Full-time: Hughes strike in vain as Rams lose 2-1 at Millwall
WILL Hughes celebrated his England Under-21 call-up with his second goal of the season but it was not enough to save Derby County from a 2-1 defeat at in-form Millwall.
Hughes' 53rd-minute strike cancelled out Liam Feeney's controversial first-half opener.
But Andy Keogh hit the winner in the 76th minute to deny the Rams a share of the spoils, while extending the Lions' unbeaten run to nine games.
Derby boss Nigel Clough named the same starting line-up for the third match in a row, following back-to-back home wins.
The Rams' top scorer, seven-goal Theo Robinson, faced his former club.
Forward Jamie Ward (hamstring) and goalkeeper Frank Fielding (groin) are still sidelined.
Millwall were without striker Darius Henderson and midfielder James Henry, who picked up hamstring injuries in the midweek goalless draw at Watford.
The home side were first to pose a threat as Adam Legzdins had to beat away a firm drive from Liam Trotter in the third minute.
Six minutes later, Andy Keogh flashed a dangerous ball across the face of goal, just evading strike partner Chris Wood in the middle.
A similar delivery from the right from Jimmy Abdou needed some smart work from Richard Keogh to avoid putting it through his own net.
Wood's low shot from outside the area was well held by Legzdins and the New Zealand international then powered a header just over from Feeney's corner.
The deadlock was broken just after the half-hour.
Wood played in full-back Shane Lowry on the left, causing the linesman on the far side to raise his flag for offside.
Play continued and Lowry's cross was met at the far post by Feeney, who gave Legzdins no chance with a shot high into the net.
Referee Darren Drysdale, a late replacement for Graham Salisbury, initially disallowed the goal but, after consulting his assistant, he changed his mind and the Rams were behind.
Chris Taylor just failed to get on the end of Andy Keogh's chip into the box as Millwall pushed for a second.
Derby, visibly frustrated by events, were struggling to create much themselves, although Paul Coutts felt he should have had a penalty when he went down under the challenge of Lowry.
The Rams' first shot in anger came in the third minute of added time at the end of the half, Richard Keogh firing over from distance.
Millwall began the second half brightly and Lowry headed over from Feeney's corner to the near post.
However, after Conor Sammon fired a warning shot which just cleared the bar, the visitors equalised.
Clough had changed to a 4-5-1 formation shortly after they conceded, allowing Hughes to operate in a central role.
And it appeared to pay off as the teenager drifted forward to receive Jeff Hendrick's pass and send a swerving 20-yard shot past David Forde, who got a hand to the ball but could not keep it out,
Millwall almost regained their lead in the 64th minute.
Andy Keogh released Wood, who turned inside Jimmy O'Connor and, with Legzdins out to narrow the angle, his low shot was cleared off the line by Richard Keogh.
The danger had not gone, though, and moments later, Wood turned a cross from substitute Scott Malone narrowly wide.
The home side were back in front in the 76th minute with a goal Derby will feel was avoidable.
Craig Bryson tried to shepherd the ball out of play following a corner but Malone managed to divert it back to Andy Keogh, who found the far corner from an angle.
Clough replaced the tiring Sammon with Michael Jacobs and the winger went close in the 87th minute.
His swerving effort was kept out by the legs of Forde and Robinson went down under the challenge of Danny Shittu as he went for the loose ball.
No penalty was given and the Derby striker was booked to add insult to injury.
Wood had a goal disallowed for a foul on Jacobs, who then forced Forde into another awkward save from distance with time running out.
MILLWALL: Forde, A Smith, Shittu, Beevers, Lowry, Feeney, Abdou, Trotter, C Taylor (Malone, 45+2), A Keogh, Wood. Other subs: M Taylor (gk), J Smith, Osborne, N'Guessan, Batt, Wright.
DERBY COUNTY: Legzdins, Brayford, R Keogh, O'Connor, Roberts, Coutts, Hendrick, Bryson, Hughes, Robinson, Sammon (Jacobs, 81). Other subs: Deeney (gk), O'Brien, Buxton, Freeman, Davies, Tyson.
REFEREE: D Drysdale (Lincolnshire).
ATTENDANCE: 10,392 (661 away fans).