Derby County 1 - 0 Millwall

Match info: Championship at iPro Stadium

Date: 04/05/2013 KO: 12:45 Ref: R Madley Att: 25,021

Home team/scorers Scores Away team/scorers

Derby

Conor Sammon 85

1
vs
0

Millwall


FT (ht: 0-0)

  • Last Updated: May 4 2013, 17:56 BST

Post-match reaction to Derby's 1-0 victory over Millwall.

Kenny Jackett: Looking to improve in the summer
Kenny Jackett: Looking to improve in the summer

Millwall assistant manager Joe Gallen described staying in the npower Championship as "a fantastic achievement" after the Londoners avoided relegation despite slipping to a 1-0 defeat at Derby on the final day of the season.

The Lions could have guaranteed safety with a point but instead were tamed by Conor Sammon's late goal at Pride Park, only to be rescued by Huddersfield's equaliser at home to Barnsley and Crystal Palace's late fightback against Peterborough - with Posh ultimately joining Wolves and Bristol City in the relegation zone.

Millwall gave a nervy performance and had rarely threatened when Sammon produced a fine left-foot finish from Jamie Ward's cunning through ball five minutes from time, but Gallen was adamant that retaining their Championship status constituted a good season.

"The plan was to come here and at least get a point; unfortunately we've relied on other teams," he said.

"It's a great achievement to stay in the division - we're one of the smaller clubs in the Championship. We haven't lost a London derby this season and that's something important to our fans."

Kenny Jackett's side made headlines for all the wrong reasons after violent scenes among their fans overshadowed their FA Cup semi-final defeat against Wigan at Wembley, and Gallen revealed the negative publicity had affected matters on the field.

"The media fallout from the FA Cup semi-final put us under pressure," he said.

"I think it's obvious where we need to improve: we need strengthening in creativity and goal-scoring positions, although I'm aware offensive players cost a lot of money."

Just three minutes had gone when the visitors were given an opportunity to settle their nerves, the ball running to Liam Trotter in space on the left of the box only for John Brayford to get back and block his shot.

The away side were playing the brand of restricted football associated with teams fighting for survival, but they posed a threat on the counter attack and Derby keeper Adam Legzdins had to be alert to smother the ball at Liam Feeney's feet when Andy Keogh's 19th-minute pass played the winger in.

Derby defender Richard Keogh, who by playing for the duration of the game became one of only two players - along with Ipswich's Aaron Cresswell - to play every minute in the Championship this season, should have put the hosts ahead shortly before half-time.

Jamie Ward's curling free-kick from the right found the Rams' player of the season unmarked six yards out but Millwall keeper David Forde was equal to his headed effort.

Both teams had chances to open the scoring in first-half stoppage time; Ward brilliantly spinning Danny Shittu on halfway and teeing up Brayford, who had his shot blocked, before the home side failed to deal with a Feeney long throw before Trotter blazed his effort wide from 12 yards.

The second half was a tedious affair and, with 10 minutes to go, only goal difference was keeping Millwall above the trapdoor, and Sammon's strike looked to have pushed them through it until news broke of goings on at the Galpharm and Selhurst Park.

The win gave Nigel Clough his first top-10 finish in the division and the Derby manager was optimistic about his side's chances of promotion next season.

"It's lovely to finish 10th in the league," he said. "We know we've improved our performances this season.

"Our aim next season is to get four strikers of similar quality if we can, so if it's not quite working for the two playing we've got options. It's been too much this season; Conor's had to play 40-odd games.

"We're optimistic - we see what we've got out there now and it's not a team that's going to need breaking up in the next few seasons. We might only have one or two players over 30 going into next season.

"We just need a little bit more experience, we certainly need a centre-half as that's the only two we've got out there today, and we need a centre-forward.

"It's going to be tough again next season; some big teams missed out on the play-offs today and the teams coming up will be decent."


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