Derby County are out of the FA Cup after falling to defeat at Non-League Chorley.
The National League North side took control of the tie as early as the tenth minute, through a close range header from forward Connor Hall, as Derby fielded a team largely comprising members of their academy due to a Covid-19 outbreak among their first-team.
The bulk of Derby’s players were teenagers making their first senior appearances in football – nine of the 11 that started had only played academy football prior to kickoff at Victory Park.
The Magpies, in what turned out to be a comfortable victory, doubled their lead with six minutes to go through Mike Calveley.
Youth Team coach Pat Lyons stood in for the game and presided over what was essentially a Derby youth team – the average age of the starting 11 on Saturday was 19.
Speaking to BBC Radio 5 live, Lyons revealed that a handful of his starting 11 where thrown in the deep end, after four players tested positive the day before match, causing several young players to be pressed in to service with little time to mentally prepare for the occasion.
“We’re disappointed not to get the result and the fairytale we wanted,” development coach Lyons said.
“We had four more players drop out yesterday and that meant more players who didn’t think they were playing were. We’re proud of every single one of them.”
He added: “You’ll never be able to take this away from those boys and the things they have learned today they will take into their future careers.”
Sixth-tier Chorley have already seen off two League One sides in Peterborough United and Wigan Athletic – the latter won the FA Cup during the 2012-13 season.
Magpies manager Jamie Vermiglio, speaking after the game, explained how vital the exposure the club has gotten will be and that the financial rewards will “save us.”
“I’m really proud of them and really pleased for the players who’ve put so much effort in this season. For a team who were bottom of National League North after four games with zero points, to get to round four is unbelievable,” he said.
“First and foremost, it’s the confidence it gives us – Chorley is on the map now and for us it’s a boost. We’re in the limelight and it’s good to be out there getting that publicity.
“Secondary is the financial side of it. We’ve made around £250,000 before today, goodness knows what it’ll be now.
“It’ll certainly be £300,000 or £400,000. We could possibly get to £500,000 now and for a club like us, not only does it save us, it enables us to grow.”