Derby County fell to a 2-0 defeat in their final pre-season game ahead of the 2020/21 campaign against Premier League side Sheffield United.
The Rams had their first and last run out on the Pride Park turf ahead of their first competitive fixture of the season when they host Barrow on Saturday in the Carabao Cup (kick-off: 12pm).
Phillip Cocu opted to move to three at the back, with new defender Mike te Wierik starting on the right side in his first outing at Pride Park, with George Evans in the middle and Craig Forsyth on the left.
Max Bird wore the captain’s armband for the game, playing the full 90 minutes along with te Wierik.
For the majority of the first half, the Rams defended well, limiting the Blades to only a couple of opportunities, both going wide. However, a set piece late on in the half gave Sheffield the lead through Ben Osborn.
Billy Sharp then added a second midway through the second half from close range.
Half chances came for both sides in the opening ten minutes. First, Evans powered down the middle of the pitch, all the way to the final third before playing a one-two with Jack Marriott. But Wes Foderingham got his hands to the effort by the near post.
Two minutes later, Mousett got on the end off a cross, but heavy pressure by Graeme Shinnie forced the striker out wide and in turn, send his shot high and wide.
More chances fell for the Rams midway through the half in quick succession. Marriott broke and sprinted towards the United goal from a Sheffield corner before sending it out to Jayden Bogle. The Wing-back sent the ball over in to the area, but Foderingham was there to grab it. The visiting keeper was in action two minutes latter when Louie Sibley’s cross was tipped over.
Sheffield’s goal came with just less than ten minutes to play in the half when Derby failed to properly clear a free-kick that was sent in to the area. It fell back to Osborn and his low strike tucked into the corner.
Derby had a chance to level the score just ahead of the break when they were awarded a free-kick when Foderingham was adjudged to have handled the ball outside the area when he faced pressure on an on-coming Marriott. The Rams’ striker then sent the resulting free-kick from right on the edge of the box into the wall.
After a quiet opening to the second half, the visitors doubled their lead with 20 minutes left to play. A good across from Kean Bryan found Sharp at the back post to fire in past Henrich Ravas, who replaced Kelle Roos midway through the half to get some minutes.
Derby were unable to find a way back into the game. They will next be in action on Saturday afternoon in the Carabao Cup against Barrow.
Derby County: Roos (Ravas, 62), te Wierik, Evans (Davies, 79), Forsyth (Clarke, 45), Bogle (Solomon, 45), Buchanan (Lowe, 45), Bird, Shinnie (Brown, 79), Holmes (Ibrahim, 62), Sibley (Whittaker, 62), Marriott (Shonibare, 79)
Substitutes: Stretton, Borkovic,