Derby County’s Under-23s were beaten 1-0 by Tottenham Hotspur in their final home fixture of the 2021/22 season on Monday evening.
Jamie Bowden’s first-half goal was the difference between the two sides in what was a tight Premier League 2 - Division 1 encounter at Pride Park Stadium.
In a game of few chances the Rams pushed hard but it was the visitors who picked up all three points.
Pat Lyons named a youthful Rams side with Under-18s winger Carlos Richards and midfielder Darren Robinson, who were both on the bench for the first team against Bristol City on Saturday, named in the starting line-up.
Jack Stretton led the side as captain while Alex Matthews was offered an opportunity to impress from the start in central midfield.
Derby’s Under-23s, already condemned to life in Premier League 2 - Division 2 next season following a challenging campaign as a result of the Rams’ well-documented off the field issues, started steadily although chances were few and far between in the opening exchanges.
Their best moment of the half came through a good move down the right-hand side just after the half hour mark. Right Kornell McDonald delivered a fine cross into the box towards Stretton, but a Tottenham defender managed to get back ahead of the Rams’ striker to clear the danger from inside the six-yard box.
With the first period set to end goalless, the visitors took the lead in the final minute of the first half through Bowden, although the goal had an element of fortuity about it. Goalkeeper Harry Evans had done well to push Niall John’s initial low strike onto the post, but Spurs’ captain was in the right place at the right time to drive the rebound into the back of the net from close range.
Evans kept the visitors at bay, and Derby in the game, with a smart save from Romaine Mundle on the hour mark with the start of the second half following the same similar pattern to the opening 45 minutes in terms of chances being limited at both ends.
Derby came close to equalising with just over ten minutes remaining as substitute Tyree Wilson found himself in space inside the box to get a shot away, but he was unable to direct his effort on target from a tight angle as the ball drifted wide for the far post.
Wilson had another chance late on as Lyons’ side continued to chase an equaliser. The lively winger was, however, unable to find a way past Thimothee Lo-Tutala in the Tottenham goal as the goalkeeper shot off his line to smother his effort inside the six-yard box.
Despite their late rally, Derby were unable to break the visitors down and were left with nothing to show for their efforts.
Derby’s Under-23s will return to action with a trip to West Ham United’s London Stadium on Monday 2nd May (7pm kick-off).
Derby County Under-23s: Evans (GK), McDonald, Grewal-Pollard, Matthews, Solomon, Clarke, Richards (Wilson 62), Robinson (Bates 86), Stretton (C), Aghatise (Ibrahim 80), Shonibare.
Substitutes Not Used: Foulkes (GK), Brailsford.
Tottenham Hotspur Under-23s: Lo-Tutala (GK), Cesay, Lavinier, Bowden (C), Fagan-Walcott, Muir, Mundle, Craig, Robson (Bennett 72), John (Donley 72), Alonso (Lusala 87).
Substitutes Not Used: Oluwayemi (GK), Paskotsi.