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Match Report

 

Posted Mon 03 Jan 11 at 17:19 PM

Derby County 0 Millwall 0

Millwall extended their unbeaten run to eight games with a battling point at Pride Park, but were left wondering what might have been against a woeful Derby County side.
The Lions dominated the first half and bossed long spells of the second, but left their shooting boots at home and were unable to apply the all important killer touch in front of goal that would have been just reward for the magnificent vocal support from Millwall's 609 travelling fans.
From virtually the first minute to the last it was The Lions fans who created a wall of sound, encouraging their team as they strived to record a third successive Championship win.
"I thought the first half we played very well and our football was crisp," said boss Kenny Jackett. "The game seemed to die for both teams in the second half. Whether that is down to the number of games we have played in a short period of time I don't know, but it was the same for both Derby and ourselves.
Overall though I'm not too disappointed with taking a point from this game because it keeps our run going and we're now unbeaten in eight, with another clean sheet too."
Jackett welcomed back top scorer Steve Morison following illness, whilst Saturday's hat-trick hero Jason Puncheon was ruled out with a dead leg. James Henry also returned to The Lions starting line-up with Josh McQuoid dropping to the bench.
It proved to be one-way traffic in the opening 45 minutes were dominated by Jackett's side, chalking up six corners in the first 16 minutes alone and eight in total during the half.
It was baffling though that such domination failed to produce a single goal for the visitors, who battered The Rams rearguard without breaking the deadlock.
Top scorer Morison had two great opportunities early on but was unable to convert either. The first came after four minutes when, following some trickery by Henry on the right, Morison failed to hit the target from 10 yards. Three minutes later Liam Trotter was released down the right, he avoided Shaun Barker's challenge, played in Henry whose deep cross picked out Morison at the far post, but on this occasion the striker headed into the sidenetting with the goal at his mercy.
Sixty seconds later a rare mistake by left-back Scott Barron let in Alberto Bueno and his inviting delivery was met by Chris Porter who headed straight in the hands of keeper David Forde.
It was Millwall, however, who had taken the game by the scruff of the neck.
More neat football on 12 minutes saw Henry drive at the heart of Derby's defence before finding Barron on the left. The left-back's pass inside teed up Schofield in space, but he could only blaze a curling drive over.
Minutes later, Tony Craig's long ball launched another attack, and when he found Darren Ward on the edge of the box, the defender's headed cross was touched on by Trotter and between them Schofield and Morison managed to get a shot away that Stephen Bywater needed to push away for the sixth corner of the opening 16 minutes. Henry's corner subsequently found Morison who headed high and wide of the upright.
Jack Smith then cleared a Derby corner with a pass to Jimmy Abdou and Millwall were again on the front foot. The midfielder found Barron via Schofield, and his clipped pass found the onrushing Trotter who smashed a left foot shot narrowly over the bar.
The former Ipswich man then turned provider. After incepting a pass, he broke down the left, played a one-two with Schofield and squared for Henry who side-footed just wide of the target.
Minutes before half time Derby managed their first meaningful attack of the match. Paul Green, operating in an unfamilar right back berth, sent over a left foot cross from the right which was chested down by Chris Porter and dragged wide.
Straight up other end, Trotter broke down the right, played in Schofield but the wideman could only blast high of the target from a tight angle, as the half remained goalless.
Derby introduced Tomasz Cywka for the ineffective Conor Doyle at the start of the second period and The Rams briefly threatened. Henry lost possession inside the Derby danger zone and a long hopeful clearance was picked up by Kris Commons, who sprinted clear, cut inside Ward only to hit a tame shot that failed to trouble Forde.
Millwall though grew back into the half and excellent build up found Schofield on the left. With Barron busting to get around the flank, Schofield instead went for the spectacular and crashed a long-range drive over the bar.
Bueno then sent a freekick harmlesly over at the other end after the outstanding Jimmy Abdou was penalised for a foul on Robbie Savage.
Jackett made his first changes 70 minutes in, with returning skipper Robbo and McQuoid coming on for Schofield and and the tiring Morison.
Tony Craig moved across to left back with Barron moving further up field to fill the left midfield berth.
And the move nearly paid instant dividends when Smith went close. Trotter got the attack underway, driving a pass out wide for Henry who played in the overlapping full-back. When Derby failed to deal with Smith's attempted cross, the ex-Swindon man fizzed a left-foot shot across goal from a narrow angle.
With both sides trying to carve out opportunities, the game increasingly became interrupted by referee Wright, who blew up for niggly little fouls that probably should have been let go.
If the ref wasn't getting in the way, the lack of a quality final pass was, with both sides ultimately guilty of failing to play a precise enough killer ball to provide the chance that would surely seal victory.

Derby County: Bywater, Brayford, Green, Barker, Savage (Addison, 86mins), Commons, Porter, Bailey, Moxey, Doyle (Cywka, 46mins), Bueno (Pearson, 70mins). Subs not used: Leacock, Davies, Deeney, Pringle.

Millwall: Forde, Smith, Barron, Abdou, Ward, Craig, Schofield (Robinson, 70mins), Mkandawire, Trotter, Morison (McQuoid, 70mins), Henry. Subs not used: Mildenhall, Harris, Hackett, Carter, Laird.
Booking: Smith (74), Mkandawire (90)

Ref: K Wright
Att: 24,239 (away 609)

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