Derby County Under-18s had to come from two goals down to record a fourth straight pre-season win as they beat Loughborough University 4-3.
Goals from Jack Stretton, Kornell McDonald and a brace from Eno Nto helped keep Derby’s 100% pre-season record intact.
For the second successive game the young Rams found themselves down a goal early, as Loughborough took the advantage inside 15 minutes. A corner fell kindly to the edge of the Derby box and was emphatically fired into the net.
Derby missed two golden chances early on as Archie Brown twice fizzed the ball across the six yard box, but both Stretton and Nto failed to convert.
Things got worse as Loughborough doubled their lead after 23 minutes, following some nice football. The Loughborough winger played a smart one-two and found space to cut the ball back for his teammate to smash home.
Play briefly stopped to allow the players a drink as they battled against 36 degree heat. Derby pulled one back immediately following the restart, Nto sidestepped his man and slotted the ball into the corner.
Derby got into their rhythm late in the first half as Nto and Brown were able to run at Loughborough’s back three. The latter did exactly that as he fed Stretton who calmly finished to put Derby back on level terms.
However, it did not stay level for long. With one minute to go in the first half, Nto picked the ball up and fired into the bottom corner to give Derby the lead for the first time.
Derby continued to create openings in the second half but both teams struggled to maintain the tempo in the heat. Stretton saw two attempts saved after skilfully beating his man.
Brown got his second assist of the game when he played the ball into the path of McDonald who remained composed to finish the job.
Loughborough scored a late consolation as a scramble in the area fell kindly to the attacker who managed to poke the ball past Harry Halwax. But Derby managed to see out the rest of the game to continue their winning run in pre-season.
After another great performance and win for Derby their pre-season is drawing to a close.
The new season has almost arrived and so far, Derby have performed excellently, maintaining a 100% winning record in their first four friendlies. There is just one game remaining in their pre-season schedule. Next Tuesday afternoon, the young Rams will be hosting Norwich at Moor Farm in a behind closed doors friendly.
It will be Justin Walker’s last opportunity to assess his squad before the Under-18 Premier League North campaign begins. He will be hoping that his players continue their preparation and keep their winning streak going into the new season. The first game of the Under-18 Premier League North is due to be on Saturday 10th August.