STOKE CITY 0
BLACKBURN ROVERS 3
STOKE CITY'S Under-18s fell to a third consecutive defeat when they succumbed to Blackburn Rovers at a chilling Clayton Wood on Saturday morning.
The young Potters once again failed to convert their chances after previous losses to Liverpool and Aston Villa.
Blackburn eventually ran out comfortable winners with two late strikes as City searched for a leveller.
It took until the 16th minute before either side registered a meaningful effort on target, but when it did arrive the Potters almost took the lead.
The ball was laid off to first year scholar Oliver Roberts and his rasping drive from 25 yards was tipped just over by David Raya in the Blackburn goal.
City could have opening the scoring from the resulting corner but Joel Taylor’s right-wing delivery was flicked across the face of the six-yard box by Ed Sanders.
The Potters were starting to dominate proceedings and a minute later Charles Weston-Hayles fed Yusuf Coban down the right, but after the forward had rounded the keeper his shot from an acute angle hit the outside of the post.
Rovers gradually grew into the game and went close when the ball was worked to Brice Wassi on the edge-of-the-area but his powerful strike was expertly tipped away to safety by Hungarian keeper Daniel Gyollai.
Minutes later the visitors had a golden opportunity to take the lead from the penalty spot and eventually took it.
Ed Sanders was harshly adjudged to have fouled Bradley Bauress just inside the area and after Jordan Preston cannoned his spot kick against the bar, Dean Rittenburg followed up with a header and make no mistake from eight yards.
Blackburn finished the stronger of the two sides and went close through Preston before Rittenberg’s cross from the right was headed narrowly over from eight yards by Ian Vicars.
City could have pulled level seconds after the interval but Joel Taylor’s left-wing cross was hit onto the outside of the near post by Ryan Shields.
John Perkins’ side were pushing hard for an equaliser and were denied a penalty just before the hour mark when Coban was clipped inside the box but the striker choose to stay on his feet and was eventually crowded out by the Blackburn defence.
The home side were in the ascendency and again went close through Weston-Hayles when the attacked fired just wide, before Rovers landed a sucker punch.
Substitute Cham Modou swung in a deep cross from the left and Preston got a march on his marker and headed past the outstretched arm of Gyollai to extend his side’s advantage on 77 minutes.
Rovers controlled the game for the final few minutes and made it three when Modou’s free-kick was headed into his own net by Liam Edwards and Preston almost grabbed a fourth but Gyollai reacted superbly to deny the striker from point-blank range.
Stoke City: Gyollai, Cook, Hulme (Pickerill, 57), Roberts, Sanders (c), Edwards, Weston-Hayles, Shenton, Coban (Vassell, 71), Shields, Taylor. Subs not used: Kurasik, Douglas, Banks.
Blackburn Rovers: Raya, Vicars (c), Langford, Bauress, Botterwick, Pierce, Harris, Wassi, Preston, Rittenberg, Doyle (Modou, 58). Subs not used: Lavelle, Torres, Wall.