STOKE CITY’S reserve side were held to a 2-2 draw by their Huddersfield Town counterparts in a behind-closed-doors friendly at a cold and wet Clayton Wood Training Ground on Tuesday afternoon.
The match, which was arranged to give a number of Tony Pulis’ first team fringe players a taste of action, at one point appeared to have been in jeopardy due to the torrential rain, however, the referee deemed conditions playable following an earlier inspection.
Summer-signings Maurice Edu and Jamie Ness both started for the Potters as did the likes of Thomas Sorensen, Dean Whitehead, Ryan Shotton, Diego Arismendi, Matthew Upson, Rory Delap and Jermaine Pennant.
In fact, it was the aforementioned Pennant who fired the hosts into an early lead with a superbly-executed free-kick from 25-yards out, after Mamady Sidibe had been brought down by a Town defender.
One became two midway through the half when former Republic of Ireland international Rory Delap latched on to a clever through ball, rounded the visiting ‘keeper and coolly slotted the ball home from an acute
The added experience amongst the City ranks continued to show as they looked the more likely of the two teams to add to the goal tally, but with just five minutes of the first half remaining the Terriers pulled themselves back into the game with a well-taken strike of their own.
Wholesale changes at the interval meant that the second half team consisted of Academy scholars, with the exception of Carlo Nash, who took over the reins in goal from the relatively untroubled Sorensen.
Those changes told as the visitors grew into the game with former Ipswich Town and Crystal Palace man Alan Lee starting to cause problems amongst the Potters rearguard.
The 34-year-old Irish striker went close to drawing the visitor’s level with a stinging effort from the edge of the area just before the hour mark, after being teed up just outside the 18-yard box.
Lee, who won 10 caps for the Republic of Ireland earlier in his career, did manage get himself on to the score-sheet soon after though, planting a close range header into the back of the net despite the best attempts of Nash to keep it out.
Both sides pressed in search of a winner, with Michael Clarkson arguably spurning the best opportunity of snatching the victory late on, however, the City youngster curled just over, when he should really have hit the target.