Bologna failed to make the most of their dominance as Serie A's bottom club held on for a 0-0 draw at the Stadio Dino Manuzzi.
Alessandro Diamanti went closest to a breakthrough with two first-half efforts narrowly off target before he was twice denied by goalkeeper Francesco Antonioli in the second.
Raphael Martinho and Mattia Filippi had Cesena's best efforts but they were rare attacks for the home side, who were forced to hang on for long periods.
Nico Pulzetti had Bologna's first effort before Diamanti shot just wide from the edge of the box.
Diego Perez's free-kick was wayward but former West Ham forward Diamanti was finding his range, and his left-footed shot from distance flew inches wide.
Marco Di Vaio failed to capitalise on two headed chances and Matteo Rubin was off target from long range as the first half ended goalless.
Martinho drew the afternoon's first save from Jean-Francois Gillet four minutes after the restart, but it was an otherwise low-key start to the second half.
Diamanti again inspired Bologna forward as the game entered its final quarter-hour, but two left-footed strikes in quick succession were too close to Antonioli.
In a frantic last five minutes, Filippi shot just wide for Cesena before Bologna sought a deserved winner only for Robert Acquafresca and Panagiotis Kone to miss the target.
The home side could have nicked the points at the last, but Maurizio Lauro shot over from long range.