Turner’s clever lob shortly before the hour mark sealed the victory at Christchurch Meadow, but the Rams were left ruing their missed opportunities, as former Notts County midfielder Ben Davies sent an 86th minute penalty high and wide.
Although the Rams’ starting XI included first-team senior players Saul Deeney, Tom Naylor, James Bailey, Conor Doyle and Davies, the line-up was predominantly made up of the younger Academy and development prospects.
Left-back Michael Hoganson made his first appearance for the Rams since agreeing terms on a one-year deal with the Club this morning, following his release from Premier League side Newcastle United.
Elsewhere, Valentin Gjokaj started at the heart of the Rams’ defence after missing the side’s last two pre-season friendlies, whilst fellow trialist Danny Barrera, who is currently playing in the North American Soccer League with the Atlanta Silverbacks, started in the centre of midfield alongside Bailey.
It was almost the worst possible start for the Rams, as inside the opening minute Karl Connolly’s looping header was tipped onto the post by Deeney, before Bailey hacked the loose ball off the line and away to safety.
Moments later, Belper had two further opportunities to take the lead, as the unmarked Ben Leonard watched his close-range header drift harmlessly over the crossbar, before captain Colin Marrison stabbed an effort over at the near post.
However, the Rams began to get into their stride and started to control large spells of possession, and it did not take long for Nigel Clough’s men to forge chances of their own.
And 23 minutes in, Academy striker Mason Bennett picked the ball up just inside the home side’s half and set off on a lung-busting run into the Belper penalty area. The 16-year-old held off the advances of two Belper defenders before seeing his left-footed effort palmed behind by goalkeeper Aaron Chapman.
Eight minutes later it was that man Bennett again who was causing the home side plenty of problems, this time he connected with Davies’ cross, but his header from 10-yards out flashed narrowly wide of goal.
In the second-half, the Rams’ supporters may have thought it was going to be ‘third time lucky’ for Bennett, as he wriggled past Colley in the penalty area, however once again, the young forward was denied by an excellent reflex save from ‘keeper Chapman.
The Rams continued to press, and on 50 minutes Clough’s side came even closer to breaking the deadlock, when American forward Conor Doyle crashed a 12-yard effort onto the crossbar.
Despite the Rams’ dominance in possession, it was the home side who made the breakthrough in front of goal, as Turner latched on to a long ball over the Derby back-four and expertly lobbed Deeney from just inside the penalty area.
The Rams may have felt slightly hard done by not to come away with a draw, especially when Doyle converted Bailey’s low cross-come-shot, only to see his effort ruled out for offside.
With the full-time whistle looming, the lively Bennett went down in the penalty area following a tangle of legs with defender Greg Wright. Referee Nigel Smith pointed to the spot and gave the Rams a golden opportunity to level the score-line with four minutes remaining; however Davies blazed the resulting penalty high and wide.
Derby County: Deeney (GK) (Morch 72); Naylor (Witham 45), Gjokaj, Galinski (Adams 65), Hoganson; Richards, Bailey, Barrera, Davies; Doyle, Bennett.