Derby's royal figure given muted salute by Millwall

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The Independent Football

There were no banners, no tunes but, perhaps, a handful more fans. Still just 433 Derby County supporters were in attendance for the club's first match since the death of Brian Clough. The tributes will come this Saturday, at home, to Wigan Athletic - and clearly not on a cool, ill-tempered midweek evening in south-east London.

There were no banners, no tunes but, perhaps, a handful more fans. Still just 433 Derby County supporters were in attendance for the club's first match since the death of Brian Clough. The tributes will come this Saturday, at home, to Wigan Athletic - and clearly not on a cool, ill-tempered midweek evening in south-east London.

There were black armbands and a minute's silence which was observed. Even the trains on the overlooking London Bridge line were unobtrusive for a moment. As the seconds ticked, one lone fan stood with his scarf raised above his head. An image from the Seventies.

But it did little to rally Derby. They may wear the same white shirts but this is a poor side. When Clough joined in 1967 they were languishing in this division. He did not leave them in the same state and the club has struggled to honour his legacy. This defeat - with Millwall rising eight places to 10th - leaves Derby in 13th.

They take great comfort in Derby that they may have lost Clough as manager - and he went on to achieve even greater things with Nottingham Forest - but he still chose to live, and die, there. It was in Derby City General hospital that he passed away. "He was regarded as royalty," Derby fan Martin Burley said last night.

Indeed he was. They still marvel not just about the astonishing achievements but of the fierce pride. When, in 1971, talk was of the Rolls-Royce factory closing, and local hardship, Clough went out and bought Colin Todd for a British record fee.

Clough would have liked the mix of experience and youth in Derby's present squad but George Burley's work has been through necessity not design at a club mired in debt and expectation. And one of those youngsters, the highly-rated 20-year-old goalkeeper Lee Camp, was severely embarrassed after just 103 seconds by the oldest player on the pitch. Millwall's Dennis Wise scored his second free-kick of the week, bending his shot inside the near post after shaping for a cross.

Typically, Wise was involved later in an off-the-ball dispute which led to Derby striker Junior falling to the turf. A still incensed Junior was withdrawn at half-time. Two minutes after it and Josh Simpson added a second for Millwall - shooting low across Camp - before, 80 seconds later, Marco Reich pulled one back with a fierce low drive.

It finally brought some urgency to Derby's play. But that came to a halt with the dismissal of Jamie Vincent for a foul and a second caution. Paul Ifill added a third.

Millwall (4-3-3): Stack; Muscat, Ward, Lawrence, Simpson; Elliott, Wise, Livermore; Ifill, Cogan (McCammon, 87), Harris. Substitutes not used: Marshall (gk), Moore, Sweeney. Dunne.

Derby County (4-3-3): Camp; Kenna, Johnson (Bolder, 33), Konjic, Vincent; Idiakez, Huddlestone, Taylor; Smith, Junior (Holmes, h-t), Reich. Substitutes not used: Grant (gk), Peschisolido, Mills.

Referee: T Leake (Lancashire).

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