Report: Millwall 0-0 Derby County

MILLWALL extended their unbeaten run at home to nine games in all competitions as they drew 0-0 with Derby on Tuesday night.

The Lions felt they could have had two penalties, once in the first half when Lee Gregory appeared to be caught high and then late on with Shaun Hutchinson claiming his shot was blocked by a Derby hand.

Derby were first to threaten in the eighth minute after James Meredith had given away possession and the visitors worked the ball to George Thorne who shot straight at Jordan Archer.

Millwall created their first chance four minutes later, Jake Cooper’s long ball forward breaking off Gregory and Tom Elliott fired in a half-volley that Scott Carson easily collected.

The Lions had an close call when Archer parried Andreas Weimann’s cross to Matej Vydra, the striker about to tap home only for Hutchinson to superbly block and prevent a certain goal.

The hosts then thought they should have had a penalty when Tom Huddlestone’s boot appeared to make contact with Gregory's head as the forward went for Jed Wallace’s cross. Derby got away with it but Gregory needed treatment and later in the half there was a hint of handball in the Rams box but play was waved on.

Millwall almost caught Derby on the break an hour in as Shaun Williams found Gregory scampering clear, but Curtis Davies got a foot in to divert the ball for a corner before Elliott swivelled and fired over from Cooper’s knockdown.

Millwall centre-backs Cooper and Hutchinson got a rare chance to venture forward in the 70th minute after Shane Ferguson had done well to win a free-kick. They were both involved with Gregory before Craig Forsyth cleared, and then Elliott was booked for shoving Davies as the game became edgy.

In the 77th minute Gregory ran with the ball across the box before Wallace took over, Carson saving with his legs.

Rams substitutes Cameron Jerome and Ikechi Anya combined with six minutes left with the latter curling home past Archer only to see the linesman’s flag go up for offside.

Derby then had an escape as the ball dropped to Saville in box but his effort was blocked. And Hutchinson was convinced his side should have been awarded a spot-kick but Derby weren't punished.

Cahill paraded before kick-off as Morison misses out

Tim Cahill was reintroduced to fans at 7.35pm. It was short and sweet, a quick acknowledgement of the crowd but he wouldn’t have wanted to draw too much attention away from the game.

The more pressing concern was Steve Morison’s absence from the match-day squad.

It was a frustrating half for Millwall, and the partnership of Gregory and Elliott didn’t quite click. Cooper regularly looked for Elliott with long diagonals, but Davies was beating his opponent in the air.

Derby attacked with pace and moved the ball quickly in possession, yet Archer had only been tested by that Thorne effort and Weimann’s cross.

Morison showed how much of a focal point he is when he came on against Rochdale on Saturday, and that was being proved again by his absence here.

Millwall light on attacking options

With Morison out and no Aiden O’Brien, Millwall also only had Fred Onyedinma on the bench as an attacking option, and they were struggling to make the ball stick up front.

Gregory looked like he might get into the clear but Davies was in imperious form.

Despite Derby’s initiative and cohesive build-up play, they weren’t able to really get through to test Archer. Millwall, though, had to make use of the little possession they were getting, but one ball flying over the head of Elliott in the 65th minute summed up their attacking play.

Onyedinma came on for Ferguson with 18 minutes left before Derby boss Gary Rowett showed his stack of attacking options by bringing on Jerome and Sam Winnall. Jerome soon turned and shot in the box but Archer wasn’t unduly troubled as he stooped to save.

Millwall did look more of a threat late on, but this display only highlighted to need for more impactful attacking players off the bench.

Up next

Millwall confirmed they had secured a further 800 tickets for Saturday’s clash with Reading, taking their total allocation to 2,997.

It could depend on the outcome of that game what kind of team Harris puts out in the replay against Rochdale in the fourth round of the FA Cup the following Tuesday.

Win and he may feel he is in a better position to pick a stronger side than the one he did in the 2-2 draw here on Saturday. It must certainly be temping given it is likely to be Tottenham in the next round, and in that case certainly a sold-out Den.

Image: Millwall FC 

John Kelly