Middlesbrough Under-18s 0
Stoke City Under-18s 1 (Coban 87)
STOKE CITY’S Under-18s secured their first away win of the season on Saturday afternoon courtesy of Yusuf Coban’s late strike against Middlesbrough.
The German forward’s effort three minutes from time was enough for the Potters to claim all three points after dominating throughout.
John Perkins’ side hit the woodwork twice in the first half and restricted their hosts to very few chances as they thoroughly deserved the victory.
The Potters had started on the front foot from the off and after midfielder Kieran Monlouis had tried his luck from distance, right back Jake Cook forced Joe Fryer into a smart save after cutting inside onto his left foot before firing towards the bottom corner from just outside the penalty area.
Fellow full back Lee Pickerill was next to have an effort for the visitors and went narrowly close to giving City the lead when his free-kick from the corner of the box clipped the top of the crossbar before falling out of play.
Stoke continued to apply the pressure and hit the upright once again just minutes later when Johnville Renee-Pringle fed Charles Weston-Hayles in on goal and the forward saw his drive tipped onto the bar by the ‘keeper and away to safety.
Boro gradually grew into the game but didn’t really threaten the Stoke goal until the 33rd minute when Hungarian Under-17 international keeper Daniel Gyollai had to be at his best to push Jordan Jowers’ effort from the edge-of-the-area onto his crossbar.
The hosts had efforts either side of the interval through Matty Elsden and Junior Mondal but they were comfortably dealt with by Gyollai, before City went close through Kelvin Douglas’ deflected shot from 10 yards and Coban’s header on the penalty spot.
Middlesbrough’s only real clear-cut opportunity of the game fell to Luke Armstrong midway through the second period but after the left winger had been fed just inside the area, Gyollai was quick off his line to thwart the low drive with his feet.
Both managers made changes as the game drew to a close and it was Perkins’ decision to bring on Oli Roberts which proved to be pivotal in the 87th minute.
The former Stockport County midfielder played the ball over the top for Coban to chase onto and after beating Fryer to the ball, he took his time to steady himself before coolly firing low into the bottom right-hand corner and claim victory for the Potters.
Middlesbrough: Fryer, Helm, McGinley, Wheatley, Elsden, McNab, Mondal (O’Neill 70), Patterson, Armstrong (Hetherington 75), Chapman, Jowers.
Stoke City: Gyollai, Cook, Edwards, Sanders, Pickerill (Banks 83), Douglas, Monlouis, Shenton, Renee-Pringle (Roberts 81) Coban, Weston-Hayles.