GARY Rowett’s Millwall defeated his former club Derby County to record successive away league wins for the first time since March 2018.
Tom Bradshaw gave Millwall the lead in the 25th minute when he ran on to a ball through from Shaun Hutchinson before firing past Ben Hamer.
The Lions were dealt a blow three minutes from time when substitute Ben Thompson blocked a cross and had to be helped off the pitch.
Lions fans serenade boss
Millwall had only lost once to Derby in the last seven games between the sides, 3-0 to Rowett’s Rams in December 2017.
Derby fans had a less than complimentary chant for their former manager, Millwall fans responded with, ‘There’s only one Gary Rowett.’
And they were singing that with even more gusto after Bradshaw’s excellent finish.
The away fans’ side was playing with so much confidence on the ball. Murray Wallace nutmegged Martyn Waghorn and Jake Cooper overlapped down the left.
On the other side Romeo covered the whole flank and could have scored.
Those flourishes were all well and good but then Millwall were forced into much more defensive work in the second half.
But again the back five were outstanding, even if Rowett would have been concerned how deep the team got. Bart Bialkowski made an outstanding save with 10 minutes left to keep his side ahead.
There were other excellent defensive contributions as Derby threw everything at the visitors late on. It was summed up with the last action when substitute Matt Smith, under pressure from goalkeeper Hamer who had gone forward, headed away and referee Chris Kavanagh blew the final whistle.
Bradshaw finishing quality returns
It was Bradshaw’s first goal in nine games, a first under Rowett and his eighth of the season.
It was a brilliantly taken goal. Bradshaw still had plenty to do 25 yards out but flicked the ball with his head past Craig Forsyth before firing into the top right corner from 14 yards.
Bradshaw worked so hard in a lone striker role and deserved that reward. He will surely get well into double figures for goals this season.
Millwall created the first proper chance in the 12th minute when Jon Dadi Bodvarsson ran at the Derby defence before slipping in Jed Wallace whose left-footed effort was tame and straight at Hamer.
Bradshaw had been at full stretch to reach Romeo’s cross and couldn’t direct the ball on target but he then finished superbly to put the Lions in front.
Jed Wallace then spotted Romeo’s run into the box but the wing-back just couldn’t reach the ball when a touch would have taken it in.
Duane Holmes shot over for the Rams as the home support became frustrated with their side’s slow play.
Two minutes before half-time winger Wallace shot from the edge of the box after a corner had been cleared to him and Hutchinson tried to divert the ball in but it went wide.
Derby were much more energised after the break and could have equalised in the 49th minute but Waghorn scuffed wide from Tom Lawrence’s low cross.
In the 64th minute Bialkowski couldn’t hold Waghorn’s shot from 25 yards but Alex Pearce was there to clear.
The Lions were struggling to get out of their own half as the second period had a totally different pattern. Derby were almost level when Jayden Bogle’s cross from the right was heading into the top corner before Bialkowski, at full stretch, tipped the ball away.
With 14 minutes left Rams centre-back Curtis Davies joined the attack to cross from the right to Waghorn who volleyed just wide from 12 yards.
Bialkowski made a superb save in the 80th minute as he had to quickly change direction when a low cross into the box was deflected towards the bottom corner.
Bialkowski’s defence was superbly organised in front of him as the Lions moved to within two points of the top six.
Rowett named the same side that started in the 2-1 win at Bristol City on Tuesday night.
Shane Ferguson returned to the bench in place of James Brown.
Millwall: 5-2-3: Bialkowski; Romeo, Hutchinson, Pearce, Cooper, M Wallace; Molumby, Williams; J Wallace, Bradshaw (O’Brien, 81), Bodvarsson (Thompson, 66; Smith, 88).
Subs: Steele, Ferguson, Mahoney, Skalak.
Image: Millwall FC