Derby County secured a 1-0 victory at The Den against Millwall on Saturday afternoon as Jason Knight bagged his first league goal of the season.
Knight grabbed the winning goal deep into the second half with a fine finish after Martyn Waghorn’s back-post header was palmed away by the Lions’ goalkeeper.
It was Derby’s second Sky Bet Championship victory of the season and a first with Wayne Rooney in charge as he has led the team to three games unbeaten.
An early chance fell to the home side as Jed Wallace broke through the Derby back line to go one-on-one with Rams stopper David Marshall. Wallace picked his shot, but Marshall stretched wide and denied the opening goal with a strong right palm over the bar.
The Rams had some good spells of possession and just after the half hour mark, Kamil Jozwiak was played in by Craig Forsyth on the left. The Winger drilled the ball across goal which Colin Kazim-Richards left for Duane Holmes. He squared to Jason Knight, but he was unable to get the shot off.
It was a similar story for both sides for the remainder of the half as both the Lions and Rams had some good spells but were unable to produce in the final third.
With five minutes left to play, Derby hit Millwall on the counter-attack when Holmes slid in to stop a cross to Nathan Byrne who drove forward. The ball was moved well down the pitch and Forsyth’s cross was deflected away.
Graeme Shinnie showed superb work rate to win the ball back to the right of the area. He played a quick one-two with Krystian Bielik, with Bielik flicking the ball back to Shinnie to drill a shot just over the cross bar.
The Rams’ best chance of the half came with one-minute remaining. Jozwiak picked the ball up in a pocket of space on the edge of the area and set Holmes, but the midfielder was caught in two minds by the post and opted for a cross that went out for a throw-in.
Less than ten minutes after the restart, another good early chance fell for the hosts. Wallace was able to get off a cross toward the back post with Matt Smith waiting. He headed on target, but Marshall was there again to parry away the opportunity.
Straight down the other end, Colin Kazim-Richards set Jozwiak in the area. His first effort was blocked and a second was slightly too heavy and Bartosz Bialkowski was able to grab the loose ball.
Shinnie then saw another shot go over before a spell of heavy pressure from Millwall. On the hour mark, they were awarded a free-kick on the edge of the box but Shane Ferguson rifled his shot into the wall and the second low effort by Ryan Leonard glanced wide of the mark.
However, it was the Rams who broke the deadlock with just more than 20 minutes left to play. Forsyth fizzed a perfect ball from the left to the back post. Martyn Waghorn was there and headed down and Bialkowski palmed the ball into the path of Knight who made no mistake as he powered the ball straight down the middle from the edge of the six-yard box.
The Rams kept pushing for a second goal and that almost came with eight minutes left to play when they were awarded a free-kick outside the area to the left. Mx Bird floated a ball towards the back post for Clarke who headed on target but Bialkowski made the grab.
Millwall were unable to find a way back into the game and the Rams left South London with three points. They will head back to London on Wednesday when they face Brentford.
Millwall: Bialkowski, Wallace, Hutchinson, Cooper, Wallace, Smith (Burey, 77), Romeo, Leonard, Ferguson, Woods. Thompson (Parrott, 58).
Substitutes: Fielding, Muller, Pearce, Williams, Bodvarsson, Alexander, Skalak.
Derby County: Marshall, Forsyth, Shinnie (Bird, 64), Bielik, Jozwiak (Wisdom, 90), Byrne, Kazim-Richards (Buchanan, 86), Clarke, Holmes (Waghorn, 64), Davies (C), Knight.
Substitutes: Roos, Lawrence, Ibe, Sibley, Stretton.