Derby Reserves 1 4 Crystal Palace Reserves
Rams:- Atkins, Turner, Vincent, Chapman, Mills, Martin, Taylor(Booth 64), Barnes, Junior, Peschisolido (Cassidy 72), Reich.
Subs:- Young, Nix.
Palace:- Wilkinson, Wilson, Wiggins, Watson (Watanabe 71), Hudson (Welch 62), Togwell, Berry, Danze, Freedman, Andrews Grabban 63), Hall.
Subs:- Banks, Spence.
With the first team out of action Steve Taylor had the seeming luxury of naming a star studded line-up to take on high flyers Crystal Palace.
He did, however, have two unexpected names in the side in 15 year old keeper Ross Atkins who was forced into the side after a training ground injury denied him the services of Lee Grant. Also playing was trialist Andrew Chapman a midfield player from Watford.
Despite the apparent lack of experience in the visiting side - only the name of one-time Forest forward Dougie Freedman would have been known to the majority of the crowd - it was the visitors who started the brighter.
Pablo Miills had to block an early free kick at the near post targeted for Wayne Andrews, while a Ryan Hall corner shaved the cross bar while the home defence did little more than watch.
Marco Reich was unable to provide the breakthrough with his free kick from the right, or shortly afterwards with his cutback from the left that was too acute for his fellow forwards as the two teams battled for dominance.
The visitors took the lead on the quarter hour mark profiting from uncertainty in the heart of the home defence which allowed Wayne Andrews to power his way into a scoring position before lashing home a shot that gave the inexperienced Ross Atkins little chance of stopping.
The youngster showed precisely what he was capable of 7 minutes later as he made a tremendous save to deny Andrews.
Sadly it was all to no avail as Palace went further ahead ahead after 30 minutes as Danny Martin brought down the bull dozing Andrews in the box, allowing Freedman to convert the spot kick.
The Rams seemed effectively out of the contest 5 minutes later Martin could only misdirect his clearing header to the feet of Andrews who took the ball past Atkins before scoring.
Ironically the goal came only seconds after Junior had gone close at the other end.
It was left to a vital interception by Chris Turner to deny Andrews a first half hat trick. While Reich's stoppage time through ball was close to providing Taylor with a chance.
The visitors dominated the second half but were twice denied by the Rams defence. Another excellent Atkins save and a goal line clearance from Martin. keeping the score down to a recoverable level.
Paul Peschisolido looked to have been harshly treated by the referee when denied a decent penalty claim after being bundled over. The Canadian had already stung the fingers of the visiting keeper with a cracking drive minutes earlier.
The Rams looked to have given themselves a chance of a grandstand finish when Junior nodded a cross from substitute David Cassidy home on 81 minutes. But Anthony Danze restored the three goal margin to leave a Rams eleven that had looked first class on paper second rate.