Danny Maye was delighted with Derby County Under-18s’ performance as they drew 2-2 with Manchester United at Moor Farm Training Ground on Saturday, with his side becoming the first team to take points off United all season.

The Rams set the tone early on as Cruz Allen picked up the ball 25-yards out and fired a brilliant effort into the bottom corner.

The away side equalised against the run of play later in the half, but Derby deservedly regained the lead half-way through the second half as captain Luke Banks headed home from a corner.

Despite United equalising in stoppage time late on, Maye’s side are still the first team to take points off the Red Devils in the league this term, as they previously boasted a perfect 14 wins from 14 games, which is something Maye says his team can take pride in.

He said: “Obviously the lads are disappointed not to get all three points, but the performance was excellent. To field a young team and be the first side to take a point off United is what they should focus on.

“We have our identity and the way we play, so we don’t do anything different (when preparing to play an unbeaten United side). It’s about seeing it as an opportunity; you don’t get the chance to play against a team that has picked up 14 straight wins too often, so it’s a chance to be the one to upset the odds and the lads did that really well today.”

The Rams were narrowly defeated 1-0 in the FA Youth Cup against United at Old Trafford in December, but Maye says his players learned from that experience: “It was a different team to the one that played in the Youth Cup, so perhaps they didn’t have the scars from it. A lot of them were around the squad and played, so we learnt bits from that game.

“You could see we kicked on from that performance at Old Trafford. We played very well and beat Middlesbrough recently, and to turn up like we did today and put in that performance shows the lads learnt from that experience.”

Maye was full of praise for Wales youth international Allen, who played an instrumental role in the team’s performance, first with a brilliant goal and then with a pinpoint assist for Banks’ goal.

“He’s a great lad, first and foremost,” Maye said. “He’s got a top attitude and he’s been really good for us.

“He probably had a bit of a dip in form going into the Christmas period, coming off against United at half-time in the FA Youth Cup, but ever since then he’s kicked on again and that shows his character. He has performed really well and every time he’s stepped up to the Under-21s he’s done the same, so I’m really pleased for him.”

Derby turn their attention to next Saturday’s long trip to Newcastle United in their next league fixture (1pm kick-off).

Maye says it’s important that conceding late on against United doesn’t dampen spirits and he explained: “The danger is, when conceding late, all the good work you’ve done, if you’re not careful, can feel like a loss. But we can’t do that; we’ve got to look at the quality of the performance we put in.

“We had so many chances to win it. It wasn’t like we were hanging in there; we were still pressing, still going after them and still creating chances so we’ve got to take all this into Newcastle.”

Words: Will Stanier