Stoke City Under-18s 4 (Cook 4, Strong 18, 38, Coban 41)
Liverpool Under-18s 1 (Rimmer 39)
STOKE CITY’s Under-18s secured their first win of 2014 with a superb 4-1 victory over Liverpool on Saturday morning at Clayton Wood.
First half strikes from Jake Cook and Yusuf Coban sandwiched a brace from left back Curtis Strong, whilst Matty Rimmer’s goal before the interval proved to be only a consolation effort for the visitors.
Liverpool should have headed back to Merseyside on the wrong end of a much bigger scoreline as City failed to add to their four goals after opening the scoring as early as the fourth minute.
Right back Cook collected the ball on the halfway line before surging forward deep inside the opposition half and with no challenge in sight, the second year scholar let fly on the edge-of-the-area and saw his powerful drive nestle in the far corner of the net, leaving Ben Jackson with no chance.
The goal allowed the Potters to open up and express themselves and Joel Taylor rattled the crossbar with a rasping drive from 20 yards before his side added to their advantage on 16 minutes through rather bizarre circumstances.
Strong chased down a back pass to Jackson and the Liverpool ‘keeper fired his clearance into the Wales Under-19 international before seeing it drop into his own net, much to the delight of City’s youngsters.
Liverpool rallied and had a couple of good chances to get back into the match but were twice thwarted by Hungarian stopper Daniel Gyollai who rushed out of his goal to deny Rimmer at his feet before doing likewise from fellow wide man Alex O’Hanlon.
In a flurry of goals at the end of the first period it was the Potters who made it three on 38 minutes when good play between Kieran Monlouis and Derice Richards set up Strong just inside the area and he manoeuvred the ball onto his right foot before curling a scrumptious effort past a helpless Jackson.
Just 60 seconds later the away side grabbed a goal back after Will Marsh played the ball into the path of Rimmer who fired into the far corner with a low drive from the corner of the six-yard box.
The scoring wasn’t to end their however as Coban got his name on the scoresheet four minutes before the half-time whistle after he chased down a weak back pass from David Roberts, and after battling for the ball with the keeper, the German forward fired into the net from close range.
John Perkins’ side continued their momentum into the second half and Nantwich born striker Richards forced the keeper into a smart save from distance within minutes of the restart.
In their efforts to try and muster a goal back, Liverpool were always going to be susceptible to being found short of numbers at the back and with a better final ball from the Potters they could have easily fallen further behind.
The visitors did manage to create one glorious opportunity when the ball was sprayed out to O’Hanlon just inside the area who pulled the trigger and saw Gyollai pull off a fantastic stop to push the shot onto the bar before it was scrambled away to safety.
City finished the stronger of the two sides and could have made it five before full time but after a ball over the top was well control by Coban, his ball across the box was fired towards goal from Richards however he saw his close range effort cleared off the line by the covering Daniel Cleary.
Stoke City: Gyollai, Cook, Strong, Monlouis, Sanders (c), Edwards, Taylor, Renee-Pringle (Jarvis 87), Richards, Coban, Shenton (Shepherd 80). Unused: Kurasik, Banks, Vassell.
Liverpool: Jackson, Whelan (Dobie 76), Roberts, Cleary, Sheron, Brewitt (c), O’Hanlon, Virtue, Maxwell (Travis 63), Marsh, Rimmer. Unused: Shamal.