Derby County Under-23s suffered their first defeat of the season against Leicester City at Pride Park Stadium.
The young Rams had a valiant effort in the second-half to come back from going down by two in the opening 45 minutes but couldn’t find an answer.
Raul Uche Rubio and Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall were the difference for their Foxes with their early goals.
Following two draws and an impressive win against Chelsea last week to open the season, Darren Wassall saw a handful of his regular starters sign deadline day loan deals, giving others a chance to step up against Leicester.
The Rams struggled to match the physicality of the Foxes from the opening whistle, and after three minutes found themselves down by a goal. Uche Rubio, next to the back post, tapped in a deflected Leicester corner to grab an early lead.
Derby needed to find an answer to the visitors’ attack quickly, which they seemingly did as they began to take control of the game. Youngster Louie Sibley didn’t shy away from throwing himself around in the midfield and looked strong against the older competition.
As did Cameron Cresswell, who was caught in a bad collision with Callum Elder 15 minutes in to the game and both needed treatment on the pitch. Fortunately, both players were able to continue.
The Foxes saw their lead double thanks Dewsbury-Hall who powered a shot across the goal that hit Joe Bateman on its way past Josh Barnes.
The Rams saw out the first-half down by two, despite the efforts of Jayden Mitchell-Lawson who broke in the box only to be denied by Leicester’s back-line that had been rigid.
Wassall’s side came out fighting in the second-half and good team play saw them spending more time in the final third.
Kyle McAllister, who came off the bench to start the second half, and George Thorne did well to work out an opening, however it was eventually cleared.
The relentless Rams remained looking for a way back into the game and 20 minutes in, Sibley brushed off pressure as he made a speedy break before firing from range, but his effort was just over.
Back at the other end, Leicester found a rare second-half chance when Calvin Ughelumba was free to take aim, but Barnes read him well and batted away his effort.
Derby continued to push for a goal, and it was Cresswell’s turn to ask moments later. He found himself surrounded in the left of the area but managed to cut in to take a shot from a tight angle that was deflected just wide.
Foxes substitute Ryan Loft attempted to triple the lead moments before the final whistle, calling Barnes in to action to make a strong save, before Thorne saw his second strike from range saved by Viktor Johansson.
Leicester had one last ditch effort to extend their lead when Layton Ndukwu had a powerful effort from close range denied with a quick instinctive reaction by the Rams’ ‘keeper to keep the score 0-2.
The Rams will be back in action again following the international break to face Everton on Monday 17th September, kick-off: 7pm.
Wassall’s side will then travel to the Academy Stadium in a Premier League 2 Division 1 clash against Manchester City on Saturday 22nd September, kcik-off: 1pm.
Derby County: Barnes; Bateman, Wassall, Macdonald; Eyoma, Bird (C), Thorne, Sibley, Karic (McAllister, 46); Mitchell-Lawson (Shonibare, 71); Cresswell
Unused Substitutes: Yates, Hunt, Wise,
Leicester City: Johansson; Simpson (Shade, 76), Knight, Choudhury, Johnson; Kaba Sherif, Diabate, Elder (Ughelumba, 46), Dewsbury-Hall; Ndukwu, Uche Rubio (Loft, 58)
Unused Substitutes: Davies, Leshabela,