Derby County Under 23s recorded an impressive 2-1 victory over Dutch side PSV Eindhoven this evening in their first game of this season's International Cup.
Two goals in the first half, courtesy of Nick Blackman from the penalty spot and a header from skipper Farrend Rawson, proved to enough for the Rams at St George’s Park.
However, Albert Gudmundsson pulled a goal back from the penalty spot – but Derby held on.
In the opening minutes of the game, it was Derby who looked the livelier of the two sides, but long ball against the run of play saw Gudmundsson break free on the right wing and cross to Kenneth Paal, but a committed late tackle from Farrend Rawson inside the Rams’ area denied him a shooting chance.
In the 12th minute, the Dutch side were knocking on the door again after Luiz Beto Da Silva received a pass on the edge of the area and got an effort away, but Chris Weale was equal to the shot, though, and quickly neutralised any threat.
Derby continued to confine play in PSV’s final third and on 14 minutes, Blackman was brought down inside the area, to which the referee pointed straight to the spot. Blackman stepped up confidently and converted coolly, slotting the ball in the bottom right corner and sending Yanick Van Osch in the opposite direction.
With 19 minutes on the clock, Derby were rewarded again for their efforts – this time it was Rawson who rose highest to head home a corner from the right side to double their lead and make it two goals inside five minutes.
PSV were by no means out of the contest, though, and sought to react quickly - winning a free-kick in an advanced position. Unfortunately for the set-piece taker Paal, another impressive save from Weale ensured Darren Wassall’s side protected their lead.
Action temporarily halted thereafter and strong, robust defending from the Rams saw them enter the half time break with a two-goal advantage.
As the game resumed after the break, both teams, once again, entered a battle for possession with chances limited at either end of the field during the first 10 minutes of the half.
On 53 minutes, PSV looked to catch the Rams of guard after Pablo Rosario headed an opportunistic ball towards goal, but the experienced Weale read the situation perfectly and caught the ball comfortably to end the visitor’s attack.
10 minutes later, the Dutch side were rewarded for their bright start to the half after a late tackle on Da Silva by Alex Cover saw the referee point to the spot – and Gudmundsson stepped up a put the ball in the same spot as Blackman to make it 2-1.
Despite conceding, Wassall’s side almost immediately restored their two goal advantage after Charles Vernam flicked on Jamie Hanson’s cross – the ball, though, proved to be inches too far for Rawson who was at the far post.
With a newly found confidence and the game all to play for, PSV stepped up their efforts and came close to equalising after Paal found space inside the box to launch a shot, but fortunately it was straight at Weale and the ball was pushed out of danger.
Paal continued to cause problems for the Rams’ defensive line after his shot on the edge of the box hit the outside of the post as time ran out.
However, organisation at the back proved to be key for Derby and they were able to safely see out the remainder of the game to start their International Cup campaign on a winning note.
Next up in the International Cup for Derby’s Under 23s is a home game against Portuguese side Benfica next month, also at St George's Park.
Derby County Under 23s:Weale, Santos, Lowe, Hanson, Rawson (Jakobsen, 83), Cover, Camara (Babos, 73), Guy, Blackman (Walker, 74), Vernam, Gordon
Substitutes not used:Ravas, Stabana, MacDonald, Bateman
PSV Eindhoven Under 23s:Van Osch, Van Vlerken, Van Bruggen, Obispo, Carolina, Rigo, Beto Da Silva, Rosario (Rommens, 64), Gudmundsson, Paal, Laursen
Substitutes not used:Abels, Kardes, Deng, Watt
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