Derby County bowed out of the FA Cup in a unique Third Round in a 2-0 defeat to Chorley.
It was a historic afternoon for the club as 14 players made their debuts for the Rams with the first-team players and staff isolating due to an outbreak of COVID-19 among the squad.
Senior Professional Development Phase Coach, Pat Lyons led the team which consisted of a mixture of Under-18s and Under-23s that was further diminished with a handful also isolating due to being within the first-team bubble and a variety of injuries. Five players in the starting line-up are Under-18s players, with Dylan Williams just a first-year scholar with the average age of the side just 19 years old.
The faced a difficult challenge in the prestigious tournament against National League North side Chorley who themselves also made history in their first appearance in the Third Round of the FA Cup having already knocked out League One sides Wigan Athletic and Peterborough.
The Magpies physicality proved to give them the edge against the visiting youngsters and goals from Connor Hall early in the game and Mike Calveley late in the game ensured their name would be in the hat for the Fourth Round.
It was the Rams who had the first opportunity of the game within just six minutes. A superb through ball from Isaac Hutchinson on the halfway line found Cameron Cresswell to go one-on-one with the Magpies’ keeper.
He rounded Matt Urwin but was tripped on his way round. The referee initially went to point to the spot, but after a consultation with his linesman he changed his mind and just gave a goal-kick.
The physicality of Chorley was soon evident against the Rams’ mostly teenage side and within ten minutes it led to their opening goal. The first corner of the game fell to Harry Cardwell to head back in to the six-yard box. Scott Leather met it with a headed flick-on for Hall to head in.
As the game went on, Derby gained confidence and started to match the strength of the home side.A free-kick was awarded to Hutchinson in the Derby half with five minutes left to play in the opening half. It was quickly sent down the right flank and Cresswell poked forward to Max Bardell. Bardell beat his man at the near post looking to cross in, but with no one there, Urwin grabbed the ball.
An opportunity fell for the Magpies in the final minutes of the half from a long throw deep in Derby’s half. Willem Tomlinson was the recipient on the edge of the box and looked to dip his effort into the top corner, but it rattled off the crossbar.
Two minutes into the second-half and Matt Yates pulled out a brilliant save to deny the hosts a chance to extend their lead. Chorley won the ball back on the edge of the box and Elliot Newby received the ball and drilled an effort across goal, but the Derby keeper dived to palm it away.
The Rams looked brighter and more composed in the second half and looked to find opportunities on the counter-attack. Seven minutes in to the second half and Liam Thompson won the ball back in the middle of the park and drove forward before Bardell’s cross was sent out for the Rams’ first corner.
On the 63-minute mark, it was Chorley again who came close when a cross in from Newby found Cardwell at the back post for a free header, that he directed wide.
A good chance fell for the Rams with 15 minutes left to play after Festy Ebosele’s hard work earned a corner. The delivery was sent to the opposite side of the box for Hugo Jinkinson to head back in and Joe Bateman’s headed effort looked to just dip below the crossbar before Urwin made the save.
However, it was the hosts who extended their lead with seven minutes left to play when Calveley stretched to see his effort deflected in.
The Rams were unable to find a way back in and take the valuable experience as they bow out of the FA Cup.
Chorley: Urwin, Birch, Halls (Henley, 71), Leather (C), Baines, Tomlinson, Calveley, Shenton (Smith, 77), Newby, Cardwell, Hall (Reilly, 80).
Substitutes: Putnam, MacKenzie, Roberts, Marah, Miller.
Derby County: Yates, Bardell (Cybulski, 72), Williams, Solomon, Jinkinson, Bateman, Aghatise (Ebosele, 64), L. Thompson (Ibrahim, 85), Duncan, Hutchinson (C), Cresswell.
Substitutes: Sykes-Kenworthy, S. Thompson, Rogers, Rutt, Christie.