STOKE CITY’S Under-18s enjoyed a thrilling return to competitive action when they secured their first victory in Group One of the Barclays Under-18 Premier League by overcoming table-topping Tottenham Hotspur at Clayton Wood Training Ground.
Two-goal Peter Makrillos and Derice Richards were the heroes as the young Potters bounced back from going a goal down early on to record the triumph.
The Under-18s had not played a League match since the beginning of the month with their last two fixtures falling victim to the weather, but there were no signs of rustiness as the Potters put in an impressive display to dispatch a strong Spurs outfit.
The visitors took a deserved lead through England Under-17s international Nathan Oduwa, but Makrillos drew Stoke level with a superb 30-yard free-kick.
Richards scored just before half-time to give Stoke a 2-1 lead at the break and Makrillos grabbed his second, and what would prove to be the winner, on the hour mark. Ruben Lameiras pulled a goal back for Spurs late on from the penalty spot.
Stoke started the brighter side and Richards’ low shot was well parried by Spurs ‘keeper Liam Priestley, before the’ keeper had to be on hand again to deny Kieran Monlouis from long range.
At the other end, Eve was forced into making a diving save but couldn’t prevent the visitors from opening the scoring on 24 minutes. The impressive Oduwa played a one-two on the left wing and cut inside onto his right foot to beat City defender Sam Westly and curl his shot inside the far post past a stationary Eve to put Spurs 1-0 up.
Tottenham were now dominating possession and Eve was called into action again to deny centre-half Connor Ogilvie following a swift Spurs breakaway.
But Stoke equalised against the run of play just after the half hour mark in spectacular fashion. Richards won a free-kick 30-yards out to the left of the goal which Makrillos curled high over the wall and into the top-right corner of the net over the despairing Priestley.
The Potters took the lead soon after when Frenchman Eddy Lecygne won the ball in midfield and played a lobbed ball over the defence for Richards, who had beaten the offside trap, to run onto. The striker brought the ball down well and fired his shot past the ‘keeper into the bottom right corner to put Stoke 2-1 up.
Provider Lecygne nearly turned goal-scorer soon after with an outrageous strike that just trickled wide with the keeper beaten as Stoke went into halftime a goal up. Despite the scoreline, Tottenham had the better of the first-half but Stoke were well worth the victory with a strong showing after the restart.
Great play by Lee Pickerill on the left wing made a great chance for Makrillos to extend Stoke’s lead but his stinging drive was well parried by the ‘keeper. Makrillos was denied by Spurs’ keeper Priestley again on 64 minutes but wasn’t to be prevented a third time when he netted his second goal two minutes later.
The impressive Lecygne won the ball in midfield and passed to Makrillos on the right-hand side who fired a shot across goal and into the far left of the net to extend the home side’s lead and reward their dominant second-half performance.
Ollie Shenton blazed a shot over the bar before Spurs pulled a goal back from the penalty spot after Monlouis had clumsily brought down the lively Oduwa in the box. Substitute Lameiras sent Eve the wrong way and tucked his shot into the corner from 12-yards to give Tottenham hope with eight minutes remaining.
Lameiras nearly earned his side a point when he hit the post with a 25-yard shot on 86 minutes with Eve beaten. But the Potters held on for a 3-2 victory over table-toppers Spurs for their first win in Group One with three games played and will be looking to build on an impressive performance when they host West Brom in a week’s time.
Stoke City: Eve; Westly, Pickerill, Hulme, Edwards; Lecygne, Monlouis, Makrillos, Shenton, Cook; Richards