Derby County Under-23s suffered a 5-1 defeat to Swansea City at Loughborough University stadium to begin 2019.
The young Rams were back in action in Premier League 2 Division 1 after a break from fixtures over the festive season. However, braces from Botti Biabi and Liam Cullen as well as an own goal sealed all three points for the Swans who are fighting at the bottom of the league.
Jayden Mitchell-Lawson levelled the score for the Rams in the first-half for his second goal of the season.
Darren Wassall’s starting line-up included five under-18s players and the young Rams began the opening half fairly evenly with the visitors. Both sides made good runs forward but failed to create much in the final third.
The Swans broke the deadlock after 15 minutes and it was Biabi whose powerful headed from close range found the back of the net off the corner.
Moments later, Louie Sibley forced a strong save from Steven Benda to be denied a quick equaliser. The young midfielder found space inside the box and hurled a rocket towards goal that was tipped over. Centre-back Callum Minkley then almost connected with the resulting corner at the far post.
It was Mitchell-Lawson who got the Rams’ first goal of 2019 and levelled the score. After collecting the ball from Swansea, the forward charged ahead to go one-on-one with the Swans ‘keeper and confidently rifled past Benda.
With ten minutes to play in the half, Swansea went ahead again. After initially heading away a free kick, Jordan Brown headed in the strong cross from Jordan Garrick that came back over.
Jason Knight tried his luck with a half-volley from range to begin the second-half, causing Benda to dive and palm his effort away. However, it was the Swans to find the goal again to start the half and it was a hat-trick for Biabi.
The forward latched on to a quick throw-in by Liam Cullen to beat his man and fire past Jonathan Mitchell into the bottom right corner.
Cullen then grabbed the fourth goal for the Swans after a great save from Mitchell to keep out a shot by Garrick landed straight to his feet. Cullen got his brace with just over ten minutes left to play when he beat Mitchell on his second attempt.
Derby County: Mitchell; Brown (Shonibare, 65), Hunt (C), Minkley, Karic; Knight (Whittaker, 80), Sibley, Wilson; Mitchell-Lawson, Cresswell, McAllister (Dixon, 45)
Unused Subs: Barnes, McDonald,
Swansea City: Benda; Reid, Pavlet, Lewis, Blake; Davies, King, Evans; Garrick (Price, 86), Baibi, Cullen
Unused Subs: Cooper, Zabret, De Boer, Withers