Derby County’s Under 18s saw their three-game unbeaten Premier League North run come to end on Saturday afternoon after falling to a 3-0 defeat at the hands of Blackburn Rovers.
A goal from Matthew Makinson in the first half, followed up by a penalty from Brad Lynch and an own goal from Joe Bateman in the second half, saw the young Rams suffer defeat for only the second time on home soil this season.
Looking back on the game, it was one that could have gone either way in its early stages as both sides spent the first 15 minutes of this latest league outing.
It wasn’t until 17 minutes that a real chance opened up in the game and it went in favour of the hosts.
A quick counter-attack orchestrated by Jayden Mitchell-Lawson saw him set up a threatening cross from the left side, and although it didn’t reach its intended destination, it bounced out to the patient Max Bird, who struck the ball over the crossbar from 25-yards out.
With 23 minutes gone, a further opportunity fell Derby’s way – this time on the right side after Ayomide Jibodu captilised on a defensive error.
Both Mitchell-Lawson and Jahvan Davidson-Miller played a part in switching the play and the ball eventually reached Cameron Cresswell, however, he was unable to make the most of the situation and he sent his shot wide.
As the game approached the break, Blackburn grew into the game and the remaining 10 minutes of the first-half marked as Rovers’ most attacking spell.
On 35 minutes, an excellent corner delivery from the right allowed Makinson to put his side in front with an intelligent headed effort.
After gaining the advantage, the visitors’ confidence only seemed to grow and they could have very easily been two goals up just three minutes later after Tre Pemberton almost converted in what was an identical situation to the last – only this time Josh Barnes was more than equal to it.
Despite the increase in tempo from Blackburn, Derby sprung to life very quickly and almost brought the score level after Jordan Mills beat his man and cut the ball back to Cresswell on the edge of the box. The wideman produced a tremendous strike to contest the scoreline, but the visiting ‘keeper, Ben Ascroft, stole the limelight – producing a spectacular reaction save.
Following the half-time interval, Rovers picked up where they left off and it took only five minutes before they doubled their lead.
A penalty was awarded to Blackburn after Barnes brought down the forward inside the box and it was a chance that Lynch needed no second invitation for as he blasted the ball down the centre of the goal.
Just after the hour mark, and Blackburn looked to rub further salt in the Rams’ wounds – netting their third goal of the game.
This time it was Under 18s captain Joe Bateman who extended the visitor’s lead after misjudging a tricky, low driven cross played into the box by Pemberton.
With time running out, the Rams looked to find a way back into the game and it was impact substitute Micah Edwards who attempted to reignite the Rams’ spark after he broke away from his marker, though he could only send the ball wide.
Just a minute from time, Blackburn could have made it four after the ball fell to Joel Steer inside the box, however, a clearance off the line ensured that the score remained the same.
Derby County U18s: Barnes, Goode, Mills, Haywood, Bateman (C), C. Thomas, Jibodu, Bird, Davidson-Miller, Mitchell-Lawson, Cresswell
Substitutes: Edwards, Fryatt, Bogle, Davie, Wise
Blackburn Rovers U18s: Ascroft, Jackson, Thompson, Evans, Makinson, Carter, Pemberton, Mols, Lynch, Paton, Hendry (C)
Substitutes: Williams, Campbell, Steer, Wright, BuckleyTweets by @ dcfcofficial