Kenji Gorre drilled a low drive past Ross Etheridge to open the scoring but the keeper came off best in their next duel and Ashley Fletcher's rebound was blocked. Adam Wixted blasted an excellent equaliser just before the half-time whistle but the Reds started the second half superbly with substitute Demetre Mitchell rounding off a solo run with a fine curling finish.
Wixted's progressive approach play led to Max Lowe levelling matters again but United had chances to regain the lead for a third time.
Mitchell and Fletcher were just off target with efforts and Devonte Redmond saw a deliberate attempt saved before Derby went in front when Rhys Sharpe forced home following a set-piece. Effrende Zanzala's shot beat Dean Henderson and touched a post on the way in to wrap up the goalscoring but there was plenty to admire from both young sides.
United: Pereira (Henderson 46); Wilkinson, Borthwick-Jackson, Dalley, Riley; Harrop (Mitchell 21), Goss, Willock (McTominay 72), Redmond (Croskery 72); Gorre; Fletcher.