Our under-23s secured a third consecutive victory in the Premier League 2 on Friday night as they ran out 3-1 winners over Derby County.
Pablo Mari played 45 minutes for the first time since recovering from injury, while Ben Cottrell and Miguel Azeez both started, having been named in our matchday squad for the first team the night before.
We made a strong start and opened the scoring inside 13 minutes, when Cottrell’s defence-splitting pass found Kido Taylor-Hart inside the area and forced a foul from Kornell MacDonald.
Cottrell, who captained the side in the absence of Folarin Balogun, stepped up and duly converted from the spot, firing down the middle.
Shortly after the visitors had a chance of their own from 12 yards. Josh Shonibare won the penalty after a driving run into the area, but Arthur Okonkwo was on hand to deny Jahmal Hector-Ingram with a fine diving save.
Derby found themselves back on level terms before the break, though, when Jordan Brown capitalised on a lapse in concentration to fire home from close range.
But it didn’t take us long to restore our lead, with Nikolaj Moller once again making the difference. Catalin Cirjan received the ball on the edge of the area and slipped through our No 9, who took a touch before finding the bottom corner.
Taylor-Hart, making his first start for our under-23s, then went on to further our advantage by finishing a stunning team move. William Saliba stepped forward into midfield and fed Azeez, who switched play and received it once more on the edge of the area, before feeding Taylor-Hart, who cut inside from the left and fired into the cop corner.
WHAT IT MEANS
Up next, Steve Bould’s side will face Leicester City on Friday, December 18.
The game will take place at Meadow Park with kick-off at 7pm (UK time).
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