Derby were by far the better team in the Academy of Light sunshine and cruised to a comfortable, decisive 3-0 win against Sunderland Under-18s today.
After a rather dull opening spell, the visitors took the lead in the 17th minute from a well rehearsed set-piece.
The ball was hooked wide over the wall from a standing position and, when it was played back in, giant defender Fuseine Rashid reacted well to guide the bouncing ball past Sunderland keeper Michael Woud.
The hosts came back and striker Lee Connelly had a fierce, angled strike cleared from the line.
The Rams then proceeded to take over and only a great save by Woud, denying Derby’s Connor Dickson, prevented further scoring.
The Wearsiders were lucky still to be in the game at half-time, but all that changed two minutes after the break when Derby did double the lead.
Once again, fast passing unlocked the home defence and Jordan Mitchell side-footed low just inside the far post, past keeper Woud.
The Rams then proceeded to sit on their lead until five minutes from time when they added a third goal for good measure.
A free kick was floated in from the right and keeper Woud fatally elected to stay on his line, enabling Dickson to flick home precise header to confirm the superiority.
Sunderland coach Mark Atkinson was commendably honest in his appraisal saying: “Derby well deserved their win – they played with greater intensity throughout and got their just rewards.”
Sunderland: Woud, Howard, McAughtrie, Connolly, Young, Leonard (Dunne 53), Hackett, Connelly (Greenwood 85), Best (Scothern 72), Kimpioka. Subs not used: Devine, Patterson.