Late goals from Archie Brown and Festy Ebosele gave Derby County Under-18s the perfect start to their Premier League Cup campaign as they defeated Reading 4-3 in an entertaining encounter at Hogwood Park Training Ground.
The Rams were ahead at the break as Brown and Osazee Aghatise finishes cancelled out Nahum Melvin-Lambert’s opener for the hosts.
The Royals leveled early in the second 45 through Nelson Abbey before a late flurry of goals in the dying minutes as the game exploded into life.
Brown put Derby in-front before Ebosele doubled the lead with a fantastic solo effort. Claudio Osoro got one back for Reading but it was not enough to stop Walker’s side taking all three points.
The young Rams however started on the back foot as they fell behind within seven minutes. A long ball fell to Melvin-Lambert who rounded keeper Bradley Foster-Theniger before slotting into the net.
Derby responded almost instantly when Eno Nto’s whipped cross found the head of Brown who guided high into the net to get the Rams rolling.
Little more than ten minutes later they had the advantage. Aghatise dribbled through a couple of Reading challenges before firing confidently into the bottom right corner.
Ebosele and Brown then had further chances to extend the Rams’ leading margin. The former crashed a strike against the bar before Brown hit narrowly wide after a direct drive forward.
Walker’s youngsters were soon made to rue their missed opportunities as the hosts got themselves back on level terms following the interval. Foster-Theniger parried Dejan Tetek’s free-kick to the feet of Abbey who slid into the net.
The two sides appeared to be on course for a draw until the 88th when a handball gave Derby the opportunity to take the lead from the spot. Brown stepped up to slot coolly down the middle and score his second of the afternoon.
Ebosele then doubled the Rams’ lead in added time as a mazy run ended with the full back slotting neatly past Coniah Boyce-Clarke.
Reading struck a late consolation through Osorio to round off the scoring as Walker’s Derby secured a winning start to their Premier League Cup campaign.
What’s to come...
The Rams travel 1,479 miles across Europe to Belarus where they kick-off their UEFA Youth League journey against FC Minsk.
The game is the first of two legs as Derby look to progress to the second round of the domestic champions section of the competition.
FC Minsk Under-18s (A) - Tuesday 2nd October (kick-off: 2pm)
Blackburn Rovers (H) - Saturday 5th October 2019 (kick-off: 12:30pm)
Sunderland Under-18s (A) - Saturday 19th October 2019 (kick-off: 11am)
FC Minsk (H) - Tuesday 22nd October 2019 (kick-off: 7pm)
Middlesbrough (H) - Saturday 26th October 2019 (kick off: 12:30pm)
Words by: Jack Hasler