Derby County Under-18s fell to a 1-0 defeat against Under-18 Premier League - North leaders Manchester City on Saturday afternoon.
The winner came ten minutes after the interval when City captain Cole Palmer confidently slotted home from the spot after Charlie Rutt brought down Oscar Bobb in the area.
The Rams struggled to create any clear-cut opportunities after falling behind, losing for just the second time in 11 matches.
Eventual victors City were on top from the off and had two fantastic opportunities to take the lead within the opening 15 minutes.
First, ex-Derby youngster Liam Delap fired over via a deflection after a loose ball fell his way in the box. Moments later, Palmer suffered a similar fate as he smashed over from 12 yards with the goal gaping.
The Rams then took control of proceedings, causing City’s backline a plethora of problems as the half-time whistle approached.
Osazee Aghatise was at the heart of much of Derby’s attacking play, almost giving his side the lead on the half-hour mark.
The midfielder beat a couple of defenders before forcing James Trafford into a strong save low to his right.
Jaden Charles was next to come close as his curling free-kick dipped onto the top of the crossbar.
Despite their dominance before the break, Justin Walker’s side fell behind ten minutes into the second period.
Bobb burst into the area before being clipped by the sliding Rutt. Palmer then stepped up to place coolly past Halwax from 12 yards out and give City the advantage.
Derby found it difficult to break through the league leaders’ defence with almost 20 minutes passing before they carved out a goalscoring opportunity.
Archie Brown won the ball down the left before picking out Festy Ebosele who, on his weaker foot, struck narrowly wide of the target.
Wideman Bobb then came close to adding a second for City when he struck the post late on.
The defeat ends the Young Rams’ three-match winning run in the Premier League – North.
Derby County: Halwax, Ebosele, Charles, Thompson (c), Rutt, Cashin, Wilson, Aghatise (Bardell 66’), Cybulski (Rogers 82’), Sibley, Brown
Unused subs: Foster-Theniger, Matthews, Williams
WHAT’S TO COME…
The Under-18s are back in action on Wednesday 4th December (kick-off: 7pm) as they host Everton in a testing FA Youth Cup Third Round tie at Pride Park.
The Toffees currently sit fourth in the Premier League – North, three points above seventh-placed Derby and were 2-1 victors in the sides’ most recent meeting in August.
Walker’s Young Rams will be hoping to begin a cup run as they look to better last season’s Fifth Round exit.
THE NEXT FIVE…
Everton (H) – Wednesday 04 December (kick-off: 7pm)
Liverpool (H) – Saturday 07 December (kick-off: 12pm)
West Bromwich Albion (A) – Saturday 11 January (kick-off: 11pm)
Middlesbrough (A) – Saturday 18 January (kick-off: 1pm)
Newcastle United (H) – Saturday 01 February (kick-off: 1pm)
Words by: Jack Hasler