Derby County Under-18s secured their sixth consecutive Premier League – North victory with a 2-1 win over Newcastle United at the Training Centre in partnership with University of Derby.
A brace by Morgan Whittaker moved his goal tally to 15 in 21 appearances for Justin Walker’s side this season to help secure all three points for the young Rams.
The victory keeps Derby firmly in the mix at the top of the table sitting second, just three points behind leaders Liverpool with a game in hand over each of the other teams in the top-five.
Elliott Anderson scored for the visitors with his goal coming just before the break and either side of Whittaker’s goals.
The Rams made a strong start with Jason Knight striking a volley on the bounce to force a save from the Magpies’ ‘keeper in the opening stages.
Soon after Derby found their opening goal as they applied the pressure on Newcastle. The visitors weren’t able to fully clear a cross into the box by Tyree Wilson and the ball fell to Whittaker who struck on his first touch into the net.
Knight tried his luck from range again looking to double the Rams’ lead but again a strong save by Newcastle’s goalkeeper denied him.
The Magpies drew level minutes before the break when Anderson broke into the area and put his low right-footed shot past Sam French.
The Rams continued on the front-foot to begin the second-half and two minutes into the restart they were ahead again. Wilson flung a cross in from the left which the Rams’ forward rushed into meet and send his powerful header past the keeper.
Whittaker looked to make it a hat-trick late on when he curled an effort from 25-yards out that whistled just above the top right corner, however his brace was enough to secure all three points for the Rams to set up a battle of the top-two next weekend.
Derby will host Liverpool on Saturday 9th March hoping to knock the Reds from the top spot with seven league games remaining.