Jack Butland in action at the AMEX Stadium
Image by: BHAFC/Paul Hazlewood
21:00 10th April 2017
Side lose six match unbeaten run in Brighton...
JACK BUTLAND stepped up his match fitness by playing the full 90 minutes as Stoke City's U23s fell to a late 2-0 defeat at Brighton & Hove Albion on Monday evening.
The 6ft 5in shot-stopper pulled off a number of smart saves in his first outing since picking up an ankle injury 13 months ago but could do nothing to stop the hosts claiming all three points.
Forward James Tilley and defender Tyler Hornby-Forbes struck well-taken goals in the 84th and 89th minutes respectively to send the Potters to their first league defeat in seven matches and deny Butland what would have been a deserved clean sheet on his return to competitive action.
On a mild evening at the AMEX Stadium both sides created a chance apiece to take an early lead, however the two keepers came out on top when Niki Maenppa held onto Jack Devlin’s curling effort, before Butland raced off his line to deny Tilley on the edge of his area.
The two teams continued to fashion chances as the first period continued with City’s Eddy Lecygne firing a Mark Waddington pull back from distance into Maenppa’s gloves, while down at the other end Butland was called into much more telling action either side of the midway point.
The England keeper moved his feet quickly on his goalline to be able push to away Richie Towell’s free-kick from 20 yards, before the 24-year-old charged towards an onrushing Jordan Davies to tighten the angle and make a save at the midfielder’s feet.
With the half drawing to a close, the Potters had a real chance to make the breakthrough when Daniel Jarvis played the ball into Tyrese Campbell’s path and the striker moved it onto his left foot before lashing high and wide inside the area.
City came out for the second half on the front foot and Campbell was to have their first chance of the second period when Mark Waddington raced down the right and whipped a ball into his path, but the striker’s downward header from 12 yards was easily gathered by the keeper.
Butland then claimed a crisp free-kick from Davies out on the right, before City had appeals for a penalty turned down as the game entered the final quarter when Lewis Banks went to ground just inside the area following heavy pressure from a home defender.
Just as the game was petering out for a goalless, the Seagulls swooped late on to claim the win. Firstly Tilley expertly diverted George Cox’s deep cross past Butland from a few yards out, while a minute from time Hornby-Forbes was played in and the right-back fired low and hard into the bottom corner.
Stoke City: Butland, Banks (c), T Edwards, Lecygne, Silva, Souttar, Waddington (Telford 65), Hill, Campbell, Devlin (Edwards 65), Jarvis. Unused Subs: Isted, Sorensen.