Derby County sent Manchester City tumbling out of the FA Youth Cup last night at Pride Park 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 members of Nigel Clough’s senior squad at Watford on Saturday – started for the Rams as Darren Wassall named an unchanged side to the one that defeated Ipswich in the last round.
In front of a crowd of over a thousand and with onlookers including members of the first-team squad and coaching staff, Derby almost grabbed an early lead on 8 minutes Mason Bennett rattled the woodwork.
At that stage a lead would’ve flattered the home team who were forced to defend against a City side adept at keeping possession.
However, when Oliver Ntcham wasted a golden opportunity to put the visitors ahead on 25 minutes – the Rams slowly started to gain the upper hand. Midfielder Wixted fired two efforts wide from distance and City defender Shay Facey almost put through his own net when defending a set-piece.
Their momentum was not interrupted by the half-time interval and they took a deserved lead 2 minutes after the restart when Wixted followed up a Kwame Thomas shot to finish from close range.
Stung by the goal City responded with vigour. Kean Bryan forced Ross Etheridge into a smart save low to his just moments after entering the fray as a 56th minute substitute.
From the corner that followed, Devante Cole headed wide. The son of former England international Andy, then blazed over in the 73rd minute after being teed up by Sinan Bytiqi.
City’s hopes of forcing an equaliser though were dashed when Jose Angel Pozo, a big money signing from Real Madrid, took the law into his own hands and retaliated to a Hanson tackle that was hard but fair.
Hanson then compounded a bad night for visitors by sweeping in a last minute free-kick to make it 2-0.