Albion typically have played with a three-man back line this season at under-18 level, but a shift to 4-4-2 formation for the tie against the Rams paid dividends and provided the platform for an excellent 2-1 win in the east Midlands thanks to goals from Jack Leahy and Teddy Jenks.
He said, “I said it would be our toughest game of the season after watching them on videos, they have really dangerous players with a lot of creativity.
“We changed our tactics tonight and played 4-4-2 instead of our usual 3-5-2 system to deal with that and try to exploit them in the wide areas.
“Both of our goals came from crosses and we’re really pleased it came off. It was a dogged defensive display and the boys can be proud of themselves.”
Beard was also keen to highlight the significance of the result given the fact his side had recently been away from the field over the festive break, and praised the levels they showed against the Rams.
“We were good right across the field with our work rate out of possession, composed on the ball when we had it too,” he continued.
“The boys worked hard and it meant they [Derby] didn’t create much at all. They’ve come back off a 12-day break over Christmas and sometimes it can take a little bit longer to get back up to speed, but the boys have done a great job at a fantastic level.”