Saido Berahino made his first appearance since threatening to go on strike as West Brom and Southampton played out a 0-0 draw.
Berahino insisted that he would never again “play Jeremy Peace” after his transfer deadline day move to Spurs broke down earlier this month, but came on as a second half substitute against Southampton in a drab draw at The Hawthorns.
The forward was given a mixed reception, but his introduction briefly lit up a dour game as the Baggies slugged out a forgettable draw.
Like his team-mates, Berahino struggled to create while Jay Rodriguez wasted the visitors’ best chance in the first half.
Virgil van Dijk was dominant on his debut for Southampton while Jonny Evans was assured on his Baggies bow following his arrival from Manchester United.
Rickie Lambert, Chris Brunt and Callum McManaman returned for the hosts while Rodriguez and Victor Wanyama started for the Saints.
And defences were on top from the start as the sides settled into a mundane rhythm which rarely looked like changing.
Boaz Myhill, now under pressure from Anders Lindegaard who was named on the Albion bench after joining from Manchester United, claimed Graziano Pelle’s early effort.
McManaman was the brightest spark in a pedestrian opening and wanted a penalty when he went down under Matt Targett’s challenge but his appeals went unrewarded.
It was a rare flashpoint during the first period, which lacked quality and tension as Salomon Rondon and Lambert, against his former club, laboured for Albion.
Craig Dawson headed over but Saints goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg remained untroubled as ex-Celtic defender Van Dijk kept a lid on Albion’s stilted attacks.
But Rodriguez should have broken the monotony nine minutes before the break when he wriggled ahead of Dawson and planted a six-yard header wide from Dusan Tadic’s fine cross.
It was the best chance of a limp first half and Southampton emerged for the second with renewed purpose as Tadic threatened.
Myhill claimed Rodriguez’s deflected effort before Berahino returned for Lambert, who failed to make any impact, on 55 minutes just after Rondon shot over when well placed.
It briefly raised the noise levels and expectations – showing the 22-year-old may be able to win round the doubters – but did little for the game.
James Ward-Prowse’s wayward effort flew over on 65 minutes and Sadio Mane was off target 10 minutes later.
Pelle’s tame strike rolled straight to Myhill as Southampton finished on top but never looked like scoring.