Derby 3-0 Millwall ~ Match Report

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The woeful score line from the league cup encounter with Wolves was a distant memory as me and MrsB, joined by Del & Lin, saddled up the pony that is the trusty Bonemobile and headed northwards again to see the Lions take on a Derby County side that are looking like early pace setters under the guidance of baby Clough.

No real dramas on the way save for the agonizingly slow service at Toddington for our breakfast. Ye Gods if there were prizes given out for the most annoying, useless, inept, aggravating and let’s not be kind here, pug ugly server of food at a road side establishment then the woman at EDC Toddington would win hands down.

Those of you who travel by car regularly to away games may well have come across this particular harridan. She swans around behind the poor old dear who serves correctly, making faffing an art form. There is no rhyme or reason to her faffing except to stop her from doing what she should be doing and that is serving customers. The queue was snaking back a bit yet all she did was start emptying the contents of the food trays into other empty food trays and just getting in the way of the old girl trying to serve. I guess you had to be there but it was so patently obvious what she was doing but she just ignored everyone and carried on only stopping once in mid faff to tell the lady serving that the tomatoes needed cutting…
I suggest it was her throat that might need this attention…

But, when we finally got to eat I must admit the food was pretty good all things considered…

We left Toddington and headed towards Derby and we arrived in good time and parked in our usual car park and walked to the ground. I like Pride Park. It is a very decent stadium, the people are friendly and even the old bill are not the usual bull headed, bullyboys who are eager to ‘get involved’.

The facilities are excellent and the seats are built for the “fuller” figure as well; Very nice indeed. So we settled down to see what sort of team Mr Jackett was sending out and soon enough the team was called out on the impressive PA system. Forde in goal, Stewart, Ward, Robbo and Dunne at the back, Bouazza, Trotter, Abdou and Feeney in midfield with Simpson and N’Guessen as the strikers.

Just over 500 Millwall fans were sparsely dotted around the cavernous away section as the teams came out but for all the pleasantness of the stadium the home fans still haven’t really got to grips with atmosphere. There were, by all accounts, nearly 25,000 inside but you would never have known it.

Trepidation is an ugly word. But I fear that is what the general feeling was as we watched the boys come out of their huddle, all eyes fixed on Fordey, ready to alert him to the kick off (just in case..) and the words of Prince Rodgers Nelson reverberating around in our heads “it’s been 7 hours and sixteen days, since we scored a goal..” well, OK, it’s been about eight hours of football since we found the back of the net but you get the point, we are in a barren spell and no mistake.

Referee Webster got us going and we were pretty sharp out of the blocks and had Derby on the back foot immediately. Dany N’Guessen knocked the ball back towards Jimmy Abdou who then picked out a lovely ball into the path of Bouazza who pushed on and hit a low shot just past the post.

Moments later it was Simpson providing the telling pass, this time to N’Guessen who thumped a shot that was just about collected at low level by Legdzins, the Rams ‘keeper.

Again the next attack was from the Lions as they penned the home side back in their own half and when Stewart and Simpson created some clever little moves the ball found its way to N’Guessen who drove a stinging shot that shaved the post.

We were about twenty minutes I by now and we were looking good but that bloody elusive goal would not materialise. Forde pulled off a stunning save from erstwhile Millwall front man Theo Robinson and then it was our turn yet again to pile forward searching for the opener.
Feeney dinked his way past a couple of players and found N’Guessen in space but again he was denied by Legzdins who at first fumbled but then retrieved the loose ball.

Minutes later all you budding script writers out there can get ready to fill your boots as Derby broke away on a counter attack that caught us cold and despite the first effort being blocked the rebound was slotted home by Bryson. 1-0. Unbelievable stuff.

The Lions responded well with two quick chances, Simpson spinning around and hitting a first timer that Legzdins saved and then hands on heads time as Bouazza hit a screamer that went narrowly wide with the ‘keeper well beaten.

But then the unbelievable turned to the unpalatable as we watched in abject misery as they did the same number on us as before. Five minutes of the half left and we got caught out down the left side again and this time there was no blocked shot, just a really simple tap in by Hendrick. 2-0 and the heads on some of the lads dropped.

If Forde hadn’t been on his mettle it would’ve been three nil before the break but he pulled off a wonderful one handed save, tipping a goal bound header onto the bar and then Theo Robinson blazed the rebound miles wide.

The half time whistle brought muted responses from the travelling contingent; it didn’t look good at all.

Mr Jackett took off Bouazza and brought on Henry for the second half which seemed a bit strange and it wasn’t too obvious where Henry was meant to be playing as he took up a central role rather than stay out on the right flank but it seemed to be working as we again tested the home sides defensive prowess with some decent enough attacks.
N’Guessen was the busier of the two strikers for the Lions and he had two pretty useful attempts on target that were dealt with in various degrees of competence by Legdzins but after the initial impetus wore off and Simpson had hit a rather tame shot it all became very laboured.

On the hour mark Johnny Marquis stripped off ready to enter the fray but before he could get on complete disaster struck as an innocuous ball from the right flank seemingly by passed the centre of defence and found its way passed Dunne as well and it was a simple task for the un marked Davies who thumped the ball past the stricken and exposed David Forde.

That really put paid to any foolish notions of a come back and Derby knew it. They played the last twenty minutes with no real effort and we looked a beaten side.
Marquis did enter the fray just after the third goal but he was being asked too much to try and retrieve something from this game.

He last kick of the game probably summed up our afternoon as the tireless Dany N’Guessen burst down the right side and hit a low shot that beat the ‘keeper but smacked against the post and went out for a goal kick.

And there you have it. For the record books a heavyish defeat on the road for the Lions but in truth they were never three goals better than us but what they did have was the ability to find the net and until we break this ridiculous hoodoo of not scoring then the rot will set in and seep through our veins like a despicable disease and will infect us all with its nonsensical attributes.

I maintain we are not a poor side. We need a little bit of luck in front of goal and I am sure we will be on our way and thank goodness we have a chance to get some points on the board with a visit to Vicarage road, Watford on Tuesday night and a home game against Burnley next Saturday.

I hope to see more of you there!

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    Nice one fairweather, thanks