Derby County Under-23s picked up a battling point on the road as they drew 0-0 in their Premier League Cup opener against Plymouth Argyle at Home Park.
Argyle proved a difficult test for Derby in a tough evening for both sides, as neither could force the chance to break the deadlock over the 90 minutes.
The first-half was a cagey contest with the Rams enjoying the majority of the possession in Plymouth’s half without posing too much of a danger.
Derby were a whisker away from taking the lead on the ten minute mark as a floated ball into the box found Max Hunt, whose cushioned header fell to Josh Shonibare and his effort was poked against the underside of the crossbar.
The Pilgrims then came close to the opener midway through the half as Luke Jephcott’s cross was fumbled by Josh Barnes which left Alex Fletcher to prod just wide.
Few chances fell the way of either side for the remainder of the first-half to leave the Under-23s locked in a stalemate at half-time.
The tight contest continued into the second-half with both sides struggling to find a foot hold in the game but the Rams almost took the lead through Morgan Whittaker’s effort from the edge of the box, which whistled just past the post.
As the pace of the game intensified slightly in the closing stages added with the introduction of Zaid Al-Hussiani’s trickery Derby looked the more likely to find the elusive goal.
However the Under-23s failed to make a breakthrough and the tie fizzled out into a goalless draw, with the spoils shared heading into the international break.
In their next outing the Rams’ Under-23s travel to Merseyside as they face Liverpool away from home in the Premier League 2 on Sunday, 21st October, kick-off 1pm.
Derby County Under-23s: Barnes; Anya, Karic, Wassall, Hunt; MacDonald (Wise, 65’), Knight; Whittaker, Eyoma, Mitchell-Lawson (Al-Hussiani, 65’); Shonibare (Cresswell, 76’).
Substitutes not used: Yates, Minkley.
Plymouth Argyle Under-23s: Cooper; Hodges, Law, Bentley, Peck; Purrington; Jephcott, Rooney, Sangster, Battle; Fletcher.
Substitutes not used: Randell, Townsend, Goulty, Garside, Lolos.
Words: Andrew Haines