Millwall's Play-Off dreams remain firmly on track after picking up a point - and fifth clean sheet in seven games - at League One strugglers Colchester United.
On an afternoon that saw rivals Gillingham, Burton and Walsall all drop points, The Lions were ultimately left feeling frustrated at not claiming all three points after dominating a second-half in which Chris Taylor hit the woodwork.
Lions boss Neil Harris named an unchanged team from the side that started against Burton last time out, but welcomed back a trio of senior pros from international duty, with Jimmy Abdou, David Forde and Shane Ferguson named on the bench. Kyron Farrell, Harry Girling and Carlos Edwards were the three players to make way.
Colchester were forced to make a couple of changes, with Richard Brindley replacing injured Joe Edwards at right-back and Tom Lapslie in for former Lions loanee Owen Garvan.
With both teams desperate for points in their respective battles at opposite ends of the table, and an expectant crowd at the Weston Homes Community Stadium, this was a pressure game with plenty of effort and endeavor, but lacking that killer final touch in the final third.
Colchester won the first corner of the game with two minutes on the clock, but Chris Porter steered a free header from George Moncur's deep delivery wide of the target.
There was a huge collective sigh of relief from the 1,700 Lions fans packed behind Jordan Archer's goal when Moncur's 12th-minute drive took a wicked deflection and flew inches wide of the upright.
The Lions conceded the majority of possession early on, but whilst The U's had a lot of the ball, they were unable to really create any clear chances.
It was Millwall who had the first decent opportunity to break the deadlock just three minutes later when Lee Gregory lashed the ball over from 12 yards after Aiden O'Brien's initial shot had been blocked.
The game really started to open up and at the other end Elliott Lee eased past Mahlon Romeo on the left, cut into the penalty area and hit a low shot that Archer did well to get a hand to before Mark Beevers cleared.
Great determination from Shaun Williams saw the Millwall midfielder win possession on the halfway line, thread a fine pass to Gregory, but Chris Taylor was unable to make a clean contact and his scuffed shot was straight into the hands of keeper Elliott Parish.
The Lions squandered a great chance to take the lead four minutes before the end of a scrappy first half. Steve Morison towered above U's defender Tom Eastman to flick the ball into the path of strike partner Gregory in a central position. Instead of shooting, Gregory took a touch past keeper Elliott and with the goal begging, the top-scorer fired over.
Ferguson replaced O'Brien at start of the second-half, but it was keeper Archer who twice came to the rescue with smart stops from Elliot Lee and then Gavin Massey's long-range drive as Colchester came flying out of the traps.
The Lions weathered this early second-half storm, and gradually started to ask questions of their own in what developed into a dominant 45 minutes.
Gregory expertly shimmied past Eastman and saw his angled shot saved by Parish before turning provider to set up Taylor, but defender Frankie East nipped in to clear just as Taylor was about to pull the trigger.
Taylor was then a whisker away from breaking the deadlock with 12 minutes remaining. Morison squared the ball into his path 18 yards out and the loanee let fly with a stinging shot that rattled the foot of the upright before the danger was cleared.
Busy midfielder Ben Thompson sent a rasping drive straight into the hands of Parish as the visitors tried to find a way through a resolute home defence as the game entered the dying minutes.
A late flurry of corners were dealt with by the U's rearguard and Thompson's injury-time low delivery across the face of goal was inches away from Ferguson as the visitors huffed and puffed but just could not get that all-important winning goal.
Colchester United: Parish, Brindley (Vincent-Young, 59mins), Kent, Eastman, Shorey, Gilbey, Lapslie (Ambrose, 69mins), Massey (Wright, 77mins), Moncur, Lee, Porter. Subs not used: Bransgrove, Harney, Bonne, Akinwande. Booking:
Archer, Romeo, Martin, Beevers, Webster, Thompson, Williams, O'Brien (Ferguson, 46mins), Gregory, Morison, Taylor. Subs not used: Forde, Nelson, Abdou, Onyedinma, Upson, Philpot.
5,377 (away 1,705)
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