Derby County Under-23s were beaten 1-0 by Birmingham City in their penultimate Premier League Cup group game.
Despite the defeat, the Rams have already secured their place in the knockout-stages having been victorious in three of their five matches so far.
Birmingham took the lead midway through the opening 45 minutes as Jayden Reid broke the deadlock in clinical fashion.
Derby pushed hard to level but were unable to break through the host’s stubborn backline.
The Rams began in promising fashion, with their best opening coming through Josh Shonibare. The winger beat a couple of defenders before unleashing an effort narrowly wide of the target.
Moments later, Reid latched onto Josh Andrews’ knock-down before smashing past Matt Yates and into the bottom corner to put the Blues ahead.
Derby began to dominate after falling behind with Cameron Cresswell at the heart of their efforts to draw level. He saw two strikes blocked before hitting a powerful volley narrowly wide from George Evans’ chipped ball in.
Morgan Whittaker and Evans himself also came close towards the close of the first-half, seeing efforts foiled by the Blues’ defence.
Derby continued to push for an equaliser after half-time, forcing Birmingham into more heroic defending.
Just after the hour, Whittaker combined with Evans but the midfielder saw his effort deflected wide.
Soon after, Cresswell won a loose ball from a corner before striking venomously towards goal, only to see yet another strike blocked.
The Rams’ final opportunity to get something from the match came in the final three minutes from a free-kick.
Alex Babos attempted to curl into the top-left corner but his strike drifted inches wide of the post.
The Under-23s will look to get back to winning ways on Tuesday when they travel to Wolves for their final Premier League Cup group fixture.
Birmingham City: Ramos, Oakley, Burke, Stirk (C), Roberts, Gordon, Thompson-Sommers (Campbell 67’), Concannon, Reid, Andrews, Hurst (George 82’)
Unused subs: Forrest, Bradley-Hurst, Hilton
Derby: Yates, Ebosele (Dixon 46’), A. Brown, Evans (L. Thompson 76’), Wassall (C), Minkley, Whittaker, Cresswell, Hector-Ingram, Babos, Shonibare (Hepburn-Murphy 68’)
Unused subs: Sephton, Foster