Stoke U21s victorious over Rams
Image by: Phil Greig
17:43 29th August 2014
City overcome Derby to remain unbeaten...
Stoke City U21s - 2 (Skapetis, Parry)
Derby County U21s - 1 (Naylor)
STOKE CITY Under-21s recorded a hard fought victory over Derby County Under-21s in the Barclays U21 Premier League on Friday afternoon.
A Peter Skapetis penalty and a curling effort from Robbie Parry cancelled out Tom Naylor's first half leveller at Stoke City's Clayton Wood Training Ground.
The win over the Rams means the Potters remain unbeaten two games in after opening the season with a draw away at neighbours Aston Villa.
Oliver Shenton was included in the starting line-up after making his competitive senior debut for the Potters in the Capital One Cup win against Portsmouth earlier this week.
American Brek Shea and Brazilian Dionatan Teixeira were the only members of the first team to feature in Glyn Hodges' side, who also gave Skapetis his first start since joining from QPR earlier this summer.
The visitors started with highly rated Spaniard Alefe Santos who partnered England Under-20 international Kwame Thomas up front.
Rams boss Lee Glover also handed Ivan Calero a start after the midfielder bagged a debut winning goal in Derby's league cup success over Charlton Athletic.
It was a scrappy affair early on as both sides struggled to keep a hold of possession before the visitors calved the first opportunity on goal on three minutes.
Potters goalkeeper Dale Eve was forced into a tremendous double save when he initially saved Santos' 18-yard effort down low before quickly adjusting his position to tip Thomas' pounced rebound wide of the far post.
The early chance for the Rams sprung Hodges' side to life and gained their first chance on goal after Shea won the hosts a tenth minute penalty.
Shenton's neat ball inside the channel found the American who charged into the area before being bundled over by Rams skipper Farrend Rawson inside the area, with referee Marvyn Amphlett quickly awarding the Potters a spot-kick.
Skapetis stepped up and despite slipping, the Austraian slotted the ball past Mats Morch to give City the lead.
The Rams didn't let that early blip get them down and immediately looked for a quick equaliser with one effort being dragged wide of the Stoke goal just before Tom Koblenz saw his dragged strike from a far easily gathered by Eve.
Despite Derby's possession and attacking pressure, the Potters looked untroubled inside the opening 20 minutes and looked lively on the counter attack.
However, the Rams were aiming to use their pace and almost caught City on the back foot when a cleared corner fell kindly for Callum Guy who burst down the right and delivered a cross for Calero who blasted his effort well over in frustration at the offside flag being raised.
Derby were beginning to look potent and looked sharp with their enticing passing style.
Clever work on the right side between Calero and Santos broke the Potters open before the ball found Naylor on the right, whose high cross was headed over by Thomas inside the area.
County maintained their momentum and Thomas will have felt he could have done better on the half hour mark when he failed to connect with his strike just before Calero left Eve rooted when his arrow like shot fell wide of the post.
Stoke began to look lively minutes after, with Shea working hard up front.
He picked up possession on the half-way line before playing the ball inside to Shenton, who opted to unconvincingly shoot from range rather than play in the overlapping Joel Taylor.
In a lively few minutes, County got their just desserts when they equalised on 33 minutes.
A Derby shot from range was saved low by Eve, who could only parry as far as Naylor in the 6-yard box.
The full-back's goal bound shot was almost prevented by Mason Watkins on the goal line, but he couldn't stop the ball from finding its way into the net.
The leveller spurred City on as they looked to regain their lead.
Parry's shot inside the area was deflected, before Shenton's goal ward corner had to be pushed behind by Morch in the Rams goal.
The Potters finished sharp as the half drew to a close, Skapetis looked lively and almost bagged his second of the game but saw his shot from 18-yards saved at the near post.
Eve needed treatment late on after being caught by Thomas as the Bermudan charged out of his goal to bravely gather the ball. Despite receiving treatment the goalkeeper was back to his feet and able to continue.
HT: Stoke City U21s 1-1 Derby County U21s
The second half started brightly as Derby looked to immediately cause pressure on the Potters goal.
County full-back Max Lowe used his pace down the left flank and fired a cross high and just under the crossbar, fortunately for the Potters no Derby player was able to capitalise.
Hodges' men quickly went up the other end and forced plenty of pressure on the County goal with a series of corners.
Shenton's fizzing cross evaded everybody before the bounce off a Derby boot could have landed anywhere, luckily for the visitors it went wide of the far post.
The resulting corner was swung in as City centre-back Teixeira controlled the ball beautifully with his thigh, but couldn't match his shot as cleanly when he sliced his effort wide.
The Potters' pressure was soon rewarded when they regained their lead just before the hour mark.
Shea was a driving force in the goal after breathing down on the Rams backline and winning possession inside the final third.
The former FC Dallas man burst into the area and saw his low ball across the six-yard box cleared as far as Parry who confidently curled the ball with his right boot into the far corner from the edge of the area.
Minutes after going ahead once more, Derby looked to salvage an attack once more.
Jake Cook looked to have been fouled on the right side, but as the referee waved away Stoke cries for a free-kick, Santos picked up the ball and fired well over from 25-yards.
County then had a couple of set-pieces which they feel could have capitalised on just after the hour mark.
Rawson headed the ball wide from an in-swinging cross before Jamie Hanson saw his direct free-kick go well wide.
City looked bright on the break and after dealing with a corner Shea burst forward and after a slick interchange with Shenton played the ball dangerously across the box, but the lurking Skapetis could not connect.
The Australian was involved moments later when his shot from the right side of the area was saved well by the legs of Morch at his near post.
Derby man Offrande Zanzala was introduced to the fray late on and his first involvement was to fire over the bar after finding space inside the Potters area.
The midfielder will have been disappointed not to have forced Eve into a save or pull his effort across the face of goal.
City looked comfortable in the latter stages as Skapetis failed to bend his shot toward the far corner and despite late Derby pressure in the dying stages the Potters held on to record their first win of the new season.
Stoke City U21s XI: Eve; Cook (Coulson), Watkins, Teixeira, Barber; Parry, Lecygne, Shenton, Taylor (Monlouis); Shea, Skapetis. Subs not used: Gyollai, Strong, Nardiello
Yellow card: Cook (59)
Derby County U21s XI: 1. Morch, 2. Naylor, 3. Lowe, 4. Guy, 5. Rawson, 6. Hanson, 7. Santos, 8. Koblenz, 9. Thomas, 10. Bunjaku (Zanzala), 11. Calero. Subs not used: Stabana, Etheridge, Cover, Vernam