Laurent Koscielny played 45 minutes on his return from injury on Monday night as our under-23s were beaten 5-0 by Derby County.
Lining up with three at the back, there were few chances in the opening exchanges as both sides battled hard for possession in midfield.
Tyreece John-Jules eventually found an opening on the edge of the box, but his goalbound effort was cleared to safety, before Derby’s Louie Sibley rattled the crossbar from 20 yards.
Daniel Ballard and Koscielny continued to clear every cross that came their way, but it was the hosts who opened the scoring. Tolaji Bola brought down Jayden Lawson inside the box - and George Thorne made no mistake from 12 yards.
We came close to an instant response when Cohen Bramall delivered a dangerous ball across the face of goal into the path of Trae Coyle, but his goalbound effort was cleared off the line.
Koscielny saw plenty of the ball in the first half and made a number of probing passes - but our skipper was replaced at the break by Jordi Osei-Tutu, who was also making his return from injury.
Freddie Ljungberg would have hoped to see more from his side in the final third after the interval, but just two minutes in the Rams had doubled their advantage through Cameron Cresswell.
Shortly after there was a five-minute spell of chaos as three players were dismissed by the referee.
Osei-Tutu and George Thorne were sent off in the 55th minute for an altercation - and less than five minutes later Daniel Ballard also saw red for a lunge.
It was a frustrating evening for us and we went on to concede three more. Jason Knight fired a first-time effort into the top right corner, before Sibley scored twice from close range.
WHAT IT MEANS
We remain in sixth place in the PL2 table
Our next PL2 fixture is against Liverpool on Saturday, December 8.
The game will take place at Liverpool FC Academy with kick-off at 3pm (UK time).
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