Image by: Phil Greig
17:10 22nd July 2014
Under-21s draw with Brighton counterparts
BRIGHTON & HOVE ALBION 1 (Cole 66)
STOKE CITY 1 (Thomas 47)
A SECOND-HALF strike from Adam Thomas wasn't enough to claim victory for Stoke City's Under-21s against their counterparts from Brighton and Hove Albion last weekend.
The former Everton winger saw his effort cancelled out midway through the second period by George Cole's deflected free-kick as Glyn Hodges’ side had to settle for a share of the spoils in East Sussex.
The Potters dominated for long periods at the American Express Elite Football Performance Centre and had the game’s first real opportunities as powerful forward James Alabi saw an effort expertly saved, before defender Mason Watkins directed a free-kick just off target.
Dale Eve had to be called into action shortly afterwards to tip over an angled effort before City reasserted their dominance as Eddy Lecygne and Curtis Strong made strong runs forward into the final third.
After narrowly escaping falling behind moments before the break, the Potters opened the scoring two minutes after the interval as Peter Skapetis played in Thomas who slotted coolly past the 'keeper.
City could have made it two minutes later as Jack Nardiello headed off target before seeing a header rattle the crossbar.
The Potters were made to pay for their wastefulness in front of goal as the home side drew level in the 66th minute when Cole's dead-ball delivery into the box took a deflection on its way into the net.
The Seagulls were starting to dominate as they went in search of a second and almost found it but Cole diverted off target following good approach play.
Hodges' side could have claimed the victory in the dying moments, though, but George Waring, who scored in the opening game of pre-season against Bognor Regis Town, was unable to force the ball over the line when under heavy pressure from the Brighton keeper.
Meanwhile, City's Under-18s secured a 3-1 victory over Eastbourne Borough courtesy of strikes from Daniel Jarvis, Oli Roberts and Charles Weston-Hayles.
The result followed a 1-1 draw against Burgess Hill Town's Under-21s earlier in the week with Nathan Ricketts-Hopkinson on target for the Potters after a long injury layoff.
Both teams will step up their pre-season programme on Saturday as John Perkins' Under-18s entertain Birmingham City at Clayton Wood (12 noon), before the Development Squad make the short trip to the Lyme Valley Stadium to take on Newcastle Town (3pm).