A goal either side of the break saw Derby U23s take three points away from the Leyland County Ground in a disappointing defeat for Rovers.
Goals from Cameron Cresswell and Will Grewal-Pollard meant Rovers remain third in the Premier League 2 table, one point behind second-placed Tottenham Hotspurs.
Billy Barr made four changes from their draw with Liverpool on Monday. Louie Annesley, Connor McBride, Jared Harlock and trialist Luke Nock (from Rochdale) all came into the side, with Sam Barnes, Dan Butterworth, Sam Durrant and Jake Garrett dropping out the side – the latter two taking a place on the bench.
It was an even opening twenty minutes, with the visitors having the first notable chance as Josh Shonibare crossed for Tyree Wilson, but Antonis Stergiakis was there to save with his legs.
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The visitors continued to control proceedings and they took the lead with around ten minutes left of the half as a corner from the left was met by Cresswell, who powered past Stergiakis to give Derby the lead.
Cresswell then headed wide at the back post, before Stergiakis denied two Derby players, first saving Thompson and then putting Shonibare’s shot over the bar.
Rovers were the ones to have a notable chance first after the break, as Dan Pike was a well-hit strike deflected wide.
The hosts pushed for an equaliser as Lenni Rae Cirino saw an effort blocked on the line, but Derby threatened at the other end soon after as Stergiakis saved from Cresswell.
Unfortunately for Rovers, Grewal-Pollard leapt the highest to head home from Thompson’s corner, condemning Billy Barr’s side to defeat.
Rovers return to action on Friday as they make the trip to the capital to take on fourth-placed Chelsea.
Rovers: Stergiakis, Pike, Saadi, Annesley (c), Cirino, Nock (Garrett 59′), Harlock, Nolan (Baker 76′), Whitehall (Durrant 86′), McBride, Burns.
Subs not used: Eastham, Gilsenan.
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