsed when McCormack added to a breathless opening period, only a saving touch from Chris Gunter preventing the Cardiff striker diverting a near-post corner into the Forest net.
McCormack went close again as the Scotland frontman arced in a free-kick from wide on the left, sending Forest keeper Camp scrambling to keep the ball out at his near post.
Forest had enjoyed the better chances, though, and wasted another gilt-edged opportunity as the half-hour mark neared, Chris Cohen at the back post somehow failing to connect from four yards out after a break down the right wing.
As the first half neared its conclusion Michael Chopra - Cardiff's two-goal Welsh derby hero on Saturday - read a back-header and just got a foot to the ball ahead of Camp.
The Bluebirds striker was subsequently ruled off-side, although the flag went up too late to spare Forest nerves as the ball trickled just wide of the post.
Soon after half-time Blackstock became the first player to be booked as the Forest target-man caught Blake late with his studs showing.
When Blackstock jumped for a high ball soon after and caught Gerrard across the face with an arm the travelling Bluebirds fans bayed for a second yellow to be shown, but referee Chris Foy sensibly ruled the collision accidental.
Guy Moussi conjured the first goal threat of the half as the Forest man darted between two defenders and smacked in a low left-wing cross, cut out well by a full-stretch Gerrard.
The left flank continued to provide opportunities for the home side and Blackstock headed straight at Marshall after Cohen curled in a dangerous cross.
Forest keeper Lee Camp confronts Ross McCormack and Michael Chopra
Cardiff were living dangerously, with space opening up for Forest to foray down either wing, although Gerrard was proving a rock at the heart of the visitors' defence.
Forest may have been on top but Cardiff were still dangerous on the break and McPhail fired off a speculative long-range shot that Camp saw late and had to beat away.
A touch of petulance had crept into the game and McCormack got his name in the book for cutting down Gunter, as the Forest and Wales full-back started to break down the left.
Forest continued to bombard the Cardiff area with crosses but most balls foundered on the forehead of Gerrard, looking every part a member of a footballing dynasty that includes cousin Steven - the Liverpool and England midfielder.
The few times the ball did find a Forest head there was just enough pressure on the attacker, Earnshaw going closest with a cushioned header that looped three feet high of the Cardiff crossbar.
With 12 minutes remaining Blake was caught in possession and only a superb one-handed diving save from Marshall denied Blackstock as the Forest striker shot across the Scotland stopper.
Moments later Gerrard just had the strength to hold off Earnshaw as Forest's other hitman bore down on goal.
That was Earnshaw's last action - the Wales striker applauded off by both sets of fans - as David McGoldrick came off the bench to add fresh legs to the home attack.
A bizarre spat between Gerrard and his own goalkeeper Marshall betrayed the frayed Cardiff nerves as the game entered its closing stages.
But harmony was restored just in time for the Cardiff backline to deny a last Forest flurry.
Blake did well to get his head in the way of Cohen's goal-bound shot after the Forest midfielder picked up a loose ball on the edge of the area, while Blackstock flashed a header just wide as Cardiff held firm.
Nottingham Forest manager Billy Davies told BBC Radio Nottingham:
"It was a fantastic effort from the players. It was a great attitude.
"We dominated a very good side and I have to say I am very proud of the effort of this team."
Cardiff City manager Dave Jones: "There was a lot of pace in the game, a lot of commitment from both sides, chances for both teams.
Boss Jones delight at Easter haul
"It was a tough game between two sides that like to get it down and play.
"Two tired teams as well. We've had a difficult week playing Leicester, then Swansea and then... here, so I'm pleased with our tally over Easter.
"This is the period where it's important not to lose and that's why it's a good point for us."
Live text and stats
Monday, 5 April 2010
28 Majewski (McCleary 65)
10 Earnshaw (McGoldrick 83 yellow card)
23 Blackstock yellow card
17 Etuhu (Wildig 74)
44 McCormack yellow card
08 Chopra yellow card
09 Bothroyd yellow card
Ref: FoyAtt: 22,185
Attempts on target
Attempts off target
90:00+4:45 The referee ends the match.
90:00+1:56 Nathan Tyson delivers the ball, save made by David Marshall.
90:00+0:56 Booking David McGoldrick is shown a yellow card for unsporting behaviour.
90:00+0:52 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Mark Kennedy by David McGoldrick. David Marshall restarts play with the free
90:00+0:12 Jay Bothroyd gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Wes Morgan. Lee Camp takes the free kick.
89:45 Dexter Blackstock gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Anthony Gerrard. Free kick taken by Darcy Blake.
89:06 Chris Gunter fouled by Aaron Wildig, the ref awards a free kick. Lee Camp takes the free kick.
88:12 Garath McCleary crosses the ball, Headed effort from deep inside the area by Dexter Blackstock misses to the left of the goal.
87:46 Booking Booking for Michael Chopra for unsporting behaviour.
87:36 Michael Chopra challenges Chris Gunter unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Kelvin Wilson.
86:40 Outswinging corner taken left-footed by Chris Cohen, Dexter Blackstock has a headed effort at goal from deep inside the area
missing to the right of the target.
86:21 Chris Cohen has an effort at goal from 20 yards. Darcy Blake gets a block in.
86:11 Chris Gunter delivers the ball, Anthony Gerrard manages to make a clearance.
84:42 The ball is sent over by Nathan Tyson, save made by David Marshall.
83:45 Nathan Tyson delivers the ball.
82:33 Substitution Robert Earnshaw leaves the field to be replaced by David McGoldrick.
81:56 Luke Chambers sends in a cross, clearance made by Anthony Gerrard.
80:24 Booking Booking for Jay Bothroyd for unsporting behaviour.
80:07 Jay Bothroyd challenges Guy Moussi unfairly and gives away a free kick. Wes Morgan takes the free kick.
78:56 The ball is swung over by Jay Bothroyd, clearance made by Chris Gunter.
77:55 Dexter Blackstock takes a shot. Save by David Marshall.
75:19 Stephen McPhail concedes a free kick for a foul on Chris Cohen. Chris Cohen takes the direct free kick.
73:28 Substitution Aaron Wildig on for Kelvin Etuhu.
72:09 Centre by Nathan Tyson, Robert Earnshaw produces a header from inside the area that goes over the crossbar.
71:59 Garath McCleary produces a cross, Anthony Gerrard manages to make a clearance.
71:14 Free kick awarded for a foul by Jay Bothroyd on Kelvin Wilson. Free kick taken by Lee Camp.
69:51 Centre by Garath McCleary, Darcy Blake manages to make a clearance.
68:04 Booking The referee cautions Ross McCormack for unsporting behaviour.
67:49 Free kick awarded for a foul by Ross McCormack on Chris Gunter. Lee Camp takes the free kick.
67:33 Ross McCormack takes the chance to get an effort at goal. Save by Lee Camp.
66:38 The ball is swung over by Chris Gunter, Headed effort from deep inside the area by Dexter Blackstock misses to the left of
64:18 Substitution Garath McCleary on for Radoslaw Majewski.
63:19 A cross is delivered by Radoslaw Majewski, Anthony Gerrard makes a clearance.
63:04 Centre by Luke Chambers, Darcy Blake gets a block in.
62:48 Jay Bothroyd takes a shot. Wes Morgan gets a block in.
61:13 The assistant referee flags for offside against Michael Chopra. Lee Camp takes the indirect free kick.
60:38 Chris Cohen sends in a cross, Dexter Blackstock takes a shot. Save by David Marshall.
58:11 Inswinging corner taken from the left by-line by Radoslaw Majewski, save made by David Marshall.
58:07 The ball is delivered by Guy Moussi, Anthony Gerrard makes a clearance.
57:18 Stephen McPhail challenges Radoslaw Majewski unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Kelvin Wilson.
56:34 Dexter Blackstock challenges Darcy Blake unfairly and gives away a free kick. Mark Kennedy restarts play with the free kick.
55:13 Shot from just outside the box by Chris Cohen misses to the left of the goal.
54:25 Dexter Blackstock challenges Jay Bothroyd unfairly and gives away a free kick. Free kick taken by Stephen McPhail.
53:17 The ball is sent over by Chris Cohen, clearance by Anthony Gerrard.
52:17 Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Anthony Gerrard by Dexter Blackstock. Direct free kick taken by David Marshall.
50:23 Booking Booking for Dexter Blackstock for unsporting behaviour.
50:13 Unfair challenge on Mark Kennedy by Dexter Blackstock results in a free kick. Mark Kennedy restarts play with the free kick.
49:05 Michael Chopra is caught offside. Lee Camp restarts play with the free kick.
48:20 Robert Earnshaw produces a right-footed shot from just outside the penalty box that misses to the left of the target.
47:04 Unfair challenge on Chris Gunter by Kelvin Etuhu results in a free kick. The free kick is delivered right-footed by Radoslaw
Majewski from left wing, clearance by Darcy Blake.
45:01 The game restarts for the second half.
45:00+1:03 The match has reached half-time.
41:24 The ball is sent over by Luke Chambers, clearance made by Anthony Gerrard.
41:01 Jay Bothroyd delivers the ball, clearance made by Luke Chambers.
40:20 Corner taken by Ross McCormack from the right by-line, Chris Cohen manages to make a clearance.
40:04 Mark Kennedy sends in a cross.
39:14 Centre by Radoslaw Majewski, clearance by Darcy Blake.
37:32 The ball is delivered by Guy Moussi.
36:57 Radoslaw Majewski takes a inswinging corner from the left by-line played to the near post, clearance made by Anthony Gerrard.
36:18 Handball decision goes against Jay Bothroyd. Lee Camp restarts play with the free kick.
35:03 Chris Cohen delivers the ball, Mark Kennedy manages to make a clearance. Chris Cohen takes a inswinging corner from the right
by-line to the near post, save by David Marshall.
34:11 The assistant referee flags for offside against Michael Chopra. Lee Camp restarts play with the free kick.
33:13 Radoslaw Majewski sends in a cross, Luke Chambers takes a shot. Save made by David Marshall.
29:55 Effort from 12 yards by Robert Earnshaw. Blocked by Adam Matthews. Inswinging corner taken left-footed by Chris Cohen from
the right by-line, David Marshall makes a save.
26:14 The ball is swung over by Nathan Tyson.
25:52 Jay Bothroyd fouled by Wes Morgan, the ref awards a free kick. Stephen McPhail restarts play with the free kick.
25:08 The ball is delivered by Wes Morgan, Header by Dexter Blackstock from deep inside the penalty area misses to the left of the
24:26 The ball is crossed by Chris Cohen, Anthony Gerrard makes a clearance.
24:01 The ball is swung over by Stephen McPhail, clearance by Chris Gunter.
22:35 Ross McCormack produces a cross.
22:03 Robert Earnshaw is penalised for handball and concedes a free kick. Indirect free kick taken by David Marshall.
21:00 Radoslaw Majewski has an effort at goal from just outside the penalty box which goes wide of the left-hand post.
19:13 Luke Chambers challenges Michael Chopra unfairly and gives away a free kick. Strike on goal comes in from Ross McCormack from
the free kick, David Marshall makes a save.
17:13 Guy Moussi sends in a cross.
12:22 Outswinging corner taken by Ross McCormack from the right by-line played to the near post, Dexter Blackstock manages to make
12:08 Ross McCormack takes a outswinging corner from the right by-line played to the near post, clearance by Guy Moussi.
11:57 Shot by Adam Matthews. Luke Chambers gets a block in.
11:35 Corner taken by Stephen McPhail played to the near post.
10:57 Inswinging corner taken right-footed by Ross McCormack from the left by-line, Chris Gunter makes a clearance.
10:50 The ball is crossed by Jay Bothroyd, Luke Chambers gets a block in.
8:50 Ross McCormack sends in a cross, Luke Chambers makes a clearance.
8:16 The ball is delivered by Kelvin Etuhu, clearance by Kelvin Wilson.
7:53 Radoslaw Majewski produces a cross, Adam Matthews manages to make a clearance.
7:32 Corner taken left-footed by Chris Cohen from the right by-line to the near post, clearance by Jay Bothroyd.
7:23 Chris Gunter delivers the ball, Joe Ledley gets a block in.
6:40 Robert Earnshaw takes a shot. Save by David Marshall.
5:01 Ross McCormack takes the inswinging corner, Darcy Blake has a header from deep inside the six-yard box and clears the crossbar.
3:52 Ross McCormack takes a outswinging corner to the near post, Shot by Joe Ledley. Wes Morgan gets a block in.
1:44 Chris Gunter gives away a free kick for an unfair challenge on Michael Chopra. Stephen McPhail takes the direct free kick.
0:00 The match gets underway.
Live text and data provided by The Press Association.
This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.