Stoke City Under 21s 2012-13
Image by: Phil Greig
STOKE CITY’S Elite Development Squad ran into the juggernaut that was Newcastle United and lost 5-1 in their latest Barclays Under-21s Premier League Group 2 match.
A hat-trick from Bradden Inman on top of goals from Marcus Maddison and Jonathan Hooper gave the rampant Magpies an emphatic win, with a trialist forward netting a consolation for City.
The visitors were the better side throughout and at times produced the kind of football that coach Peter Beardsley would have been proud of in his heyday.
Stoke struggled to contain them but couldn’t have been faulted for effort in front of a small but enthusiastic crowd at the Britannia Stadium.
Two on-trial forwards were named in the Potters’ first eleven, while Newcastle continued with Adam Campbell up top after the youngster netted a hat-trick last time out against Tottenham Hotspur.
The visitors were clearly confident and stamped their authority early on - three minutes in, winger Jonathan Hooper showed his intent by cutting in from the left hand side and firing an ambitious effort just over the crossbar.
Stoke still hadn’t settled when Campbell forced a decent save from Dan Bachmann on nine minutes after he was put through by Connor Newton.
However, the home side nearly opened the scoring a few moments later – Jordan Richardson intercepted well before feeding Andy Musungu on the left, and the winger’s cross picked out one of the trialist's whose shot was blocked on the line.
A reasonable crowd made the most of the free entry, and the game wasn’t disappointing with both teams exploiting any space they could find with incisive, positive football.
Musungu had an effort deflected wide, before Campbell once against tested Bachmann up the other end – the dangerous striker latched onto a huge kick from Jak Alnwick, and hit a rasping half-volley that City’s Austrian ‘keeper had to beat away.
Campbell, seemingly involved in every attack for Newcastle, beat the offside trap once again on 26 minutes but his decision to square rather than shoot proved the wrong one as Ben Glasgow stepped in and cleared.
The Magpies’ pressure counted when they scored the opener on 29 minutes – Campbell picked up the ball on the corner of the penalty area and picked out Inman, who finished expertly into the bottom left hand corner from 18 yards.
Maddison doubled their lead in spectacular fashion ten minutes later – the pacey wide-man latched onto a cross-field pass from Newton before firing into the top corner past the helpless Bachmann, a goal that was no less than deserved for a dominant Newcastle.
They grew in confidence with their two-goal cushion, and Stoke would have been relieved when the half-time whistle blew for a chance to regroup.
They could have done with even more time though, because soon after the break Newcastle all but put the game to bed with their third goal.
Campbell picked up the ball deep, advanced forward under no pressure and slid in Inman, whose short squirmed under Bachmann and into the net.
Newcastle were then awarded a penalty soon after when Bachmann was adjudged to have fouled Maddison as he came for a cross, but Campbell’s spot-kick was well-saved by the ‘keeper, and the Austrian impressively pushed away the rebound too.
City coach Dave Kevan would have expected a response from his players and that’s exactly what he got when they pulled one back on 60 minutes – Jordan Richardson’s lofted free-kick was nodded in by the unmarked trialist to give the Potters faint hopes of a comeback.
Those hopes were dashed on 68 minutes though when Inman completed his hat-trick – Hooper did well on the right to find the attacking midfielder, who skipped past a challenge and nudged the ball home.
Onlookers barely had a chance to catch their breath as the second-half rattled along at a high tempo, with Hooper going close for the Magpies after meeting an exquisite Inman pass.
Those two combined for Newcastle’s fifth in the 75th minute – another wonderful Inman through ball was perfect for Hooper, who this time made no mistake to finish clinically.
To Stoke’s credit, their heads didn’t drop and they worked to try and cause the visitors some problems as the game drew to a close, and substitute Karim Rossi went closest when volleyed over after the ball dropped to him on the penalty spot.
Kevan said after the final whistle: "We can't argue with the effort levels the lads put in, there was just a gulf in quality.
"I couldn't have asked for any more from them. It's disappointing that we ended up conceding five; three of those we could have avoided just by making better decisions, but credit to Newcastle as they thoroughly deserved their win."
Stoke City: Bachmann; Glasgow (Dawson 45), Keane (c), O’Reilly, Clarkson; Thomas (Hall 76), Rigg, J Richardson, Musungu; Trialist (Rossi 61), Trailist. Subs not used: Parry, Eve, Hall.
Newcastle United: Alnwick; Nicholson, Tavernier (c), Satka, Good; Maddison (Knight 67), M Richardson, Newton, Inman, Hooper; Campbell. Subs not used: Riley, Mitchell, Logan, Gilliead.