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Spirited Potters Bow Out

Jordan Greenidge scores for Stoke City U18s

Image by: Phil Greig

PUBLISHED

21:45 3rd April 2017

Under-18s exit FA Youth Cup...

STOKE CITY’S Under-18s bowed out of the FA Youth Cup at the semi-final stage following a two-legged 9-2 defeat at the hands of last season’s beaten finalists Manchester City.

After a 6-0 loss in the first leg at the Etihad Campus, Kevin Russell’s men battled spiritly in the second affair and despite being on the wrong side of a 3-2 scoreline can take plenty of pride from their display against one of the best teams in world football.

On the night at the bet365 Stadium it was a tale of two strikers with first leg hat-trick hero Lukas Nmecha netting a trio of strikes once again for the Citizens, while Potters forward Jordan Greenidge bagged a well-taken and deserved brace in an entertaining return fixture.

It was the visitors who were quick out of the blocks in North Staffordshire and made a perfect start to proceedings on the night when they took the lead within 180 seconds when a right wing cross was swept home by Nmecha from close range.

Russell’s side didn’t allow the early goal to fluster them and they went about pulling the second leg level, creating a number of good opportunities, without reply, before the 20 minute mark.

Thomas Edwards and Tyrese Campbell combined to tee up Lasse Sorensen who fired wide on the edge of the area, while Cameron McJannett couldn’t quite mange to apply a clean connection to a wicked cross to the far post by Edwards.

Campbell then curled over from the 20 yards after good work from strike partner Greenidge, before the pair linked up once more with the latter driving a powerful drive off target.

The hard-working Greenidge was duly rewarded for his efforts in the 25th minute when the Potters broke away to devastating efforts. After Rachid Balde released Edwards down the right, the Stafford-born full back whipped a fantastically weighted ball into Greenidge’s path and the forward volleyed over Aro Muric from 14 yards.

Having worked so hard to draw the score level on the night, the Potters were behind less than 60 seconds later as the visitors slide in Nmecha who powered the ball into the roof of the net for his second of the evening and fifth of the tie.

The Potters steadied themselves and almost drew level for a second time when Campbell won possession midway inside the opposition half before charging towards goal and firing straight into the grateful gloves of Muric.

As the half entered the final few minutes Potters keeper Mitchel Allen was required to push away Jacob Davenport’s rasping 25-yard free-kick, before Greenidge directed McJannett’s left wing cross off target when well placed.

Lee Carsley’s outfit began the second period in much the same vein as they started the first and within two minutes of the restart, Allen was required to tip a long range Phil Foden drive over his crossbar.

Despite the visitors’ bright start to the second 45, the home side were able to slow the contest down and in the 58th minute Edwards weaved his way past his marker on the right before surging into the area and firing an angled drive just wide of the upright.

No sooner had Russell’s men looked like equalising for a second time, the Citizen’s stepped up a gear and scored for a third time through that man Nmecha. Having been fouled inside the area by Harry Souttar, the forward dusted himself down to covert from 12 yards and complete his hat-trick.

To their credit, the Potters never once gave up throughout the contest and former Manchester City striker Campbell almost bagged himself an eight goal in this season’s competition when he directed Souttar’s towering header just wide of the far post.

Allen was then called into action to push away substitute Ian Carlo Poveda-Ocampo’s drive from distance, before Greenidge fired straight at Muric with 12 minutes remaining after being set free inside the area.

The striker did see his next opportunity find the back of the net however when Szereto’s fired a short corner across the box which deflected into the path of Greenidge who fired low and hard inside the next post.

The Potters almost grabbed what would have been a deserved equaliser as the fourth official’s board was lifted to signal additional time but Campbell’s turn and shot on the edge of the area flew narrowly wide.

Stoke City: Allen, Edwards, McJannett (Twyford 65) Cherdieu, Souttar, Da Silva, Dunwoody, Balde, Greenidge, Campbell, Sorensen (Szereto 75). Unused subs: Deczki, Butler, Da Silva Manteiro.

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