Mamady Sidibe chases down a defender
Image by: Matthew Bagnall
A STOKE CITY XI drew 0-0 with Newcastle Town on Saturday… but the fans got their money’s worth with five senior pros in action for the Potters.
First-team squad players Carlo Nash, Danny Higginbotham, Diego Arismendi, Michael Tonge and Mamady Sidibe all started to help improve their match fitness ahead of the new season.
Newcastle lined up for the friendly with former City trainees Andy Nicholls, Jack Harrison and Paul Whalley in their eleven, while also welcoming back striker Neville Thompson after a spell away from the club.
Stoke showed good attacking intent from the start - four minutes in, Lucas Dawson’s corner picked out Higginbotham unmarked at the back post, but his header cleared the bar.
Newcastle settled into the contest soon after, and had their first opening on 28 minutes when Thompson charged down Ben Heneghan’s clearance, but the young defender did well to chase back and prevent a shot.
On the half hour, the hosts had the best chance of the game when Kyle Diskin played in Marco Adaggio, who cut inside and curled his effort just wide of the far post.
With half-time approaching, Stoke began to stamp their authority but it was Newcastle who should have scored two minutes before the break.
Harrison rounded Nash after breaking down the left, but took too long in possession and failed to take advantage of a momentary open goal.
Both teams made changes early in the second-half, but Arismendi came as close to anyone to opening the scoring on 65 minutes when he met George Rigg’s pass, hammering his shot against the crossbar from 25 yards.
The regular substitutions took the sting out of the game, with both sides struggling to maintain any forward threat. Town winger Jamie Turner’s looping header kept Nash on his toes on 72 minutes.
James Askey had a decent effort from 30 yards with five minutes left on the clock, but Nash was equal once more.
The final few minutes petered out and the considerable crowd left without witnessing the goal they craved, although Potters fans will have been delighted to see Sidibe play 90 minutes after two years riddled with injuries.
Under 21s coach Dave Kevan said afterwards: “The game certainly had the feel of the last friendly of pre-season, but again the attitude of the boys was good.
“We would have liked to have played with a little bit more tempo to try and penetrate the opposition a little more but credit to Newcastle, I thought they did very well.
“It’s a tremendous benefit for the young players to have the senior pros playing alongside them. There’s no better place to pass on experience than on the pitch.”
Stoke City: Nash; Glasgow, Heneghan (Parry 84), Higginbotham (c), Clarkson (Campbell 84); Thomas (Richardson 79), Arismendi (Keane 75), Dawson (Rigg 57), Tonge (Rossi 82), Musungu (Hall 57); Sidibe.
Newcastle Town: Fletcher (Dutton 71); Askey, Thorley (Bayley 56), Bratt (c), Carter (Fenton 56); Nicholls (Turner 71), Diskin (Haynes 59), Whalley (Blackhurst 45), Harrison (Sherratt 66); Thompson (Ashman 66), Adaggio (Sutton 66).