There wasn't much to choose between the sides in the Premier League 2 table before kick-off with us one place and one point behind the Rams in seventh – and in truth it was hard to separate the teams on a frustrating evening where chances were few and far between.
We put more of an emphasis on trying to carve out chances but were found wanting in that respect as Derby's stern defence forced the ball into wide areas from where we were unable to capitalise.
The Rams had a small handful of opportunities in the first period, the first one from Thomas well saved by Brandon Austin, but neither side created much after the interval, aside from when Thomas managed to whizz the ball in from the right with the aid of a deflection to give Derby a 1-0 advantage on 56 minutes.
Attacking changes followed from us but we still couldn't breach the home defence, with Marcus Edwards' free-kick eight minutes from time – well stopped by keeper Josh Barnes – the closest we went to equalising.
SAVE: EXCELLENT WORK FROM AUSTIN EARLY ON - 5mins
The biggest chance of the first half came inside five minutes but goalkeeper Austin prevented Derby from taking it. After Luke Amos was caught in possession, Emil Jakobsen played Thomas clean through the middle but his shot was at a good height for the advancing Austin to fling out his right arm and claw it away. Centre-back Japhet Tanganga made a vital block from Jakobsen moments later after Austin was clattered as he tried to claim Callum Guy's free-kick. Derby had a couple of half-chances after that as the ball fell for both Guy and Max Bird to have a go from just inside the area but neither could find the target, while Ryan Loft wasn't getting much joy up top for us, sometimes finding himself dragged wide as we tried to press the Rams from half-way.
Above: Marcus Edwards roams forward.
GOAL: DERBY COUNTY 1-0 SPURS - LUKE THOMAS - 56mins
The second period looked like a slow burner until Edwards played Keanan Bennetts into space down the left and his angled drive glanced off the top of the crossbar on its way behind just over 10 minutes after the restart. But less than a minute later it was 1-0 to Derby as the ball was worked to Thomas in the right channel and his drive across goal took a wicked deflection off defender Christian Maghoma and wrong-footed Austin.
FREE-KICK: EDWARDS DENIED AN EQUALISER - 82mins
George Marsh had to be alert to hack the ball away with the goal gaping after Ethan Wassall's downward header back across goal from a free-kick before we went close with a set piece of our own. Edwards, felled 20 yards out, curled over the wall but Barnes got across to his right to beat it away.
COACH WAYNE BURNETT SAID
"Some individual performances weren't up to standard and there were a lot of them. A lot of our players didn't perform how we expect them to perform and how they expect to perform. There wasn't an intensity to our game like there usually is and I'm very disappointed with the result, but more disappointed with the performance.
"The goal was a catalogue of errors. We've not got into our shape quick enough, not covered quick enough, we were too deep, people haven't gone with their runners and if you don't fulfil your responsibilities and do the basics on the pitch, you're going to get punished and that's what happened for the goal. Did we have lots of the ball? Yes we did. Did we really hurt them in any way? No. The quicker we move on, the better, but when I say move on, we have to address this, we have to get better for sure and we have to do that very quickly. I can't keep talking about the same things week in, week out. It was not a good performance tonight."
Derby County: Barnes, Stabana, Lowe, Hanson (Bateman 68), Wassall, Shackell, Thomas (Walker 86), Bird, Jakobsen (Vernam 75), Guy, Babos (c). Substitutes (not used): Ravas, Cover.
Spurs: Austin, Marsh, Bennetts, Skipp (Pritchard 46), C Maghoma, Tanganga, S Shashoua (Tracey 63), Amos (c), Loft (Sterling 71), Edwards, Harrison. Substitutes (not used): Whiteman, Roles.
Goal: Derby - Thomas 56.
Yellow cards: Derby - Shackell 54; Spurs - Amos 77.
Referee: Glen Hart.
Some of the players in this group are eligible to feature against Real Madrid in the UEFA Youth League next Wednesday. Our next official Under-23s game takes place on Tuesday 14 November when we host Villarreal at Stevenage in the Premier League International Cup, kick-off 7pm.