Stoke City Under-18s 1 (Taylor 27)
Bolton Wanderers Under-18s 2 (Cvetko 56, Thomas 75)
STOKE CITY’S Under-18s failed to build on their emphatic 4-1 victory against Liverpool two weeks ago as they were edged out by Bolton Wanderers on Saturday morning at Clayton Wood.
The Potters had taken a first half lead through a great move finished off by Joel Taylor, but second half strikes from Christopher Cvetko and Jamie Thomas were enough for Wanderers to secure all three points.
John Perkins’ side can count themselves unfortunate not to have claimed at least a point from the encounter after being denied on numerous occasions by the superb goalkeeping skills of Harry Campbell in the Bolton goal.
It was the visitors who settled the quicker in glorious sunshine at City’s training ground and went close early on through Cvetko but his 20-yard shot was comfortably dealt with by Dale Eve in the Stoke goal before the Potters got into their stride.
Midfielder Johnville Renee-Pringle set up Derice Richards and his first time effort from the edge-of-the-area was expertly tipped over by the Bolton ‘keeper, before the Nantwich born striker went close minutes later but his shot from a tight angle was well saved.
City didn’t have to wait much longer to make their superiority count though as a superb passage of play allowed central midfielder Kirean Monlouis to play a defence splitting ball for Taylor to run onto and the winger coolly finished past an onrushing Campbell from 20 yards.
Bolton went narrowly close to drawing level minutes before the break with their best chance of the opening half but Dale Eve got a strong right hand to Thomas’ long-range free kick.
The Trotters did almost get an equaliser seconds into the second half after the ball fortuitously ran across the face of the Stoke six-yard line, but a combination of Eve and Cook thwarted the onrushing Elliot Newby who looked destined to score.
It wasn’t long before City reasserted their dominance on proceedings and after Monlouis was brought down just outside the area, Taylor curled his free-kick into the hands of Campbell.
However a lapse in concentration in the Stoke defence was to prove costly on 56 minutes as Cvetko’s deep free-kick evaded everyone inside the box and nestled in the far corner of the net.
It didn’t seem to effect the Potters however as they went in search of retaking the lead and they almost did so after good approach play saw Taylor set up Richards on the edge-of-the-area, but his drive was expertly tipped over by the Bolton stopper.
Meanwhile, Bolton had chances of their own to go ahead for the first time in the game as Cvetko fired a snap shot just wide, whilst Abbotts rattled the crossbar from close range before heading the rebound off target.
The away side did however take the lead on 74 minutes when the ball fell to attacker Thomas inside the box and he fired past a helpless Eve from 12 yards.
Moments later the Potters almost drew themselves level but after Oliver Shenton’s deep cross was headed towards goal by substitute Lee Pickerill, Campbell thwarted the defender by pushing the ball onto the post before it was cleared away by the Bolton defence.
The Trotters had the last opportunity of the game but they were stopped from adding to their advantage by the impressive Eve who denied Thomas from distance with a great one-handed save.
Stoke City: Eve, Cook, Strong, Monlouis (Banks 61), Sanders (c), Edwards, Taylor (Pickerill 67), Renee-Pringle, Richards, Coban (Weston-Hayles 79), Shenton. Unused: Gyollai, Douglas.
Bolton Wanderers: Campbell, Greenhaugh (Bailey 55), Garratt, Ball (c), Kennedy, Hinchcliffe, Cvetko, Abbotts, Thomas, Newby. Unused: Jaaskelainen, Torres, Hendrie, Licroy-Elumba.