A LATE Newcastle United goal ended Stoke City’s Under-18s 100% start to the season as they fell to an unfortunate defeat at Little Benton.
Daniel Barlaser struck two minutes from time to settle the game in the home side’s favour, despite the young Potters looking the team most likely to snatch victory throughout the second half.
Their finishing left a lot to be desired, though, and Newcastle punished them to nick the three points and stop City in their tracks after two wins out of two prior to the game.
Kris Scott returned to the side after injury ruled him out of last week’s win against Aston Villa, while Jack Nardiello and James Alabi continued their strike partnership that had proved dangerous in the season’s early stages.
After a four-hour coach journey, the Potters could have been forgiven for taking a few minutes to get into the their stride – Nardiello was the first player to threaten Newcastle’s goal with first a strike from 25 yards that Jonathan Mitchell gathered comfortably.
City’s number nine then glanced a header wide after Scott’s cross from the right-wing, and Stoke were beginning to settle into the encounter.
Newcastle created their first opening on 19 minutes after Olley raced down the right-hand side before crossing into the six-yard box, only for the stretching Alan Armstrong to arrive a split-second too late.
They should have scored eight minutes later – Rolando Aarons split Stoke’s defence with a pass for Armstrong, but with only Dale Eve to beat, the attacking midfielder shot straight at the ‘keeper.
Nardiello remained the visitors’ main threat and showed tremendous skill to beat Lee Desmond before scuffing his shot into the arms of Mitchell.
Alabi raced onto a Ryan O’Reilly clearance a minute later, and although his pace presented him with time to pick his spot, Mitchell parried his effort round the post.
Coach John Perkins introduced Peter Makrillos at the break, but the second-half started off with both teams on an even keel and few chances being created.
As the game wore on, though, Stoke re-established themselves as the better team and Nardiello was unlucky when he broke into the area and had his shot well-blocked by a defender.
Makrillos brought fresh energy to the Potters midfield and he himself had an opportunity on 70 minutes when the ball dropped to him on the edge of the area, and after cutting inside cleverly his shot was beaten away by Mitchell.
Both sides were struggling to find that crucial pass in the final third, although City did put together a good move when Scott found Ryan Shields on the right - his cross was met by Makrillos but the Australian’s header was straight at the ‘keeper.
Substitute Marcel Barrington kept Mitchell busy with a 25-yard drilled effort, and up the other end, Newcastle nearly edged ahead when Ben Drennan’s cross was steered over the bar by Jonathan Quinn.
The game looked like heading for a stalemate before Newcastle sapped the hope out of Stoke’s players with the winner on 88 minutes – Eve’s poor pass fell to Armstrong who played in Barlaser on the right, and he found the bottom left hand corner to leave the home team celebrating an unlikely triumph.
Perkins said afterwards: “I’m disappointed for the lads because I thought they put in a really good shift and definitely deserved something out of the game.
“I thought we were the much better side in the second-half. We created some good chances, worked really hard and stuck in there.
“I always think we can score, so I’m astounded we didn’t after four or five really good chances.”
Newcastle United: Mitchell; Sterry (Drennan 64), McKinnon, Cameron, Desmond; Olley (Barlaser 45), Armstrong, Quinn, Logan, Aarons; Gilliead. Subs not used: Lopez, Grant, Morgan.
Stoke City: Eve; Shields, Coulson, O’Reilly, Westley (Taylor 90); Scott; Cook, Monlouis; Richards; Alabi (Makrillos 45), Nardiello (Barrington 69). Subs not used: Gledhill, Sanders.