Millwall took advantage of Derby County's current misfortunes to give themselves a much needed boost and add to John Gregory's increasing troubles.
A Neil Harris brace followed Denis Wise's first for the club to give the Lions an ultimately comfortable win over a desperately depleted Derby side.
Mark McGhee's tenure as Millwall manager has been brought into question after his side's slow start to the season, but it is his opposite number Gregory whose own position now appears the more precarious.
The lacklustre nature of the Rams performance does not bode well and in an instantly forgettable first 40 minutes the nervousness of both sides showed in an unwillingness to over commit.
With points at a premium the priority appeared to be not to make a mistake that could the difference between winning and losing.
Play became bogged down in a stop start midfield battle and neither keeper was troubled until three minutes from the break when neat work from winger Paul Ifill found Wise in splendid isolation and the midfielder opened the scoring with a fine drive across Mart Poom into the bottom corner.
Harris almost doubled the advantage with a cross cum shot that floated narrowly over on the stroke of half time.
But eight minutes into the second half Millwall were thankful for keeper Tony Warner who kept out Lewis Hunt's point-blank effort to preserve the lead.
From then on there was only one side in it, as the Lions belatedly took control.
Poom denied Harris and Steve Claridge with smart stops at the foot of either post, and then took centre stage as his fingertip tap tackle sent Harris tumbling in the area.
The predictable red card that followed saw substitute keeper Lee Grant sent the wrong way from Harris' resultant penalty.
And in time added on the striker was on hand to nod home a simple third after Claridge's shot had come back from the woodwork.
This may have been Derby's first defeat in five, but too many more sub-standard showings