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Unlucky Under-21s

Senior Professional Development Coach Dave Kevan

Image by: Phil Greig

PUBLISHED

15:45 4th March 2013

Potters suffer narrow defeat at Norwich

STOKE CITY'S Elite Development Squad were unfortunate to come away with nothing from their latest Barclays Under-21s outing after going down 1-0 to Norwich City.


Adel Gafaiti's header late in the first half settled an even contest in which Dave Kevan's men had their fair share of opportunities, especially in the second period.

The final result means, however, means that the young Potters have lost four out of four in Group Two and remain rooted to the bottom of the table.

With Norwich fielding a strong-looking line-up and having dispatched City 5-0 at the Weaver Stadium back in January, they started the game as favourites, but it was the visitors who looked the sharpest early on as Adam Thomas had a penalty shout turned down.

Ben Heneghan then had a rare venture forward from central defence on 11 minutes, firing a dangerous ball across the six-yard box that no Stoke player had managed to anticipate.

Norwich came into the game with George Francomb scooping a shot over, but neither side looked like breaking the deadlock in a match largely competed in the middle third.

George Rigg was fortunate to only be booked six minutes before the break as he brought Jacob Murphy down, and it was the Norwich winger's twin brother, Josh, who provided the assist for the game's only goal on 41 minutes.

His free-kick from the left was met by the towering Gaffaiti, whose header had enough power to find the net despite Dan Bachmann in the Stoke goal managing to get a hand to it.

Five minutes into the second period, Gaffaiti had another header from a set-piece that this time he nodded over, before Jacob Murphy had an effort deflected over.

Neither side had any significant period of possession, although Stoke forward John Marsden had two decent chances within a couple of minutes to grab an equaliser.

Initially, he latched onto Charlie Ward's pass and was denied by the post from a narrow angle, and then he forced a smart stop from Jed Steer with a powerful drive after being found by Kris Scott.

Both teams made changes to try and wrestle the initiative, with substitute Olu Durojaiye firing wide for the hosts and Marcel Barrington being denied by Steer for the Potters.

Jacob Murphy spurned two good openings to put the game beyond doubt in the last ten minutes, and Stoke perhaps should have had a penalty in stoppage time after a strong handball shout.

It wasn't given, however, and Norwich completed a double over City with a narrow victory.

Norwich City: Steer; Whittaker, Barnett, Gaffaiti, McNeil; Francomb, Smith, Clunan (Durojaiye 68), Josh Murphy (Hall-Johnson 75); Loza (Young 86), Jacob Murphy.

Stoke City: Bachmann; Rigg, Heneghan, Keane, Taylor; Thomas, Richardson (Hall 84), Ward, Scott, Musungu; Marsden (Barrington 68).

 

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