Derby County Under-23s fell to a 6-2 defeat at the hands of Manchester United on Monday evening in the final home game of the 2020/21 season.
A six-goal thriller ensued in the opening half, with the Reds opening the scoring inside the first minute through Anthony Elanga. Ola Ibrahim levelled the score just moments later before a stunning goal from Cameron Cresswell gave the Rams the lead.
However, Ethan Galbraith, Shola Shoretire and Omari Forson were on target to give the advantage to the visitors again.
United’s lead extended in the second half with Elanga and Shoretire finding the back of the net for the second time.
Pat Lyons was forced to make a change ahead of the game, with Tyree Wilson picking up and injury in warm-up and was he replaced by Luke Plange as seven Under-18s featured in the starting line-up.
United took the lead just 30 seconds into the game when they quickly moved the ball up the pitch to Elanga in the left of the area who picked his shot to fire high up into the near corner.
It took just three minutes for the Rams to equalise. Dylan Williams sent a long throw into the box for Ibrahim to run on to. He controlled his first touch that bounced off his marker before a fine strike to fire high across goal and into the far corner.
After 31 minutes, the Rams took the lead through an absolutely stunning strike. Ozzie Aghatise won the ball back as he put his man under pressure by the corner flag. He picked out Cresswell on the edge of the area and the forward cut inside and curled a spectacular shot into the top corner.
The lead didn’t last long, however. United got back on level terms just three minutes later when the ball was crossed in from the left, Charlie McCann scuffed the initial shot, but it fell to Galbraith to strike from long-range.
Five minutes later and the visitors regained the lead. A ball was played through to Elanga who took aim. His shot was parried away by George Sykes-Kenworthy, but it landed into the path of Shoretide to slot in.
There was an opening for the Rams to equalise just before half time when Cresswell played a ball through the back line to Aghatise to go one-on-one with Matej Kovar, but the keeper got to it just before Aghatise could take aim.
However, it was the Red Devils who extended their lead. Shoretire turned provider when he played through to Forson to slot in.
United had a chance to extend their lead with a dangerous free-kick from a central position on the edge of the box after Shoretire was taken down. Three players stood behind it, but it was Elanga who elected to take and sent his effort well over the cross bar.
A fifth goal did come with just less than 20 minutes left to play. Elanga drove through the defence and fired in.
Moments later, Derby looked to equalise when Bobby Duncan ran on to Bardell’s cross, but the forward struck the post from close range.
Shoretire fired in the sixth goal with just more than ten minutes left to play to seal all three points. The Rams will have an opportunity to get redemption in a week’s time when they travel to face the Red Devils in the final game of the 2020/21 campaign.
Derby County: Sykes-Kenworthy, Bardell, Williams, Thompson, Bateman, Grewal-Pollard, Wilson (Plange, 0), Clarke, Cresswell, Aghatise (Duncan, 62), Ibrahim
Unused Subs: Yates, Brailsford, Solomon
Manchester United: Kovar, Taylor, Devine, Helm, Fish (Fernandez, 45), Galbraith (Wellens, 57), Shoretide, McCann, Elanga, Mejbri, Forson (Iqbal, 76)
Unused Subs: Mastny, McNeill