Derby County’s Under-23s secured top spot in Premier League Group C with a 2-1 victory at Charlton Athletic on Friday night.
Louie Watson and Osazee Aghatise were on target for Pat Lyons’ side at Dulwich Hamlet’s Champion Hill ground as they recorded their fourth win from five outings in the Premier League Cup this term.
Derby went into the clash against the Addicks with their qualification for the knock-out stages of the competition already confirmed after picking up three wins and a draw from their opening four Group C matches.
They knew a win over Charlton would see them secure top spot in the table with one game left to play and Lyons was able to call upon Jordan Brown after recovering from a knee injury, while Harrison Solomon was back on the bench following a spell out with a knee problem of his own.
Defender Kornell McDonald captained the side while midfielder Courtney Clarke made just his second start of the campaign.
Derby took the lead after just eight minutes as Republic of Irelander Under-21 international midfielder Watson opened the scoring from the penalty spot, after Isaac Hutchinson was brought down by Charlton goalkeeper Nathan Harvey in the box, to get the side off to a flying start and net his first goal of the campaign.
The home side, however, hit back to equalise through Dylan Gavin just after the hour mark as he drove the ball into the bottom corner beyond Harrison Foulkes.
Derby retook the lead with 67 minutes played as Aghatise, who has made two brief first-team appearances off the bench this term, netted his fourth goal of the campaign with a headed effort from Dylan Williams' cross from the left.
Derby County Under-23s: Foulkes (GK), McDonald (C), Williams, Brown (Solomon 69), Bardell, Grewal-Pollard, Hutchinson, Clarke (Matthews 69), Cybulski, Watson, Aghatise (De Gracia 80).
Substitute Not Used: Roberts (GK).
Derby’s Under-23s are back in Premier League 2 - Division 1 action on Monday evening when they head to York Community Stadium Leisure Complex to face Leeds United (7pm kick-off), while their final Premier League Cup Group C fixture will see them head to Reading on Monday 14th February (1pm kick-off).