Derby County’s Under 18s suffered another late blow on Saturday afternoon after an 85th minute winner from West Bromwich Albion saw the hosts seal all three points with a 2-1 victory.
A first half own goal from Joe Bateman saw the Baggies head into the first half with an advantage and it was extended five minutes from time by Marcus Forss with a consolation goal from Max Bird in between.
In a first half of few chances, it was West Brom who started the livelier of the two sides, pressing the Rams’ defence fiercely – looking to force an error.
With 15 minutes on the clock, neither side had crafted a clear cut chance and controlling possession became the main objective for both the battling sides.
Derby’s best chance of the first half came in the 18th minute courtesy of Luke Thomas who launched a run down the left side, beating three men in his path to pierce into the box. However, a charge from a West Brom defender pressured Thomas into putting his shot wide.
Just before the half hour mark, it was West Brom who broke the deadlock against the run of play after a dangerous low driven ball from Max Melbourne was accidently turned into his own net by Bateman.
Derby sought to react quickly to conceding and a shift of focus onto attack was obvious, however, West Brom defended well and neutralised the Rams’ threats – comfortably heading to the break holding their one-goal lead.
After the break, Derby picked up where they left off and a succession of chances were created as the game approached the hour mark with Ayomide Jibodu, Cameron Cresswell and Jordan Mills all playing crucial roles.
In the 64th minute, though, the hosts reminded Derby of their threat in front of goal after Forss broke into the box for a close range effort, which Matt Yates was equal to.
Derby continued to knock on the door the Baggies’ door with Adam Davie and Cresswell both chancing their luck from outside the box.
On 82 minutes, after fine work from Mills, the ball was played to Bird and the substitute, composed, hit a sweet shot with his first touch – curling the shot sweetly into the top left corner of the goal.
It proved in vain, as just three minutes later a lapse of concentration from Bateman allowed Forss to breakthrough on goal and score, regaining his side’s lead for a second and final time.
Justin Walker and Rory Delap’s side, though, did not give up without a fight though and created two further clear cut chances through Thomas and Jayden Bogle. However, it proved not to be the Rams’ day as the referee called time on what was an enthralling game.
Derby County U18s: Yates, Bogle, Mills, Wise (Hitchman, 71), Bateman (C), Rashid, Jibodu, Edwards (Edwards, 55), Davie, Thomas, Cresswell
Substitutes not used: Fryatt, Thorne, Mbuti
West Bromwich Albion U18s: House, Meredith, Melbourne, Wilding, Piggott, Artymatas, Bradley (Holsgrove, 90), Dool, Pierce, Forss, Morrison
Substitutes not used: Kranovic, Walker, Tulloch, HarmowTweets by @ dcfcofficial