Bolton Wanderers Under-18s 0
Stoke City Under-18s 0
Stoke City’s Under-18s came away from the Bolton Wanderers Academy with a hard fought point on Saturday morning.
The young Potters, who fielded their youngest side of the season with two schoolboys and seven first-year scholars, stopped their run of three straight defeats against Tony Kelly’s side.
The draw also saw City secure their first clean sheet in nine attempts and they now look ahead to facing Middlesbrough at Clayton Wood next weekend.
It was the visitors who were the quickest team out of the blocks almost opening the scoring after just four minutes. Charles Weston-Hayles was released down the right by Curtis Strong and the striker pulled the ball back to Oliver Shenton who forced William Jaaskelainen into a smart save from 20 yards.
Bolton responded with a chance of their own and went narrowly close to taking the lead when Sam Bailey’s deep corner from the left was headed just wide of the upright by Alex Honeyball.
Wanderers went even closer on 15 minutes when Jamie Thomas’ 25-yard shot was expertly tipped onto the crossbar by Stoke’s Hungarian goalkeeper Daniel Gyollai.
The hosts were slowing becoming the dominate side and Bailey saw an effort from the edge-of-the-area fly just over before Elliot Newby ran the length of the pitch from a City corner and forced Gyollai into a smart save.
The 6ft 4in stopper was in inspired form and was on hand to save the Potters once again after 26 minutes when he got a strong hand Thomas’ strike from 25 yards which was directed towards the top right-hand corner.
City had chances of their own though as Shenton cut in from the right and unleashed a shot from 20 yards which Jaaskelainen was equal to, before Freddy Yao fired over from similar range.
John Perkins’ side had the best chance of the half on the stroke of the interval when Oli Roberts’ deep free-kick was headed across goal by Yusuf Coban but the striker saw his effort hit the post and cleared away to safety.
The pacey Weston-Hayles was City’s liveliest spark and he made a positive start to the second period when his 20-yard shot was well saved by Jaaskelainen.
Bolton were the team on top for long spells but failed to muster too many clear-cut chances against a resolute City defence and their best opportunity fell to Bailey who raced down the right before firing an effort just wide of Gyollai’s far post.
Stoke could have snatched all three points in the final few minutes when Shenton headed straight at the Bolton keeper from Strong’s deep cross, before Coban was unable to capitalise from an error in the home defence with Jaaskelainen gathering the ball at the German’s feet.
Bolton Wanderers: Jaaskelainen, Greenaugh, Honeyball, Ball, Kennedy, Newby, Knight, Bailey, Torres (Taraj-Nelson, 75), Hinchlliffe, Thomas. Subs not used: Turner, Griffiths, Allen, Lonsdale.
Stoke City: Gyollai, Banks, Strong, Roberts, Sanders, Edwards, Shenton, Yao (Shields, 62), Coban, Weston-Hayles, Douglas (Hulme, 72). Subs not used: Kurasik, Pickerill, Vassell.