STOKE CITY 0
WEST HAM UNITED 1
STOKE CITY'S Under-21 side slipped to a narrow 1-0 defeat to West Ham United at the Britannia Stadium on Saturday afternoon.
Despite the Potters including first team players Brek Shea, Maurice Edu and Jamie Ness in their starting line-up they were unable to find a way past a stubborn Hammers defence.
After an even opening 10 minutes, the Potters almost broke the deadlock with their first opportunity. A fine one-two on the edge-of-the-area between Shea and George Waring released the former in on goal, but with only Stephen Henderson to beat in the West Ham goal he poked his effort just wide.
It was the Hammers however who were to take the lead on 16 minutes when former Bradford City loanee Blair Turgott skipped past Kevin Gomez and pulled the ball back from the byline for George Moncur to fire into the back of the net.
West Ham almost extended their lead four minutes later. Danny Whitehead played in Turgott who once again raced to the byline but this time his pull back was hit onto the post by Dylan Tombides and cleared away to safety.
The visitors were continuing to dominate possession and almost made it two on 22 minutes. An exquisite corner from the left by Moncur was headed towards the top corner by Sebastian Lletget but City were indebted to a covering defender on the line to clear the danger.
Frazer Shaw was next to try his luck for Nick Haycock’s team but his 20-yard effort from the corner of the box cannoned off the far post and cleared away.
The Potters had their keeper Daniel Bachmann to thank seconds later when he denied Lletget from six yards with a one-handed save low to his right.
Shea was looking lively for City and after being released down the left he was only stopped from grabbing an equaliser when Henderson saved with his legs at the near post.
Stoke started to come back into the game and Henderson was once more on hand to save West Ham when he denied both Adam Thomas and Waring from close range just before the break.
The visitors had a glorious chance to extend their lead five minutes after the interval. Moncur’s corner kick deliveries were causing problems for Stoke and it was substitute Dan Potts who directed a free header from six yards straight at a grateful Bachmann.
Glyn Hodges’ side tried to fashion a leveller but saw efforts from both Alabi and sub Charlie Ward were comfortably dealt with by Henderson.
The introduction of Karim Rossi on the hour mark gave the Potters fresh impetus in their search for an equaliser and the winger went close with a low drive which went just wide.
As Stoke started to open out, the Hammers became dangerous on the break with the pace of Turgott and the winger went close with a shot from 20 yards that was deflected wide.
West Ham had chances to make it two just before the end, but Bachmann was on hand to tip Tombides header over the bar before reacting well to save low down to deny Lletget.
Stoke City: Bachmann, Wheeler, Gomez, Edu, Grant, Keane (c), Thomas (Rossi), Ness (Ward), Waring, Alabi, Shea. Subs: Watkins, Eve, Ward, Heneghan, Rossi.
West Ham United: Henderson, Driver, Shaw, Lletget, Chambers, Ruddock, Turgott, Moncur, Tombides, Whitehead, Sadlier. Subs: Fanimo, Nemrava, Maguire, Potts, Miles.