Derby County were held to a goalless draw against struggling Millwall at the iPro Stadium despite being the better side for large portions of the contest.
Despite not being able to grab a goal, the result saw Derby keep their fourth successive clean sheet with the point ensuring they remained fourth in the table, just one point away from the top spot.
Derby were on the front foot from the off with early chances falling to Ward – first, a right-footed shot that he dragged narrowly wide before a curler moments later that just missed David Forde’s top corner.
At the other end, Millwall came close themselves when Aiden O’Brien battled his way past a couple of defenders before shooting from a tight angle, but former-Lion, Zak Whitbread, got across well to block.
The visitors had another good chance with twenty minutes gone when they broke quickly from a Rams’ corner, but Lee Gregory’s shot was straight at Grant who made an easy save.
Ward was Derby’s biggest threat and he almost broke the deadlock in the 25th minute with a right-foot curler from outside the area, but Forde just managed to keep it out, diving at full stretch to his left.
Having weathered a spell of pressure from the Lions, Derby were back on the front foot and thought they had won a penalty on the half hour mark when Jordon Ibe took a tumble in the box under the challenge of Forde.
But instead of pointing to the spot for a penalty, referee, Mark Haywood, issued a yellow card to Ibe, adjudging him to have dived, much to the chagrin of the Derby players and fans.
A quick counter attack almost lead to a goal for the away side as the ball found it’s way to Martyn Woolford who smacked an effort from the edge of the Rams’ box, but Lee Grant barely had to move to gather the ball.
Both sides had good spells of possession as the half petered out, but no significant chances and it was difficult to say who the better side was as Mark Haywood brought an end to the opening period.
The Rams’ started the second half in much the say way they’d begun the first with Ward bursting forward down the right before lashing a low ball across the face of goal that Millwall were just about able to scramble behind for a corner.
Moments later, Ibe took on Lions’ right back, Alan Dunne, down the left wing before putting his laces through a shot from the edge of the box, which raced just wide of Forde’s left post.
Derby had spent most of the second 45 camped in the Millwall half and could have scored with 65 minutes gone when Martin pulled the ball back to substitute Jeff Hendrick, but the Irishman’s close range effort was blocked.
The Rams were turning the screw and Johnny Russell had been on the pitch a matter of minutes when he put in a teasing low cross that Leon Best was a whisker away from turning into the Millwall net.
But as the half wore on, Millwall sat even deeper, stifling the Rams’ front line and despite Derby’s superiority, the match was still without a goal as the referee blew to signal full time.
Derby County: Grant, Christie, Keogh, Whitbread, Forsyth, Eustace (Hendrick 58’), Hughes, Bryson, Ward (Best 58’), Ibe (Russell 64’), Martin
Substitutes not used: Mitchell, Calero, Shotton, Mascarell
Millwall: Forde, Dunne, Webster, Williams, Briggs, Chaplow, Abdou (Upson 82’), O'Brien (Malone 68’), McDonald, Woolford, Gregory (Fuller 75’)
Substitutes not used: King, Shittu, Beevers, Powell