Rams seal friendly victory at the Town Ground.A double from Callum Ball helped Derby County's Under-21s come from behind to seal a 3-2 victory over Heanor Town at the Town Ground this evening.
The friendly fixture had been arranged to mark the reopening of the Town Ground following extensive refurbishment, and the hosts got off to a flying start when Nathan Benger sent a stunning 25-yard drive past Mats Morch after 17 minutes.
However, Heanor’s lead lasted just seven minutes, as Ball, who recently returned from a successful loan spell at Torquay United, found space in the penalty area, and from a tight angle fired into the bottom corner.
In a tightly contested first-half, clear cut opportunities remained at a premium, although Morch was forced into producing a fine double save before the break, whilst at the other end, former Manchester United player Luke Hendrie thrashed a shot wide for the Rams after a mazy run into the box.
Lee Glover’s side, who went into the game off the back of three consecutive League victories, started the second-half brightly, with Kwame Thomas’ clever goal-bound flick superbly tipped away by the Heanor goalkeeper within 60 seconds of the restart.
And Thomas’ effort proved a warning shot, as in the 59th minute midfielder Andy Dales waltzed his way into the penalty area before rifling the ball into the roof of the net to hand the Rams the lead.
Moments later, left-back Michael Hoganson had a fierce drive hacked off the line, but a golden opportunity for Derby to take a two goal advantage soon followed.
Substitute Callum Guy was clumsily brought down in the penalty area, and namesake Ball kept his composure to calmly sweep the resulting spot-kick into the bottom corner.
After such a dominant and controlling spell from the Rams, the host's second goal of the evening arrived against the run of play in the 73rd minute, although it took an extraordinary effort to do so, as Lee Stevenson’s corner sailed straight into the net.
However, the Rams went on to see the game out, and even came close to extending their advantage when a lung-busting run and pass from Offrande Zanzala found Dawkins, but the central midfielder saw his effort superbly kept out by the Heanor ‘keeper, from point-blank range.
Glover’s side are back in action next week (Monday 21st October, 7:00pm kick-off) at Belper Town's ground, as they take on Hull City in the Under-21 Premier League Cup.
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