Stoke City Under-18s 1 (Shenton 13)
Wolverhampton Wanderers Under-18s 6 (Keita 27 38, Erdei 33, Reid 43 56, Deevers 66)
STOKE CITY'S Under-18s slipped to their fourth consecutive defeat after a 6-1 reverse against Midland rivals Wolverhampton Wanderers at Clayton Wood on Saturday morning.
The Potters had opened the scoring within the first 15 minutes but after the visitors equalised it all seemed to fall apart for John Perkins’ side as they went on to ship a further five avoidable goals.
Although City ended their goal drought in the league which had stretched back to the beginning of November, the scoreline could have been far worse had it not been for a number of outstanding saves from Hungarian ‘keeper Daniel Gyollai.
In front of their first team manager Kenny Jackett, it was the visitors who made the brighter start and in truth should have been ahead after just five minutes when Bradley Reid raced into the box and crossed to Ibrahim Keita, who somehow managed to get the ball stuck under his feet when it seemed certain that he would score.
Reid was to have his side’s next opportunity as they continued to dominate but Gyollai pulled off the first of a number of smart saves to deny the lively forward, before Stoke went down the other end and broke the deadlock.
Joel Taylor, who scored in the 2-0 victory over Tottenham Hotspur for the Under-21s just 24 hours earlier, whipped a corner in from the left and after Wolves failed to clear their lines schoolboy Oliver Shenton fired into the top corner from 14 yards with the aid of a slight deflection.
In a rather scrappy contest Wolves always looked dangerous from dead ball situations and twice went close to drawing level through Ryan Rainey, but the defender saw the first of his headers fly just wide before his second struck the far post and was scrambled away to safety.
It wasn’t long however before they made one of their chances count as Albert Torres flicked the ball over the City defence for Ibrahim Keita to run onto and after the powerful striker had beat Gyollai to the ball, he calmly fired into an empty goal.
Stoke, who were once again fielding a very young side due to injuries and missing a number of players who have moved up to the Under-21 squad, were finding it extremely difficult to fashion any form of pressure on the Wolves defence and after Gyollai pulled off a smart save to deny Keita from distance, the away side took the lead just after the half hour mark.
The influential Carlo Erdei worked space for himself just outside the penalty area before letting fly with an effort which flew into the top right-hand corner, leaving Gyollai with no chance.
Gyollai, who was undoubtedly Stoke’s standout performer despite conceding on six separate occasions, pulled off an excellent save on 37 minutes when he clawed away Reid’s close range header which looked destined for the bottom corner.
The keeper however couldn’t stop Wolves from extending their advantage just before the break as Keita grabbed his second with a cool finish from an acute angle, before Reid emphatically fired into the roof of the net after weaving his way to the edge-of-the-area.
The visitors took their momentum into the second period and after Erdei saw Gyollai tip his 18-yard effort over the crossbar, Reid bagged a brace when he smashed a close range effort into the far corner after his first shot was push back into his path after a smart save from the keeper.
Perkins, who had made a triple substitution at half-time almost saw two of his replacements combined to draw a goal back, but after Charles Weston-Hayles fed Yusuf Coban, the German forward seemed to have his legs taken from under him inside the box as he was about to shoot but his appeals for a penalty were turned down by the referee.
To compound matters for the home side, Wolves went down the other end and after substitute Jessie Deevers was blocked as he entered the penalty area, his protestations for a spot-kick were granted and the forward coolly dispatched past Gyollai from 12 yards after sending the keeper in the opposite direction.
City finished the game well as Derice Richards, Weston-Hayles and Kieran Monlouis all had efforts at the Wolves goal but by that time the game had been comfortably sewn up by the visitors who took all three points back to the West Midlands.
Stoke City: Gyollai, Vassell, Pickerill, Renee-Pringle, Edwards, Hulme (Trialist 45), Sheilds (Weston-Hayles 45), Monlouis (c), Richards, Shenton (Coban 45), Taylor. Subs not used: Kurasik, Roberts.
Wolverhampton Wanderers: Dutton, Rainey, Keane, Weeks (c), Priest, Carter, Erdei (Breslin 58), Murray, Keita (Deevers 45), Reid (Matinyadze 58), Torres. Subs not used: Burgoyne, Hayden.