Derby County Under-18s made it a winning return to their Premier League – North campaign with a 4-2 away victory over West Bromwich Albion.
A goal from substitute Osazee Aghatise, an own goal and a brilliant brace from Tyree Wilson ensured that the side travelled back with all three points.
After some mid-week disappointment, the Rams couldn’t have made a better start to the game. Jack Stretton – whose pace normally earns him a chance on goal himself – turned provider for Wilson who cleverly held his run so that his fellow attacker could pull the ball back to him for an easy finish from close range.
Stretton’s clever movement in behind was beginning to cause the West Brom defenders quite a few problems: the striker went close and also made space for Seb Thompson, whose long-range effort was well saved.
After half-an-hour, the relentless Rams’ pressure took its toll on the home side once again as Jaden Charles’ wicked corner was turned in at the near post by their own defender, doubling the advantage.
The first half, dominated by Justin Walker’s side, ended as Wilson and Liam Thompson went close to putting their side out of sight at the sound of the whistle.
The hosts, however, started the second half much better than they did the first. A headed goal at the back post reduced the deficit to one, just a little over 10 minutes after the restart.
This could easily have affected Walker’s side, and allowed their opponents to get back into the game, but not after Wilson turned provider for substitute Aghatise to score just seven minutes after entering the field.
The winger played a smart ball through to the midfielder, who showed great strength to hold off his marker and finish well into the bottom left corner. Another display of great strength came from Wilson, whose delayed attempt amidst his second goal fooled the goalkeeper into making his move, allowing the space and time for a simple finish.
As the game drew to a close, the home side were able to record a late goal that served as nothing more than a consolation goal as the game ended 4-2.
What’s to come?
Derby are back in Premier League action in their game in a week’s time in a much longer away trip up north against Middlesbrough. They will head there full of confidence too, after the recent victory and given that the reverse fixture earlier in the season ended in an emphatic 4-1 win for Walker’s side.
At the Moor Farm Training Centre, Cybulski, Brown, Festy Ebosele and Tyree Wilson handed the side their first victory of the campaign back in August.
However, the side have bettered the Rams in the Premier League Under-18 Cup: Walker and his side will be taking nothing for granted and will certainly be looking to avenge their last meeting.
After that, they have a week’s break before hosting Newcastle United in their third consecutive league match – commitments in other competitions such as the UEFA Youth League has meant that this will be only the second time all season that the side have enjoyed three consecutive league matches.
Words by: Joseph Lightfoot