Rotherham United were cruelly beaten at Derby County as they had their first taste of life in the Championship.
Jeff Hendrick produced a lovely finish in the 82nd minute to give the Rams victory, but the Millers gave their all and were a match for last season’s Championship Play-off Final losers in the second half.
The brave visitors rallied to produce their usual grandstand finish, with Paul Green and Kieran Agard going agonisingly close to a late, deserved equaliser.
Lee Camp produced a stuuning save to keep out Green’s header and Agard’s effort seconds late was desperately cleared as it was about to cross the line.
Before the break, the Millers had kept their discipline as a classy Derby side pushed and probed.
Adam Collin pulled off wonderful saves to deny Simon Dawkins and Johnny Russell, but Rotherham weren’t without a threat of their own.
Agard’s shot from close in was blocked and Kari Arnason’s flashing header from a Ben Pringle corner was cleared off the line.
County looked dangerous whenever they went forward but Arnason’s long throws were causing them concern at the back.
Rotherham grew into the game and the second half was an even affair settled by a moment of real Championship quality.
Rotherham United (4-4-2): Collin, Broadfoot, Morgan, Arnason, Skarz, Agard, Frecklington, Green, Pringle, Revell (Bowery 57), Derbyshire (Swift 69). Subs: Loach, Brindley, Wood, Hall, Tidser.
Derby County (4-3-3): Grant, Christie, Forsyth, Bryson, Buxton, Keogh, Dawkins (78), Hendrick, Martin, Russell (Ward 63), Hughes (Mascarell 52). Subs: Roos, Eustace, Whitbread, Salmon.
Referee: Andy D’Urso (Essex).