Derby County secured their second pre-season victory of the summer with a 2-1 win over fellow Sky Bet Championship side Bristol City at the IMG Academy Field in Florida.
Following severe weather conditions last night, the Rams faced the Robins for the second time in as many days in a shortened hour-long match, comprising of 30-minute halves and were rewarded with a win as Mason Bennett inspired Phillip Cocu’s side to victory.
The 24-year-old opened his account for the season as he unleashed an unstoppable effort from 25 yards on 13 minutes to put Derby ahead, whilst in the second half, he laid the ball into the path of Ikechi Anya who doubled the lead.
Bristol City did later pull a goal back through central defender Nathan Baker but it was the Rams who held on to the lead and secured the win.
It was the Robins who had a lot of the ball in the opening exchanges of the game but Cocu’s side were rarely tested.
Baker glanced an effort wide on 13 minutes before seconds later, Bennett opened up his body and rifled an effort which flew past Robins goalkeeper Dan Bentley to give Derby the lead.
Niclas Eliasson almost drew Lee Johnson’s side level minutes later but his effort from inside the box fell wide of Jonathan Mitchell’s goal.
The Robins thought they had equalised 10 minutes into the second half as Saikou Janneh volleyed the ball past Mitchell, however, the linesman’s flag was up for offside.
That would cost Bristol City as three minutes later, the Rams doubled their advantage. Bennett played a lovely through ball to Anya who finished calmly past Bentley to put Derby in control.
Summer recruit Kieran Dowell was introduced with 10 minutes of the game remaining and showed glimpses of what he is about, getting into pockets of space and shooting from range, with one effort from 25 yards forcing a save from Bentley.
The Robins did eventually pull a goal back on 57 minutes. A corner was met by the head of Nathan Baker who beat Mitchell from 12 yards to set up a nervy ending, however, Cocu’s side held on and secured the victory.
Derby County: Mitchell, Macdonald (Buchanan 31’), Lowe, Evans, Bateman, Anya, Bird, Mitchell-Lawson (Dowell 50’), Bennett, Whittaker, Martin.
Bristol City: Bentley, Edwards, Vyner, Baker, Moore, O’Dowda, Pack, Adelukan, Eliasson, Paterson, Semenyo.