Derby County Under-23s bettered Manchester City 2-0 at Pride Park Stadium to extend their unbeaten run to five games.
Jahmal Hector-Ingram scored his second goal in as many games to give Darren Wassall’s side the lead before Morgan Whittaker continued his fine goalscoring form to ensure the Rams earned all three points in their latest Premier League 2 clash.
The visitors started the match the better side. Chances fell to Jayden Baarf and Adrian Bernabe inside the first 15 minutes. The Derby defence, though, remained resilient as did goalkeeper Matthew Yates, who got down superbly to deny Braaf a clear opportunity and keep the score level.
Then, it was Derby’s turn to come into the game. A couple of long-range efforts from Sibley sandwiched Derby’s best chance of the match which fell to Josh Shonibare. His effort was well saved but still looked to posses enough power to cross the line before Tyreke Wilson hooked it away just before Derby could begin to celebrate.
Real chances were few and far between after that, with neither side managing to break the deadlock before the sound of the halftime whistle.
To start proceedings in the second half, Yates made another smart stop after a venomous freekick from Bernabe called him into action straight away.
Derby took the lead after 10 minutes of action in the second half. Shonibare was at the thick of the action once again after he was brought down inside the area as he looked to pull a shot off. Hector-Ingram helped his teammate up to his feet before he converted the penalty himself to make it two from two for the striker.
The penalty came as a double blow to Man City as they watched their captain Taylor Harwood-Bellis depart the match early after receiving a second yellow card for the late challenge.
Following a cagey rest of the half, Derby sealed the victory in the last minute of the match. Whittaker, once again, showed his strikers instinct – waiting at the back post – to coolly stroke in at the back post. It was the attacker’s third of the season.
The victory means that Derby move up to fourth in the Premier League 2, winning half of their opening six games under Wassall.
Derby County U23s: Yates, Brown, Forsyth, Bird, Minkley, Wassall, Whittaker, Dixon, Hector-Ingram, Sibley, Shonibare
Substitutes: McDonald, Barnes, Babos, Greco, Splatt
Manchester City U23s: Bazunu, Dionkou, Amankwah, Harwood-Bellis, Wilson, Pozo, Knight, Dele Bashiru, Touaizi, Bernabe, Braaf
Substitutes: Ogbeta, Moulden, McDonald, Doyle, Rogers
Words by: Joseph Lightfoot