Stoke City Under-21s 0
Liverpool Under-21s 1 (Brannagan 13)
STOKE CITY’S development squad slipped to a second consecutive 1-0 defeat on Friday evening as Liverpool took all three points home to Merseyside in the Barclays U21 Premier League.
Cameron Brannaghan’s strike after 13 minutes proved to be enough for the visitors as the Potters failed to convert a number of chances at the Britannia Stadium.
The result means the Potters remain 12th in the table after failing to close the gap to a single point on their visitors who elevated themselves closer to the summit.
In a bright start to the game both teams had good opportunities to take the lead as Jack Dunn fired over after just six seconds for Liverpool, whilst Alex Grant close for the hosts with a header from Alex Henshall’s corner.
The Potters went even closer on 10 minutes when French midfielder Eddy Lecygne won the ball deep inside the opposition half before feeding it out to Henshall, whose cross was powerfully headed towards goal by Alabi but expertly tipped over the bar by Yusuf Merisn in the Liverpool goal.
However it wasn’t long before the deadlock was broken, but it was done so by the visitors who caught the Potters on the break and after Daniel Bachmann had done well to push away Jordan Lussey’s close range effort, Brannaghan was on hand to poke home from four yards.
City didn’t become down-heartened after conceding in front of a healthy gathering of home support and quickly went in search of an equaliser as Karim Rossi screwed wide from just inside the area, before Kevin Gomez-Nieto drilled an effort towards the bottom corner that needed to be turned round the post by the ‘keeper.
The home side continued to have the better opportunities and could have drawn level through Rossi narrowly fail to connect from close range, before Glyn Hodges’ side had a glorious chance just minutes before the half time whistle when James Alabi turned and shot on the edge-of-the-area but his superb strike agonisingly rattled the crossbar.
Stoke carried their momentum into the second period and almost got back on level terms when Eddy Lecygne’s left-wing corner was met at the far post by Mason Watkins but the defender’s header was cleared off the line by Mersin’s feet.
Minutes later he former Aston Villa defender went mightily close to getting a touch to Lecygne’s deep free-kick, before Liverpool nearly extended their lead but Dunn’s long-range effort rattled the woodwork with substitute Jordan Rossiter’s follow up from 25 yards being well saved by Bachmann.
The Austrian stopper was called into action moments later as he expertly tipped Dunn’s free-kick from the edge-of-the-area over his bar as Liverpool looked to add to the scoreline which ultimately they failed to do in the remaining minutes of the encounter.
Stoke City: Bachmann, Wheeler, Gomez-Nieto (Cook 67), Ward, Grant, Watkins, Thomas, Lecygne, Alabi, Rossi (Taylor 67), Henshall. Unused: Eve, Monlouis, Coban.
Liverpool: Mersin, Sama, Smith, Cordoua, Jones, Chirivella, Dunn, Lussey (Rossiter 54), Blieu, Brannagan, Peterson. Unused: Maguire, Firth, Williams, Sinclair.