Stoke City Under-18s 0
Chelsea Under-18s 2 (Cole 26, Buga 39)
STOKE CITY'S Under-18s were comfortably beaten by their visitors from the capital on wet Saturday afternoon at the Clayton Wood training ground.
John Perkins’ side struggled to gain a foothold in the game for long periods and were ultimately beaten 2-0 by Chelsea.
The loss condemns City to their sixth defeat of the season in the Barclays Under-18 Premier League.
It was the Blues who made the brighter start and went close after 11 minutes. George Cole turned Lee Pickerill on the edge-of-the-area before his shot from an acute angle was turned away the legs of City ‘keeper Dale Eve.
Chelsea were starting to control proceedings and twice went close when Ambrose Gnahore fired just wide from 14 yards before Kasey Palmer tried his luck from range but his effort went narrowly wide of Eve’s right-hand post.
It took until the 20th minute before Stoke registered a meaningful effort on target but after Yusuf Coban charged at the opposition’s defence and let fly from range, Bradley Collins gathered his effort at the second attempt.
The Potters were squandering possession far too often in midfield and they were made to pay six minutes later. City captain Ed Sanders was forced into a rash challenge on the edge-of-the-box and Cole stood up to curl his free-kick over the wall and into the top right-hand corner, leaving Eve with no chance.
Chelsea continued to apply the pressure and Buga forced Eve into a smart save with his legs before the winger grabbed his side’s second on 39 minutes.
The pacey forward surged towards goal from midway inside the City half and unleashed a ferocious shot which hit both posts before crossing the line.
The visitors started the second half the same way they had finished the first and almost made it three a minute after the interval but Eve was on hand to push substitute Charlie Colkett’s 30-yard free-kick away to safety.
Chelsea were comfortable on the ball and the young Potters were finding it difficult to create an opening in the second period and nearly feel further behind. Gnahore’s shot was cleared off the line before Ola Aina somehow failed to connect with Chike Kandi’s pull back when it seemed certain he would score.
City had to play the final few minutes with 10 men when Eddy Lecygne picked up an injury and had to be stretchered off and the Blues almost made their numerical advantage count but Eve denied Palmer from close range with a fine reaction save.
Stoke City: Eve, Banks, Pickerill, Lecygne, Sanders (c), Edwards, Pringle (Shields, 46’), Monlouis, Coban (Weston-Hayles, 71’), Richards (Shenton 46’), Taylor. Subs not used: Douglas, Roberts.
Chelsea: Collins, Aina, Brady, Muleba (c), Wright (Dabo, 46’), Palmer, Cole, Conroy (Colkett, 46’), Mitchell (Kandi, 62’), Buga, Gnahore. Subs not used: Baxter.