Derby County Under-21s started their Central League campaign with a convincing 3-1 win against Mansfield Town at Moor Farm Training Centre on Tuesday afternoon.
Ben Radcliffe was quick out of the traps to open the scoring from an early corner, before Owen Oseni added a second shortly before the interval.
He doubled his tally soon after the restart and it looked as though that would be the last of the scoring action, until the 87th minute when the Stags pulled one back through McKeal Abdullah.
That proved to be nothing more than a consolation, though, as Jake Buxton's side, featuring Louie Sibley who continued his recovery from the calf injury that had plagued his pre-season, claimed their first win of 2023/24.
The Rams raced into an early lead when Jack Bates' corner was turned home by Radcliffe inside two minutes.
And they kept the pressure on from set plays when Sibley's deep delivery was headed onto the back post by Max Bardell with little over 10 minutes on the clock.
Carlos Richards cut in off the left to fire narrowly over the Mansfield bar shortly afterwards, before the visitors showed their own threat when Abdullah called Lewis Ridd into action. He made a smart stop to turn the forward's effort past the post.
Striker Oseni showed his pace and power to burst down the left wing on the half-hour and cross for Tony Weston at the back post, but his header was kept out by a fine stop from Louie Turner. Radcliffe could only head wide from the resultant corner.
Shortly before half-time it was indeed two, as the young Rams went more direct to utilise Oseni's blistering pace. He ate up the ground his marker had on him and left him in his wake to fasten onto Bardell's ball over the top, before showing great composure to slot past Turner and double the lead.
He glanced a header over the bar moments later in the final opening of a strong half from Derby.
Sibley made way for Charlie Lindsay during the break and, immediately after the resumption, there was almost a change to the scoreline as the dangerous Abdullah flashed an effort across goal which glanced off the far post.
Ridd made a fine save to push Finn Flanagan's powerful drive away moments later, before, up the other end, Oseni was denied his second of the afternoon by Turner after good work from Weston on the right wing to centre for the forward.
Just seconds later, he had doubled his tally though. Nice footwork from Richards on the byline took him into space and he picked out the striker who applied the finish to make it 3-0.
Adebayo Fapetu almost made an immediate impact after coming on in the 65th minute but, after neat feet in the area, saw his effort deflected over the bar.
Trialist Rashawn Scott picked fellow substitute Fapetu out on the edge of the box on 73 minutes but his first-time strike sailed over.
Mansfield netted a consolation on 87 minutes, when Jakub Kruszynski's corner wasn't dealt with and Abdullah hooked home.
Oseni got in behind as he sought a hat-trick in stoppage time, but Turner stood firm to deny him.
He then used his feet well to keep Lindsay out as Derby finished the match on the front foot, but without a fourth goal to show for their efforts.
Derby County Under-21s: Ridd (GK), Bardell, Radcliffe, Cox (Robinson 65'), Hawkins, D Robinson, Bates, Weston (Fapetu 65'), Sibley (Lindsay 46'), Richards (Scott (Trialist) 59'), Oseni.
Substitutes not used: Evans (GK).
Mansfield Town Under-21s: Turner (GK), Anderson (Maher 78'), Wauchope, Flanagan, Whyle, Cooper, Carter, Clarke (Bonser 63'), Abdullah, Kruszynski, Kokkinos.
Substitutes not used: Leech (GK), Collins, Warnaby.
Derby County Under-21s are next in action in a Premier League 2 meeting with Tottenham Hotspur at Pride Park Stadium on Friday 25th August (kick-off 7pm).