Derby County’s Under 18s returned to winning ways on Saturday afternoon after beating Middlesbrough 3-2 in the second home game of their U18 Premier League campaign.

Two goals inside the first 10 minutes of the game – courtesy of Cameron Cresswell and Adam Davie – saw the Rams establish an early lead at the Training Centre in partnership with the University of Derby.

However, a fightback from the visitors towards the end of the first half saw Mitchell Curry and Liam Cook strike to ensure that Boro entered the break on level terms.

In the end, though, it was Derby who came out on top after Cresswell added a second goal to his tally and helped ensure that the hosts came away with all three points.

A fast start to the game from Justin Walker and Rory Delap’s side appeared to have caught the visiting North-East side off guard and after just two minutes of play, a finely-played ball from Max Bird allowed Cresswell to convert and put his side ahead from close range in as early as the second minute.

Moments later, the Rams continued to assert their attacking dominance on their opponents and managed to net a second after Luke Thomas did well to lose his marker on the right flank, creating enough space to square the ball to Davie who also netted from inside the area.

Keen to make up for lost time, Middlesbrough quickly sprang into action and looked to get the ball forward.

They came close to halving the deficit in the ninth minute, however, stubborn defending – particularly from Fuseine Rashid and Michee Mbuti – ensured that visitors were kept frustrated in front of goal.

As time progressed, the game began to open up and it was Middlesbrough who made the most of the opportunity – taking control of possession and halving the deficit in the 25th minute after Curry burst past Rashid to put the ball in the top corner of the net.

Derby, though, reacted well to conceding and Thomas would have grabbed himself a goal after receiving the ball inside the area had it not have been for a late tackle from Anthony Renton.

There would prove to be another goal before the interval as Boro brought themselves back on level terms after the ball was passed from the left side to Cook, who gratefully directed the ball into the back of the net from inside the box.

Keen to make up from their lapse of concentration, Derby emerged from the half time interval determined to get a result from the game and on 50 minutes they came close to regaining the lead after Davie received the ball from Thomas in an advanced position, but he could only hit the side-netting.

Much like the first half, the contest began to open up for both sides with neither able to create a clear chance in front of goal.

It wasn’t until the 78th minute that scoreline was altered, but it was Derby who seized the initiative after a great phase of play between Thomas and Cresswell saw the latter convert his second goal of the game.

From then on, Middlesbrough switched all their tactics to favour their attack and a bombardment of the box saw the Rams’ defence put under significant pressure.

In the fifth minute of extra time, the visitors were awarded a free kick on the edge of the area and a low driven taken from Ben Liddle looked to have stolen his side a share of points, however, an inspired save from Matt Yates ensured that Derby went on to secure their second win of the season.

Derby County U18s: Yates, Bogle, Mills, Wise, Mbuti, Rashid (C), Thomas, Bird, Davie, Hitchman, Cresswell

Substitutes: Goode, Fryatt, Thorne, Jibodu, Magno

Middlesbrough U18s: Hemmings, Hegarty, Reading, Dale, Cook (C), Renton, Lambert, Liddle, Curry, Mally, Cook

Substitutes: Convery, Brynn, O’Neil, Guru, Holdsworth

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