Derby County Under-18s bowed out of the FA Youth Cup at the Fourth Round stage following a 1-2 defeat against Brighton & Hove Albion at Pride Park Stadium.
It was a valiant attempt from the Young Rams who fought until the end but unfortunately fell short.
Jack Leahy gave the Seagulls the first half lead, but the Rams fought well in the second half and forced a number of chances.
They were left frustrated and Brighton made them pay as they extended their lead on 80 minutes through Teddy Jenks.
Derby did pull a goal back from the penalty spot as Archie Brown converted from 12-yards, however, they left it too late and exited the competition.
Brighton started on the front foot and almost took the lead in the opening 90 seconds of the game but Marc Leonard’s strike from the edge of the box went over.
Derby slowly grew into the game and caused their own problems to the Brighton defence. Festy Ebosele’s pace was a constant threat down the right, but clear-cut chances were hard to come by for the Rams.
Midway through the half, the visitors again went close to taking the lead. Lorent Tolaj bullied his way into the penalty box before finding space, but could not guide his effort on target.
The Rams were enjoying good fortune from set pieces. A well worked corner found Jack Stretton on the edge of the box but Roco Rees made a good stop, whilst just after the half hour mark, Jaden Charles whipped a free kick over the crossbar.
Brighton did take the lead before the break courtesy of Leahy. The ball found the winger in space inside the penalty spot and he found the bottom corner to put the Seagulls ahead going into half time.
There was an extra purpose in the way Derby started the second half. They took the game to Brighton and forced a number of early chances.
Whilst efforts from Liam Thompson and Osazee Aghatise flew wide, the best chance fell to striker Jack Stretton.
Neat play in the penalty area between Tyree Wilson and Stretton allowed the striker an effort on goal but Brighton goalkeeper Rees made a good stop to deny him.
The Rams continued on the front foot as substitute Max Bardell went close but again, Rees saved his effort well.
It was turning out to be a frustrating evening for Justin Walker’s side as passes went astray and moves broke down and they were made to pay for that in the final 10 minutes of the game as Brighton extended their lead.
A superb cross from Stefan Vukoje found Teddy Jenks in the box and he found the corner to give the Seagulls a two-goal advantage.
The Rams did rally late on and almost pulled one back on 85 minutes. A cross from Stretton found substitute Jack Rogers but somehow, Rees managed to make an instinctive stop.
Derby did manage to get a goal back in the final minute of normal time from the penalty spot. Eiran Cashin was bundled to the floor in the penalty area and Brown made no mistake from 12 yards to make it a nervy ending.
However, despite a valiant attempt, the Rams could not manage to get an equaliser and exited the FA Youth Cup at the Fourth Round stage.
Derby County: Foster, Ebosele (Rogers 83’), Charles, Thompson, McDonald, Cashin, Wilson, Aghatise (Matthews 80’), Stretton, Cybulski (Bardell 59’), Brown.
Substitutes: Halwax, Thompson.