Derby County Under-23s fell to a 1-0 defeat to Manchester City at the Training Centre in partnership with the University of Derby.
The defeat ended the young Rams’ five-game winning streak in the Premier League 2 Division 1, however, Darren Wassall’s side remains at the top of the table.
Ian Carlo Poveda-Ocampo provided the only goal when he slotted home in the second-half and despite a spirited reaction from Derby, they couldn’t find an answer.
It was a tight first-half as both sides battled the elements in a windy night at the Training Centre. The visitors went on the attack first on the ten-minute mark as Ian Carlo Poveda-Ocampo capitalised on a defensive error and ran clear only to fire into the side netting.
Minutes later and it was the Rams’ turn to turn on the attack. Jacob Butterfield flung in a free-kick to Sven Karic at the back post who connected well, but his effort rolled just wide.
The tempo remained high but neither side were able to carve out a real chance again until 30 minutes into the half. Rabbi Matondo sprinted down the right as City made a break from a Derby corner. But the pacey wideman fired wide of the target.
Max Hunt made an excellent block to keep out a shot from close range, moments before Josh Barnes grabbed a swooping corner kick that was helped along by the wind.
City had a missed opportunity ten minutes into the second-half after they hit Derby one the counter-attack. Alpha Diounkou worked down the right before squaring to an open Poveda-Ocampo who, from close-range, shot wide.
The visitor’s Number. 9 made no mistake minutes later, however, in an almost identical play. Matondo again showed his speed down the right and sent a low cross to Poveda-Ocampo who slotted past Barnes.
Louie Sibley, who started the match at left-back rather than his usual midfield role, came close to finding an equaliser soon after but the youngster fired over from outside the box after a great run down the centre of the pitch.
Motondo then looked to turn from provider to scorer with 20 minutes left as he weaved his way down the right of the box, but his close-range shot was cancelled out by an excellent save by the Rams’ keeper to keep Derby in the game.
Sibley again pushed forward, looking the biggest threat for the Rams as he got on the end of a cross by Cameron Cresswell but Tom Scott saved from close-range. Scott was almost caught out by George Thorne moments later when his touch from a back pass was too strong to allow Thorne to rush in and get his body in the way of the keeper’s clearance. His deflection bounced just wide.
With ten minutes remaining Thorne drew a good save by Scott when the Rams midfielder fired in a free-kick from a good position on the edge of the box.
With the final whistle looming, Barnes made a superb save to again keep out Matondo before Derby substitute Jason Knight couldn’t get his head to a corner at the back post. The youngster then came close again to the equaliser when Butterfield supplied him the ball but Knight fired wide.
Derby County: Barnes; Karic, Wassall, Hunt, Sibley; Evans (Knight, 82), Thorne, Butterfield; Mitchell-Lawson, Cresswell, McAllister (Brown, 72)
Unused Subs: Yates, Eyoma, Shonibare
Manchester City: Scott; Diounkou, Rosler, Humphreys (C) (Harwood-Bellis, 46), Ogbeta, Gomes, Garre (Bolton, 67), Dele-Bashiru, Poveda, Nmecha, Matondo
Unused Subs: Moulden, Frimpong, Bernabe