Derby County Under-23s fell to a 2-0 defeat against Sheffield United in their penultimate pre-season friendly ahead of the 2021/22 Premier League 2 - Division 1 season on Saturday.
Numerous players got a full 90 minutes under their belts in Pat Lyons’ side including Harrison Solomon, Ozzie Aghatise and Courtney Clarke as preparations for the new season were ramped up.
However, a brace from Hassan Ayari secured the victory for the Blades at Moor Farm Training Ground.
The Rams had an early look at the goal through a set-piece, when Jordan Brown’s corner delivery from the left was played back across goal from Aghatise to head just over the cross bar from close range.
However, after 11 minutes, it was the visitors who took the lead after quick movement of the ball in the area. The ball was played to Frankie Maguire to fire across goal for Ayari to fire in from close range.
Midway through the half, Derby had another opportunity through a corner. Brown’s delivery wasn’t properly cleared by the Blades and the ball eventually made it’s way to Luke Plange in front of goal to head on target. His effort was palmed away before it was cleared.
Another chance fell for the visitors with ten minutes left to play in the opening half when they were awarded a free kick from 25 yards out. Angelo Cappello opted to take aim and rattled his effort off the far post.
There was time for one final chance for the Rams in the final minute of the half when they were awarded a free-kick. Andres de Gracia took it from the right side of the area, but good defending saw it cleared for a corner. Seb Thompson got a header on the resulting set piece, but it was a comfortable save to end the half.
Immediately after the break, the Blades extended their lead. They broke quickly down the middle of the pitch to set up Ayari to send a composed strike from the edge of the area past Harrison Foulkes.
The Rams kept looking for a break through, and on the 60-minute mark I almost came through Plange. He received the ball outside the area and turned to shoot, but his effort sailed past the far post from 25 yards out.
Just moments later, Seb Thompson made a good run to the edge of the area, before he was brought down and awarded a free-kick. Brown stepped up to take it, but sent it over the cross bar.
Derby were unable to break through the Blades’ defence for the remainder of the game. They will have one final run out next Sunday against Middlesbrough at Moor Farm.
Derby County: Foulkes, Bardell (Brailsford, 75), Grewal-Pollard, Matthews (Robinson, 75), Solomon, Brown (Moloney, 65), de Gracia (Richards, 75), Clarke, Plange, Aghatise, Thompson (Nicholas-Davies, 75)
Unused Subs: Roberts.