Rams' development squad suffer defeat on the road.
Derby County Under-21s suffered their first defeat in four games as Sheffield United secured a 2-0 victory at the Redtooth Academy at Shirecliffe on Tuesday afternoon.
Goals from former Crewe Alexandra striker Shaun Miller and first year scholar Dominic Calvert-Lewin sealed the three points, in a match that saw Derby’s Adam Legzdins, Mark O’Brien and James Bailey continue their comeback from injury.
Goalkeeper Legzdins and Bailey came through the full 90 minutes unscathed as they continue to build up their match fitness following ankle and knee injuries respectively, whilst O’Brien played just under 80 minutes, in what was only his second appearance in almost 10 months.
The Blades started brightly and took the lead with their first real effort at goal when Miller’s snap-shot from the edge of the penalty area after 13 minutes fizzed inside Legzdins’ near post.
Opportunities continued to fall the Blades’ way in the first-half as Jahmal Smith latched onto Fabian Brandy’s pass before seeing his fierce strike parried away by Legzdins, prior to both Miller and Smith having efforts blocked.
Jamie Murphy and Brandy fired wide on the half-an-hour mark, although the final effort of the opening 45 minutes fell the Rams’ way, as Kwame Thomas saw his powerful header deflect narrowly wide of goal.
However, with just three minutes gone in the second half, United extended their lead when Calvert-Lewin collected a loose ball on the edge of the penalty area and curled it into the top corner with his left-foot.
Derby’s riposte included Kurt Raven forcing 'keeper Mark Howard into a fine save, before Calvert-Lewin displayed real bravery to block Valentin Gjokaj’s close-range header shortly after the hour mark.
Late on, however, it was United who looked the most likely to score, as Legzdins pushed a Murphy shot past the post before producing a fine reflex save in the 90th minute to divert Brandy’s free-kick onto the crossbar.
The Rams’ Under-21s are back in action in two weeks’ time, where they face Birmingham City at the Training Centre on Monday 16th December.
Derby County Under 21s: Legzdins; Hanson, Gjokaj, O'Brien (Hayes, 83), Hoganson, Revan (Berry, 71), Dales, Bailey, Dawkins, Lowe, Thomas.
Subs Not Used: Behrens (gk), Rawson, Wassall.
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