Derby County U21 are swept aside by strong Crewe Alexandra team
DERBY County fell to only their third defeat of the season in Division Two North of the Under-21 Professional Development League yesterday.
After an even first half, Derby were swept aside after the interval by a strong Crewe Alexandra side.
Max Clayton, former Rams striker Nathan Ellington and Brendon Daniels scored in Crewe's 3-0 victory at the League One club's Reaseheath training ground.
Goalkeeper Ross Atkins and defender Tom Naylor, back from loan spells at Burton Albion and Bradford City respectively, started for Derby, as did Ben Davies, but there was no Kieron Freeman or Valentin Gjokaj.
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Right-back Freeman could be needed by the first team at Hull City tonight, while centre-half Gjokaj is likely to be on the bench.
Andy Dales twice went close for Derby in the opening 45 minutes, while at the other end, Ryan Colclough's low shot was kept out by Atkins.
Crewe almost took the lead when Clayton raided on the left and pulled the ball back perfectly for Daniels, whose shot was destined for the net until it struck team-mate Ellington close to the line.
Crewe took the lead eight minutes after the break. Andy White released Michael West, who picked out Clayton whose first-time finish gave Atkins no chance.
Colclough put a free header wide a minute later as Crewe started to turn the screw.
Derby's three substitutions around the hour left them with virtually an under-18 side on the pitch. Crewe, with a number of players with first-team experience this season, took full advantage.
Atkins denied Colclough before Crewe doubled their lead after 72 minutes.
West's corner dropped to the near post where the ball struck Ellington but the striker, who is training with Crewe, reacted quickly with a close-range finish.
Much of Derby's second-half play was predictable and too easy for Crewe to read.
The third goal arrived eight minutes from time when Daniels thumped in a shot.
CREWE ALEXANDRA U21s: Martin; White, Robertson (Appleton, 46), Turton, Ray, Guthrie, West, Colclough (Waters, 73), Ellington (H Clayon, 78), M Clayton, Daniels. Other subs: Garrett, Nolan.
DERBY COUNTY U21s: Atkins; Hayes, Adams, Naylor, Hoganson (Lelan, 58); Davies (Dawkins, 58), Dales, Hanson, Wixted; Doyle (Sharpe, 58), Thomas. Other sub: Morch (gk)
Referee: J Dowd.