Rams suffer narrow defeat at Elland Road.Derby County Under-21s fell to their second defeat of the new 2013/14 campaign against Leeds United at Elland Road this evening.
Despite taking the lead through Rhys Sharpe’s clinical 19th minute spot-kick, the hosts bounced back through Alex Mowatt’s superbly struck free-kick five minutes later.
Lewis Walters completed the comeback for the Whites in the 56th minute, after neat interplay from Mowatt and Sam Byram released the forward, who finished with aplomb.
The Rams’ Under-21 side included three trialists, with Luke Hendrie lining up at right-back following his release from Manchester United, whilst Austin Eaton (ex-Watford) and Patrick Antelmi (ex-Leeds) featured in the centre of midfield and upfront respectively.
Despite one stop from Leeds’ goalkeeper Alex Cairns in the early stages, it was a relatively quiet opening at Elland Road, with the hosts’ first sight at goal not arriving until the 12th minute, when Mowatt saw his shot from long-range well held by Mats Morch.
However, the game sparked into life in the 18th minute, when the Rams were awarded a spot-kick, which Sharpe duly capitalised on when he converted 60 seconds later.
But Derby’s lead lasted just five minutes, as Leeds levelled the tie when Mowatt curled home a fine free-kick from the edge of the penalty area.
Leeds finished the half on top and were unfortunate not to go ahead when Byram nodded narrowly wide shortly after the half-an-hour mark.
In the second half, Chris Dawson so his close-range effort hacked off the line, prior to Walters scoring what proved to be the winning goal when he picked up Mowatt’s pass before slotting past Morch.
Morch was in action again late on to deny Leeds extending their advantage, when he clawed away Afolabi Coker’s goal-bound header, as the Rams suffered their second defeat of the new season.
Leeds United U21s starting line-up: Cairns (GK), Byram, Coker, Taylor, White, Thompson, Mowatt, Phillips, Dawson, Walters, Parkin.
Subs: Atkinson (GK), Denton, Coyle, Lenighan, Cook.
Derby County U21s: Morch (GK); Hendrie, Lelan, Hanson, Hoganson; Eaton, Dales, Dawkins, Sharpe; Vernam, Antelmi.
Subs: Wassall, Rawson, Thomas.