Derby starlet Louie Sibley stole the show with a dominating performance as his hat-trick saw Millwall lose their first game back after lockdown.

The 18-year-old ran the show as Millwall struggled to contain Derby’s midfield. Millwall will have wanted to start their promotion push with three points, but it wasn’t to be.

After a long three months, Millwall returned to an empty Den, surrounded by banners, NHS tributes and cardboard fans.
On the pitch, there was a familiar line up. Ryan Leonard replacing an illegible Mason Bennett was the only change from Millwall’s away win at Forest back in March (Remember that?).

After a minute’s applause for key workers, and the players taking a knee in solidarity of the Black Lives Matter campaign, play was under way, with the faint backing track of the monk’s chant.
After a cagey opening in which both teams found their rhythm, Millwall took the lead through a Matt Smith header on 15 minutes.

Hitting Derby on the counter, the ball came to Shane Ferguson after some good link up play between Jed and Murray Wallace.

The Northern Irishman’s delivery was on a plate for Smith, who followed up his hattrick in Millwall’s last outing.

There were no signs of rustiness from the players as the action kept coming.

Derby pressed for an equaliser, Martyn Waghorn putting a free kick just over the bar from the left side of the box.

Derby must have had something in the water, because shortly after the first scheduled drinks break, they were level.

Young hotshot Louie Sibley worked his way into the box with some clever footwork,
before finishing into the top corner past a helpless Bartosz Bialkowski in the 26 th minute.

Sibley was nearly in again after a switch of play brought him some space to get a shot away.

Bialkowski resumed normal service by reacting well and getting a strong hand to it.

Despite the away side dominating the ball throughout the first half, it was Millwall who started the second half brighter.

The end to end nature of the first half continued, with both sides creating half chances. Goal scorers Smith and Sibley both going close for their teams.

The game began to fall flat around the hour mark, both sides losing a bit of energy as Derby started to get back on top.
On 70 minutes, Derby took the lead.

Martyn Waghorn finding space on the edge of the box to play in Sibley, who doubled his tally.

The youngster had been causing Millwall problems all day and finished with ease.

There were few signs of a comeback from Millwall, as the spate of substitutions disrupted the flow of the game.

Niggly fouls and tired legs began to make their impact on the game, as both sides played out the final stages.

The result was confirmed on 89 minutes, when Louie Sibley completed his hattrick with a scuffed finish at the end of a Derby break.

Bodvarsson, off the bench, managed to pull one back in stoppage time, but it was a case of too little too late for Millwall.

Rowett will be disappointed that his side couldn’t hold onto their early lead.

Three points would have seen Millwall move into the play-off spots before their rivals kick-off later in the day.

It was, however, too easy for Derby at times, who dominated the ball and played through Millwall’s midfield far too easily.

With a trip to relegation threatened Barnsley next weekend, Rowett will want to see much more energy and fight from his side if play-offs are to remain in sight.
Bialkowski; Romeo, Hutchinson, Cooper, M. Wallace (Mahoney 80); Molumby, Woods (Williamm 86); J. Wallace (Skalak 80), Leonard (Bradshaw 73), Ferguson; Smith (Bodvarsson 73).
Subs: Steele, Brown, Muller, Mitchell.
Derby County: Hamer; Bogle (Davies 75), Wisdom, Clarke, Forsyth; Bird (Evans 84), Rooney (Martin 84); Holmes (Knight 62), Sibley, Lawrence; Waghorn (Shinnie 75).
Subs: Roos, Jozefzoon, Lowe, Whittaker.