Trio return from injury in friendly victory.A first-half double from Conor Sammon saw Derby County Under-21s ease past Hull City in a friendly fixture at the Training Centre on Tuesday afternoon.
The game marked a welcome return for several key first-team players, including goalkeeper Adam Legzdins, defender Mark O’Brien and midfielder, James Bailey, who were all back in action for the first time after lengthy injury lay-offs.
The Rams controlled the game for long periods with high tempo, one-touch passing moves that the visitors were simply unable to deal with.
Derby created chances all game and Sammon proved to be too powerful for Hull’s centre-backs, Ben Clapperson and Max Clark, putting away two goals from inside the area to give his side a comfortable lead within the first half hour.
Hull City enjoyed a few short spells of possession, but were largely kept at bay by a well-organised Derby backline.
Sammon missed two opportunities in the opening 15 minutes, firing narrowly wide both times, after neat build-up play had found the Irishman in space around the area.
But the striker was not to be denied a third time, heading home from close range, after a superb cross from Hendrick found Sammon in the six-yard box.
Five minutes later, the away side almost equalised against the run of play as the Tigers broke quickly. Centre-forward Matthew Fletcher powered a header narrowly over the crossbar after a good cross from the left wing.
At the other end of the pitch, the Rams won a corner after some clever link-up play between Academy graduates Mason Bennett and Max Lowe. A goalmouth scramble ensued from the resulting set-piece, and when Jamie Hanson’s header was cleared off the line, it fell to Sammon who forced the ball home to notch his second of the game in the 28th minute.
Derby’s visibly stronger midfield saw out the rest of the first-half, keeping possession and playing some attractive one touch football to frustrate the away side leading up to the break.
Legzdins, who had had little to do in the opening 45 minutes was called in to action shortly after the restart with Hull forward Danny Chambers’ strike forcing the Derby ‘keeper to make a smart save.
However, that was to be the last significant chance for the Tigers with Derby the better team for the rest of the game, carving out a number of opportunities to score a third.
Johnny Russell, who was looking to gain more match-fitness after his return to the first-team in Saturday’s victory over Bournemouth, saw his shot from 25-yards whistle just over Hull ‘keeper, Rory Watson’s goal.
Shots from Ben Davies and substitute Callum Ball also came close to bringing Derby that elusive three-goal lead - the latter shooting over after an excellent looped pass from right-back Hanson, who was excellent throughout.
However, Sam Berry, on for O’Brien at half time, came closest to adding to the Rams’ advantage, when his header from a Davies corner rattled Watson’s left post before being hacked away by a Hull defender.
Kwame Thomas made a nuisance of himself in the dying moments after replacing Russell, running against the tired legs of the Hull defence and heading just over with around 10 minutes remaining.
Derby County Under-21s: Legzdins (GK), Hanson, Gjokaj, O’Brien (Berry 45’), Lowe, Hendrick (Dawkins 60’), Davies, Bailey (Ball 60’), Russell (Thomas 70’), Bennett (Dales 70’), Sammon (Hayes 70’).
Subs not used: Spiriak (GK).
Tweets by @ dcfcofficial