Derby earn first Premiership victory

LONDON (AFP) - Kenny Miller scored the only goal of the game to earn Derby their first Premiership win of the season on Monday to put Newcastle's Euro 2008 qualifying star Michael Owen out of the spotlight.

Miller's 39th minute goal, from fully 33 meters, meant Derby had their first win in six matches to lift them off the bottom of the table ahead of Bolton.

And striker Owen, who scored three times in England's recent 3-0 victories at Wembley -- against Israel and Russia -- this time could not find the net.

Miller's goal was a classy one as he looked up to find Magpies goalkeeper Steve Harper off his line before sending a fierce shot into the roof of the net.

It was the perfect reply from a Rams side who were all-but written off after their 6-0 demolition by Liverpool last time out, as they silenced Newcastle.

The home side got off to a positive start, Howard lining up a shot and seeing his effort pushed out for a corner after just 30 seconds.

Gary Teale's inswinging corner then picked out the former Luton forward in a good position but he headed high and wide.

Tyrone Mears forced Steve Harper into a save in the 10th minute, cutting inside David Rozehnal and firing hard and low at the United stopper who parried at the first attempt.

Geremi hit a fine free-kick as the game continued to open up but it was Derby, and Miller, who broke the deadlock.

The 27-year-old was way outside the box when he spotted Harper out of his goal and took an instant to release a volley over the goalkeeper.

Miller started the second half brightly and earned a corner from Rozehnal just two minutes after the restart.

Sam Allardyce took off Michael Owen, unable to repeat his England heroics against the basement club, for Martins after 55 minutes as United desperately sought a cutting edge but it was not to be.

The hosts continued to make the most of their possession but, with 22 minutes remaining, Howard was beginning to frustrate with his accuracy.

His best chance of the match found him climbing highest six metres from goal but he missed once more with the full net to aim at.

A clumsy tackle from last man Nicky Butt looked to have denied Derby a scoring opportunity following a superb ball from Andy Griffin and he was lucky to get away with a caution.

Teale produced a pinpoint cross with nine minutes remaining but again Howard's finishing let him down as his diving header flashed wide with Harper static.

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