Santos strikes again as Rams hold Gunners to a draw.

Derby County’s Under-21 side came from a goal down to earn a 1-1 draw at Arsenal in the Barclays U21 Premier League Division 2 on Thursday evening.

A late penalty from forward Alefe Santos cancelled out Ainsley Maitland-Niles’ opener for the hosts at Boreham Wood’s Meadow Park ground.

Derby named a similar line-up to the one that defeated Middlesbrough 2-1 at the iPro Stadium last Friday in their opening league fixture of the campaign.

The only changes in Lee Glover's side were in the back-line, with Jonathan Mitchell replacing Kelle Roos in goal while Kieron Freeman started in place of Luke Hendrie at right-back.

The opening 45 minutes were limited in chances and it was only towards the end of the half that the game sprang into life, as Rams defender Jamie Hanson saw a free-kick deflected over and then Santos had a shot saved from inside the box.

Dan Crowely missed a close-range chance in the final seconds of the half for the Gunners, but Maitland-Niles managed to break the deadlock only four minutes after the break and only moments after striker Kwame Thomas headed a clear-cut chance wide.

The Rams regrouped and took the game to Arsenal in search of an equaliser, with Hanson again denied from a dead-ball situation after the hour.

With ten minutes to go Derby did manage to haul themselves level as Santos kept his cool from 12 yards for the second game in a row, after Wales Under-21 international Freeman had been fouled in the box.

Mitchell had to be at his best to thwart the Gunners late on as the hosts pushed forwards for a late winner, but Derby saw the game out to hold on for a valuable point.

Arsenal Under 21: Macey, Kamara, Ajayi, O’Connor, Moore, Maitland-Niles, Hayden, Olsson, Crowley, Zelalem, Akpom.

Substitutes: Iliev, Jebb, Wright, Smith, Iwobi.

Derby County Under 21: Mitchell, Freeman, Lowe, T Naylor, Rawson, Hanson, Santos, Koblenz, Thomas, Bunjaku, Calero.

Substitutes: Hendrie, Etheridge, Guy, Vernam, McDonald.

Next up for Derby’s Under 21 side is a trip to Stoke City next Friday (29th August, 3pm kick-off).

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