Derby County’s Under-23s bowed out of the Premier League Cup at the Quarter Final stage on Sunday afternoon against West Bromwich Albion.

Derby were beaten 4-3 by the Baggies at Pride Park Stadium as they impressive journey in the competition saw them miss out on a place in the Semi-Finals.

Midfielder Osazee Aghatise put the Rams ahead early on with a fine strike from the edge of the box, but the visitors turned the game on its head courtesy of strikes from Jamie Andrews and Jovan Malcolm, only for skipper Louie Watson’s strike in added time at the end of the first half to restore parity.

Derby missed a chance to go back in front as Jack Stretton’s penalty just before the hour hit the crossbar and the visitors went on to make the Rams pay as defender Zac Ashworth’s quickfire double after the hour left them with a mountain to climb.

Louie Sibley pulled a goal back with just over ten minutes left to set up a dramatic finale, but ultimately it was a step too far for the Rams as Albion progressed to the final four, leaving them to focus on their Premier League 2 - Division 1 survival mission.

Under-23s boss Pat Lyons named first team attacking duo Louie Sibley and Stretton in the starting line-up while striker Bartosz Cybulski, who came off the bench late on yesterday afternoon for Wayne Rooney’s side in their 2-1 loss at Swansea City, was in the side from the off.

Under-18s winger Carlos Richards was also named as a substitute, as he was for the first team some 24 hours beforehand for the first time in his young career.

Lyons’ side started on the front foot and Aghatise went close inside the opening ten minutes with a fine run and shot from the edge of the area which Albion goalkeeper Ronnie Hollingshead was able to parry before gathering the ball at the second attempt.

Aghatise opened the scoring midway through the half in superb fashion with another effort from distance to round off a positive passage of play by the Rams. He created room for himself on the edge of the box and, with his right foot, he curled a fine effort into the bottom corner despite Hollingshead getting a hand to the ball.

Despite Derby seemingly in control, Albion hit back to equalise after 36 minutes with Andrews letting fly with a left-foot strike from 20 yards out which flashed across goalkeeper Harry Evans and into the bottom corner of the net.

The Rams went on to find themselves 2-1 behind late in the half after Andrews found time and space inside the box to thunder a powerful effort past Evans, who had no little chance as the ball flew beyond him before he could move.

Derby reacted immediately and equalised in added time at the end of the half as Watson fired a composed effort from the edge of the penalty area low beyond the despairing dive of Hollingshead to conclude a breathless opening 45 minutes.

After a quiet start to the second half, the Rams had the chance to re-take the lead through Stretton from the penalty spot just before the hour. Substitute Josh Shonibare, on for Cybulski at the break was fouled in the box - but the frontman saw his effort smack against the bar and back into play.

It was a miss that Derby were made to rue as a few moments later as Albion re-took the lead through Ashworth’s low strike in a crowded penalty area.

The left-back went on to add another to make it 4-2 shortly afterwards from a few yards out after substitute Mo Faal hit the crossbar.

The quickfire double left Derby with too much to do in the closing half an hour as Albion sat onto their lead.

Sibley pulled a goal back with 79 minutes on the clock to set up a dramatic ending, driving the ball low past the stationary Hollingshead with his left foot from around 18 yards out with his trusted left foot.

Despite pushing for a late leveller, the Rams weren’t able to get back level once again and their run in the Premier League Cup for the 2021/22 season came to an end.

Derby’s Under-23s return to action on Easter Friday with a trip across the East Midlands to face Leicester City at the King Power Stadium in Premier League 2 - Division 1 (1pm kick-off).

Derby County Under-23s: Evans (GK), McDonald, Grewal-Pollard, Watson (C), Robinson, Clarke, Dixon, Aghatise (Nunn 68), Cybulski (Shonibare 46), Sibley, Stretton.

Substitutes Not Used: Solomon, Roberts (GK), Richards.

West Bromwich Albion Under-23s: Hollingshead (GK), Ingram, Ashworth, M Richards, Taylor (C), Nguepissi, De Castro (R Richards 60), Teixeira, Malcolm (Faal 60), Andrews, Fellows (Shaw 90).

Substitutes Not Used: Chisholm, Windsor.