Dave Jones' arrival as Sheffield Wednesday manager failed to earn an immediate dividend as they were held to a goalless draw by resolute Rochdale.
The home side should have won late on when Jason Kennedy was tripped in the box by Julian Bennett, but Gary Jones' resulting penalty hit the post.
The Owls had looked dangerous from set pieces in the opening half, without seriously troubling keeper David Lucas.
Ryan Lowe had a goal disallowed after the break for a foul on Dean Holden.
There was plenty of attacking endeavour from both sides but the quality of finishing was generally poor, as typified by Jones' penalty - a wasted opportunity Rochdale could ill afford, standing second-bottom in League One.
The Owls had coach Chris Evans picking the team following Wednesday's shock sacking of manager Gary Megson, followed by Jones' appointment on Friday morning,
But the new boss was at Spotland to witness his new team in action and will know there is a lot of work to do if they are to achieve automatic promotion.
Despite the stalemate, the promotion-chasing Owls closed the gap on local rivals Sheffield United in second place to four points, the Blades blowing a two-goal lead at home to Oldham,
VIEW FROM THE DRESSING ROOM
Owls coach Chris Evans tells BBC Radio Sheffield:
"I'm disappointed that we didn't take the three points. I think it would have been a tragedy had we lost. Rochdale likewise had three or four efforts themselves.
"But I think there's a bigger picture, to be honest with you. It's been a difficult week and that dressing room contains human beings and the manner in which they've responded to what I've asked in the last few days is a huge credit to them.
"Today is about nothing other than a group of players that came here and wanted to put on a show for the 3,000 Wednesday fans who came here today."