Derby County 2 Millwall 0

Last updated : 01 May 2004 By Footymad Previewer

Derby County ensured that they would be playing first division football next season with a comfortable victory over FA Cup finalists Millwall.

Captain Ian Taylor missed an early penalty - but it didn't matter as midfielders Adam Bolder and Marco Reich fired the Rams to safety with a brilliant goal each.

It was the Rams' eighth home win in 11 matches since the turn of the year and completed a remarkable transformation for a team who looked relegation certainties at Christmas.

George Burley's men went into the evening kick-off knowing three points would see them safe following Walsall's defeat at Crystal Palace earlier in the day.

And on 18 minutes skipper Taylor was given the perfect opportunity to set the ball rolling after Robbie Ryan was harshly adjudged to have shoved Marcus Tudgay in the box.

But Millwall stopper Andy Marshall dived to his right to deny the veteran midfielder and keep the scores level.

It was the first time top scorer Taylor had missed from the spot this season after six previous successful attempts.

However five minutes before half time, Bolder spared his captain's blushes with a fine strike from the edge of the area.

The youngster robbed Charlie Hearn 25 yards out and lashed a superb half-volley past Marshall and into the bottom corner.

Manel had a chance to double the Rams' lead nine minutes after the break when he latched onto a poor back header but the striker's first-time effort was kept out by the legs of Marshall.

At the other end, Millwall were rarely threatening and with 18 minutes to go Reich ensured Derby's division one status with a second goal.

The German curled a magnificent 25-yard free-kick over the Lions wall and past Marshall to seal the win and start a massive party.