Championship Analysis – Millwall hit rock bottom after thrashing by Derby

Millwall returned to the bottom of the Championship after suffering a 5-1 defeat to Derby at the New Den. It was the club’s third consecutive league defeat on home turf and the Lions remain winless under Steve Lomas, who has already become a target of abuse from a section of the home fans.

In fairness to Lomas, it was never going to be easy to instantly win over the New Den faithful, having taken over from the popular Kenny Jackett, who spent nearly six years at the club – an unusual feat in the modern-day pressure cooker world of football management. In addition, Millwall’s abysmal home form is nothing new; the Lions have only won twice in 12 attempts since the turn of the year.

It’s a stat that hasn’t gone unnoticed by Lomas, who referenced it in his post-match interview, but equally he wasn’t prepared to hide behind it.

You are always worried about your job. When you are not winning football matches, it goes without saying that you’re under pressure. I’m not deluded enough to think that’s not going to be the case. I’m the manager, the buck stops with me. I’m not shirking my responsibility. If I was a fan today paying for that, I wouldn’t be happy,” he said.

To compound the bad day at the office on the field, one fan off it managed to escape the stand and take out his frustration on Derby manager Nigel Clough, whom he pushed over in the technical area.

Derby’s win maintained their 100% record away from Pride Park, but their home form is only marginally better than that of Millwall – just one point from three games – and as such it has left the Rams playing catch-up in 7th spot, albeit, of course, still at a very early stage.

Millwall’s next test couldn’t be tougher – they welcome leaders Blackpool on Tuesday night. Technically speaking Derby’s next game couldn’t be easier as they travel to second-bottom Bolton, although many consider the Trotters to be in a false position.

Nevertheless, results speak for themselves and, after beginning the season with two draws, Dougie Freedman’s side have since suffered four straight defeats, the latest to Leeds, who climbed into the play-off zone. Before Saturday the same slump was true for Yeovil but Gary Johnson’s side stopped the rot with a 1-1 draw at Sheffield Wednesday, who, along with Millwall and Bolton, have yet to win a game.

At the other end, Blackpool remain top on goal difference after grinding out a 2-1 win at Bournemouth, whose defeat was their first at home this season. The victory for Paul Ince’s men was somewhat soured, however, by Ince’s dismissal after a bottle he threw to the ground in frustration following a missed chance for his team ricocheted into the crowd and struck a fan on the leg. He instantly apologised but was sent to the stands.

QPR kept pace with Blackpool after a 1-0 win, their fourth victory on the trot, over a Birmingham side who only hover above teams in the relegation zone on goal difference. Barnsley are one of those; they were edged out by Nottingham Forest, who climbed back up to third. In Sunday’s action, what looked like being an entertaining encounter on paper between Reading and Brighton turned out to be a damp squib of a goalless draw.

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