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Derby Under-18’s suffered a first defeat in three games in the Premier League – North after a disappointing 3-1 loss at home to Newcastle.

The Rams started the game well and went into the break level, Jaden Charles’ sublime free-kick that rivalled that of Wayne Rooney from the night before, brought the Rams level after Kain Reed’s opener. However, the second half saw the visitor’s score twice through Reed once again before Dylan Stephenson rounded off the scoring.

The Rams had chances to go into the break in the lead but failed to put some clear-cut opportunities away.

Just three minutes in, the young Rams threatened. Archie Brown made a bursting run down the left-hand-side, pulling the ball back to Jack Rogers, just a few yards from goal but the forward was unable to steer his effort on target.

Walker’s side began to turn up the heat. Kaide Gordon, brother of former academy Ram Kellan Gordon, latched onto a mistake from the Newcastle back-line. The first shot from Gordon was well matched by Oliver Marshall in the Newcastle goal, before the second effort was blasted over.

However, the visitor’s punished Derby quickly after. Kain Reed’s curling effort beating the outstretched hand of Harry Halwax to put Newcastle ahead.

Ten minutes later, Derby went even closer. Gordon’s venomous strike from the edge of the box had the beating of Marshall but the wide-man was denied by the crossbar as the Rams pushed for an equaliser.

Quickly after, the home side drew level. Charles’ left-footed free-kick was superbly placed into the top right-hand corner, beating Marshall in the Newcastle goal and making sure the game was on level terms at the break.

The Rams looked to start the early stages of the second half with intent, Rogers’ chance flew just wide of the target, following the forward’s run on the left.

However, Derby failed to push on. Reed grabbed his second of the match with a well-placed finish past Halwax to give Newcastle the lead, one they wouldn’t lose hold of for the rest of the half.

Derby did come agonisingly close to levelling the game up for the second time. An in-swinging corner caused chaos in the visitor’s box after they failed to clear the delivery and Newcastle were forced to clear the ball off the line as the ball was sent goalward bound.

But as Derby pushed for an equaliser, the visitor’s scored a third. Stephenson’s driving run behind the Rams’ backline put him through on goal before the substitute calmly tucked away the ball to secure his side all three points.

Walker’s side will now go on to face Everton in the Premier League – North, where they will look to bounce back from defeat against a team that they have already beaten in the FA Youth Cup this season.

Words by Luke Thrower