By Richard Cawley
Millwall collected their 10th clean sheet of the Championship season as they showed their defensive steel against Derby County.
The Lions restricted the Rams to few chances despite periods of dominance for Gary Rowett’s side – with Shaun Hutchinson outstanding.
Millwall boss Neil Harris has been critical of officials already this season and they were on the wrong side of a couple of penalty appeals which referee Oliver Langford rejected.
The big talking point of the first half was a strong spot-kick claim for the Lions. Curtis Davies seemed to have clipped Lee Gregory with a high boot in the 24th minute as the pair went for Jed Wallace’s cross, but Langford took no action. Anywhere else on the pitch, and it was hard to shake the impression it would have been penalised.
Tom Elliott produced an explosive snapshot on 12 minutes but it was dealt with by Scott Carson.
The hosts were being made to work overtime to contain Derby’s threat and did exactly that, with Jordan Archer not overly troubled in the first half despite some dangerous and pacy breaks.
The Rams dominated the early exchanges of the second half with Millwall struggling to get any kind of forward momentum going. A temporary reprieve came when Shaun Williams pinged a first time ball for Lee Gregory to run onto, but Davies did well to stay with him and only concede a corner.
From that set-piece there was another chance for Millwall. Ferguson’s corner was nodded back across the penalty area by Jake Cooper but Elliott spun and cracked the ball over the crossbar.
Millwall could point to the better chances to break the deadlock. Wallace slammed a low drive straight at Carson after substitute Fred Onyedinma broke forward, while Elliott produced a tired-looking strike after Onyedinma slipped him into a shooting position on the left of the box.
There were numerous appeals from Lions players for a handball late on – echoed by the home fans – as Cooper headed a corner towards goal but Langford gave nothing.
The result was still enough to move Millwall up a place to 14th, with Nottingham Forest losing 3-0 at home to Preston North End.