The first fixture of 2017 ended in a 2-2 draw for Derby County’s Under 18s after West Bromwich Albion’s late leveller denied the Rams all three points in a contest that they dominated on Saturday.Jahvan Davidson-Miller broke the deadlock within the first five minutes of the game after impressive individual work and Max Bird clinched Derby’s second goal after an excellent free-kick conversion with just five minutes remaining.
However, the Rams were forced to settle for a share of the spoils after the Baggies netted a goal in injury time of each half - the first from the penalty spot through Rahis Nabi before the all-important leveller by Callum Morton right at the death.
This was a game full of twists and turns in front of a home crowd at the Training Centre in partnership with the University of Derby, but it was the Rams who very quickly hit their stride after Davidson-Miller found enough space in the final third to burst forward to the edge of the box and blast the ball into the far corner of the goal.
From then on Justin Walker and Rory Delap’s side looked to punish their slow-starting West Midlands visitors even further, significantly advancing forward their attacking line as often as possible.
On 12 minutes, though, West Brom very easily could have been level earlier than they were after Marcus Forrs pounced on a short-headed back pass from Fuseine Rashid. However, Despite Forrs’ efforts – an excellent reaction save from Matt Yates saw him push the ball out of play to neutralise any attacking threat.
After that, it wasn’t until very late on in the first half that there was anything of note to report after a large part of the game was halted due to nasty-looking head injury sustained by West Brom ‘keeper Brad House after he collided with Davidson-Miller inside his own area.
With the Baggies forced into a substitution, play did resume and the Rams continued on the front foot creating two big opportunities to extend their lead after both Davidson-Miller and a trialist were presented with one-on-one situations against Alex Pryzbek.
Despite their efforts, it was West Brom who had the ball in the net next after Nabi coolly slotted the ball in the back of the net from the penalty spot in the 17th minute of injury time.
The relentless action continued in the second half and it was the Rams who, once again, took the lead with just five minutes of the contest remaining after Bird gave the visitors’ goalkeeper no chance with his perfectly free-kick from 20 yards out, despite appearing to lose his footing.
With less than a minute remaining on the clock, three points looked pretty much assured for Walker and Delap’s side, but misfortune struck after Morton ran in the box unmarked during a corner routine thumped the delivery into the back of the net with his head – leaving Yates with no chance.
Derby County U18s: Yates, Bogle, Mills, Bird, Bateman (C), Rashid, Davidson-Miller, Edwards, Trialist, Mitchell-Lawson, Cresswell
Substitutes: Wise, Fryatt, Jibdou, Thomas, Davie
West Browmich Albion U18s: House, Meredith, Morrison, Dool, Artymatas, Wilding, Tulloch, Nabi, Forss, Morton, Holsgrove
Substitutes: Pierce, Pryzbek, Healy, Chambers, Bradley
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