Stoke City Under-18s 1 (Adeloye 21)
Everton Under-18s 1 (Coulson og 69)
STOKE CITY’S Under-18s secured a well-earned point on Saturday morning after holding joint league-leaders Everton to a 1-1 draw at Clayton Wood.
Tomi Adeloye’s first half strike deserved to win any game for City, but Everton took a share of the spoils back to Merseyside courtesy of a fortunate own goal from defender Sam Coulson after the interval.
The Potters could have taken all three points had they been more clinical in front of goal, but John Perkins’ side can take heart from the result against a far more experienced Toffees side.
Despite City’s inexperienced line-up it was they who made the brighter start as Oliver Shenton forced Russell Griffiths into a smart save from distance, before Adeloye was denied by an excellent point-blank stop from the ‘keeper after Charles Weston-Hayles had played him in on goal.
However, the lively forward wasn’t to be denied midway through the half as the Potters deservedly took the lead when Adeloye collected the ball just inside the opposition half and proceeded to run to the right of the box, before unleashing a superb strike from 25 yards into the far corner of the net to leave Griffiths with no chance.
The goal seemed to spark the away side into life and City had to be strong defensively to nullify the threat of Courtney Duffus and Calum Dyson, before the hosts went in search of doubling their advantage.
Oli Roberts almost grabbed the second with an audacious volley from 25 yards which flew just over before Shenton surged towards goal and unleashed a powerful drive from distance which flew just off target.
In an entertaining fixture, Everton finished the first half in a positive manner as Duffus was denied by the feet of Hungarian stopper Daniel Gyollai and his side carried their momentum into the second period but without really troubling the City defence.
Instead, it was the Potters who had the first real chance of the second period when Johnville Renee-Pringle ran across the face of the 18-yard box before sliding in Adeloye, who cut inside onto his left foot and fired a shot towards goal which was deflected over by a desperate challenge from an Everton defender.
The lively attacker went even closer seconds later when Weston-Hayles won the ball off Gethin Jones and crossed to Adeloye who was well placed on the penalty spot but he diverted his header agonisingly over.
As they half wore on and the rain started to fall, it was the Blues who looked the more likely to grab the game’s second goal and they got it in fortunate circumstances with 21 minutes remaining when Dyson’s left-wing cross clipped the boot of England Under-18 international defender Coulson and nestled inside the far corner of Gyollai’s net.
The commanding keeper had to be at his best moments later to push away Harry Charsley’s drive after an Everton counter attack, before reacting magnificently to get a strong right hand to Oliver Shannon’s stinging effort from just inside the box.
It was the Potters who in the end could had clinched all three points in the final minute of additional time but it wasn’t to be as substitute Yusuf Coban saw his close range effort cleared off the line after the ball had fallen to the German forward inside the box.
Stoke City: Gyollai, Banks, Strong, Roberts, Sanders, Coulson (Edwards 73), Douglas (Monlouis 75), Shenton, Adeloye (Coban 77), Weston-Hayles, Renee-Pringle. Unused: Kurasik, Pickerill.
Everton: Griffiths, Jones, Thornley, Birch, Langton, Shannon, Dyson, Davies, Duffus, Charsley, Dowell (Brewster 67). Unused: Hewelt, Adelson, Walsh