Derby County Under-23s move on to the Premier League Cup quarter-finals after a 2-1 victory over Wolverhampton Wanderers at Pride Park Stadium.
A big week for Jayden Mitchell-Lawson following his debut for the first-team against Stoke City on Wednesday was capped off with a goal and assist to help to Rams move on further than they have before in the competition.
The winger lifter the ball over the visiting keeper after just six minutes to give the Rams the lead before providing for Cameron Cresswell.
The visitors mounted a comeback after Ryan Giles slotted in to pull one back with ten minutes to go. However, superb goalkeeping by Josh Barnes denied them.
A wonderfully worked goal gave the Rams an early lead. A perfectly weighted pass into the box by Calum Macdonald was aiming for Cameron Cresswell, but the forward was taken down in the area and Mitchell-Lawson was at the back post to lift the ball over Andreas Sondergaard before slamming the ball into the back of the net.
Derby continued on the front foot and piled the pressure on Wolves’ defence and the half hour mark presented a brilliant opportunity to double their lead. The home side hit Wolves on the break from their corner when a long ball from Josh Barnes found the pacey winger Mitchell-Lawson before he handed over to Louie Sibley to drive forward.
The young midfielder’s low cross met Cresswell in the goalmouth who flicked it behind towards goal but somehow the goalkeeper and defender managed to scramble it away.
Just two minutes later, Mitchell-Lawson was brought down on the edge of the box to win a free-kick in a dangerous position. Calum Macdonald rifled his free-kick effort towards goal and it rattled off the post.
Mitchell-Lawson and Sibley linked up again in the 37th minute when a low cross by Sibley was directed just wide at the back post.
The chances continued to come for the Rams in the second half when Josh Shonibare’s shot from close range drew a great save by the visiting keeper before Max Bird unleashed from 25 yards out but his effort took a deflection in the crowded area and went just over.
Wolves looked to equalise just more than ten minutes into the second-half but Josh Barnes batted away an effort by substitute Enzo Sauvage from the edge of the box. However, on the hour mark the Rams doubled their lead.
Mitchell-Lawson turned provider when his low cross found Cresswell right in front of goal to turn home.
Barnes was called into action again as the visitors looked for a way back into the game. Sauvage was played clean through into the area by Ryan Giles but the Rams stopper rushed out and managed to block his effort.
The visitors pulled one back with ten minutes to go when Sauvage hit the Rams on the counter attack. John Kitolano then squared to Giles in the six-yard box to turn in.
Barnes then made an important stop in the dying minutes to get down on a cross from the left by Oskar Buur before Giles could meet it at the back post. In added time, Barnes again superbly saved the Rams when Giles again rifled a goal-bound shot from 25-yards out but he dived towards the top left corner to palm it out.
Derby County: Barnes; Gordon, Bateman, Buchanan, Macdonald; Sibley, Bird (C), Babos (Roache, 83); Mitchell-Lawson, Cresswell, Shonibare
Unused Subs: Yates, Hunt, Anya, Karic
Wolverhampton Wanderers: Sondergaard; Sanderson, Francis, John(Molberg, 70); Buur, Diallo, Giles; Goncalves, Alves; Heredia (Kitolano, 61), Ennis (Sauvage, 30)
Unused Subs: Pardington, Cundle