Newcastle United Under-21s 2 (Gilliead 32, Kemen 45)
Stoke City Under-21s 4 (Alabi 11, Ward, 18, Kemen og 48, Richards 60)
STOKE CITY’S development squad put four goals past Newcastle United on Monday afternoon as they recorded their first victory in the Barclays Under-21 Premier League since the beginning of February.
In a topsy-turvy encounter at the Magpies’ training ground, strikes from James Alabi, Charlie Ward, Derice Richards and an own goal from Olivier Kemen secured City all three points after being pegged back to 2-2 on the stroke of half time.
It was the side’s third away win of the season and sets them up nicely for their final match of the campaign on Friday evening when they welcome Chelsea to the Britannia Stadium (7pm kick-off).
Glyn Hodges’ side made a positive start to proceedings in the north east and they deservedly took the lead on 11 minutes when Alabi, who returned for the game whilst still on loan at Scunthorpe United, pounced on a quick throw-in and fired past Jonathan Mitchell in the United goal.
It was to get even better for the Potters moments later as Ward surged through the Newcastle backline before delightfully chipping the ball over the onrushing Mitchell and into the back of the net.
City almost grabbed a third but Kemen came to the rescue of the home side as he cleared off the line with Alabi ready to pounce, before Peter Beardsley’s team gradually grew into the game and pulled a goal back.
With their first real meaningful effort on the City goal, England Under-18 striker Alex Gilliead raced towards the area and dispatched past Austrian ‘keeper Daniel Bachmann.
The home side continued to apply the pressure and Bachmann had to be at his best to tip over Jonathyn Quinn’s drive, before being more called into action from the resulting corner as he saved well from Greg Olley.
However, it wasn’t long before United made their pressure pay dividends as they pulled level seconds before the break when Kemen was felled inside the box and the attacker dusted himself down and dispatched from the penalty spot.
The equaliser didn’t seem to affect the away side though, and they retook the lead three minutes into the second period as Kemen sliced the ball into his own net following a dangerous ball into the United six-yard area.
City re-established the two goal cushion which they had earlier let slip on the hour mark when second-year scholars Joel Taylor and Richards combined for the latter to turn home the former’s cross at the far post.
The Potters were this time able to comfortably hold onto their advantage as they restricted Newcastle to just one clear-cut chance in the remaining 30 minutes but Bachmann was quick off his line to thwart Gael Bigirimana at the midfielder’s feet.
In the end Alabi could have added further gloss to the scoreline for the visitors however the powerful forward headed over Eddy Lecygne’s corner before being denied by Mitchell after a quick counter attack.
Newcastle United: Mitchell, Sterry, Mbabu (Gibson 69), Bigirimana, Streete (McKinnon 46), Satka, Richardson, Kemen, Gilliead, Olley (Smith 62), Quinn. Unused: Woolston, Drennan.
Stoke City: Bachmann, Wheeler, Gomez (Cook 90), Ward, Grant, Watkins, Adeloye (Richards 57), Lecygne, Alabi, Monlouis, Taylor. Unused: Eve, Sanders.