Derby County youngsters defeat Manchester City to book place against Chelsea in next round of the FA Youth Cup
DERBY County pulled off a big shock in the FA Youth Cup at Pride Park Stadium last night – knocking out Manchester City to set up a home quarter-final showdown with Chelsea.
Republic of Ireland youth international Adam Wixted put the Rams ahead just after half-time and a late free kick from defender Jamie Hanson sealed a deserved victory over big-spending City.
Derby were without the services of England Under-21 international and first-team regular Will Hughes due to a groin injury.
However, striker Mason Bennett and Hanson – both part of Nigel Clough's senior squad at Watford on Saturday – started for the Rams as Darren Wassall named the same side that beat Ipswich Town in the previous round.
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With members of the first-team squad and coaching staff watching from the stands, the hosts had to soak up some early pressure – but they almost took the lead in the eighth minute.
Wixted slipped a pass inside to Bennett, who found himself clear of the City defence, only to see his low shot come back off the post.
Midfielder Wixted then twice fired narrowly wide from distance as Derby's belief slowly grew.
The Rams were keeping their illustrious opponents largely quiet, though Olivier Ntcham wasted a good chance after 25 minutes – his wayward shot clearing the bar after Portuguese starlet Marcos Lopes had fizzed in a cross from the left.
Derby went close again in the 34th minute when a free kick from the left skimmed off the head of City defender Shay Facey and landed inches wide of his own net, with keeper Ian Lawlor stranded.
The Rams were starting to look comfortable in possession and they were applauded off the pitch when the half-time whistle sounded.
Their momentum was not interrupted by the break, though, and they broke the deadlock less than two minutes into the second half.
Bennett burst past his man on the left and delivered a cross for Kwame Thomas.
He controlled neatly before seeing his angled shot pushed away by Lawlor but only into the path of Wixted, who found the net from close range.
The goal seemed to spark City into life and substitute Kean Bryan forced Ross Etheridge into a smart save low to his right moments after coming on.
From the corner that followed, Devante Cole headed just wide.
Cole could not believe he had missed the target and he squandered another presentable opportunity in the 73rd minute, blazing over after being teed up by Sinan Bytiqi.
City were reduced to 10 men with six minutes remaining when Jose Angel Pozo was sent off following an off-the-ball clash with Hanson, who had just cleaned up the Spanish youth international with a hard but fair tackle.
Hanson then compounded the visitors' misery in the 89th minute, when his free kick proved too hot for Lawlor to handle.
DERBY COUNTY: Etheridge, Hayes, Lelan, Hanson, Lowe, Dales, Dawkins, Wixted (Revan, 83), Sharpe (Wassall, 90+5), Thomas (Rawson, 90+7), Bennett. Other subs: Vernam, Johnson.
MANCHESTER CITY: Lawlor, Facey, Plummer, Bossaerts, Leigh, Ntcham (Bryan, 56), Evans (Glendon, 90+4), Bytyqi, Pozo, Lopes (McHale, 90+2), Cole. Other subs: Gunn (gk), Marin.
REFEREE: D Ford (Lincolnshire).