Derby County Under-18s 3 (Thomas, Bennett, Hanson)
Stoke City Under-18s 1 (Weston-Hayles sent off, Coban)
STOKE CITY'S hopes of making further progress in the FA Youth Cup were put to bed on Thursday evening as they undeservedly fell to a 3-1 defeat against Derby County.
The young Potters had a hatful of chances during the opening 45 minutes but were unable to force the ball over the line and were punished at the iPro Stadium as the home side scored three second half goals.
City weren’t helped in their quest to secure a place in the fifth round of the prestigious competition when Charles Weston-Hayles was sent off just after the hour mark, but the Potters did manage a consolation goal in additional time when Yusuf Coban capitalised on a lapse in concentration in the Derby defence to fire into an empty net.
An unexpected hail storm before kick-off made conditions a little bit more difficult for both sides on a rather chilly evening in Derbyshire and it was the Potters who settled the better and almost got off to the perfect start inside the opening 10 minutes.
Taylor’s delightful delivery from a left-wing corner was powered towards the top corner by Derice Richards who saw the keeper claw the ball out from under his crossbar before pushing it away for a corner.
John Perkins’ side continued on the front foot and had two glorious opportunities in quick succession to take the lead, as Taylor’s drilled ball across the box was well controlled by Richards and his effort was blocked by the onrushing Jakub Spiriak, before the rebound fell to Oliver Shenton who saw his drive cleared off the line and hacked away to safety.
City, who reached the fourth round of the competition after a penalty shootout victory over Leyton Orient in December, were in complete control and had a further chance as the clock ticked towards the 20 minute mark when Richards tried his luck from distance but saw his effort pushed over by the ‘keeper.
Derby slowly grew into the half and a long ball over the top almost saw the home side take the lead but after Kwame Thomas flicked into the path of Mason Bennett it seemed certain he would score but for a last ditch challenge by a covering defender.
The Potters always looked a threat on the break with the pace of Weston-Hayles, Richards and Taylor and the trio almost combined for the opener but the former’s shot was blocked from 10 yards before the ball dropped to Shenton whose effort was parried away to safety by Spiriak.
Stoke finished the half well and would have been disappointed not to have broken the deadlock as they continued to see chances come and go as Shenton and Weston-Hayles had 20-yard shots saved by the keeper.
The away side took their momentum into the second period as Jake Cook curled an effort from the edge-of-the-area just wide, but 16 minutes after the restart the Rams undeservedly took the lead.
The ball fortuitously fell to Mason Bennett who raced to the byline and pulled the ball back to Thomas, who after seeing his first shot from close range cleared off the line, made no mistake with a second bite of the cherry as the ball rebounded to the forward.
Falling behind didn’t seem to damage Stoke’s confidence as they went in search of an equaliser and after Eddy Lecygne laid the ball into the path of Richards, the Nantwich born striker’s heavy touch forced him wide of goal and his eventual shot from an acute angle failed to trouble the Derby keeper.
However, just after the hour mark City’s hopes of getting back into the game were dealt a major blow when Weston-Hayles suffered a rush of blood to his head and aimed a slap at Farrend Rawson’s face and was consequently shown a red card by the referee.
Any chance that Stoke did have was extinguished with two quick fire goals from the hosts as Bennett pounced from five yards after Gyollai parried the ball into his path, before James Hanson curled in a 20-yard free-kick which left the City stopper with no chance.
The Potters did manage to find the back of the net in the last minute of the game when Coban struck from close range after a mix up in the Rams backline, but it was too late for Stoke who missed out on a home tie to Newcastle United in the last eight.
Derby County: Spiriak, Dryden, Lowe, Guy, Hanson, Rawson, Revan (Adams 45), Vernam (Zanzala 76), Thomas, Capitani (Johnson 79), Bennett. Subs not used: Barnes, Nash.
Stoke City: Gyollai, Cook (Renee-Pringle 62), Strong, Lecygne, Sanders, Edwards, Shenton (Shields 76), Monlouis, Weston-Hayles, Richards (Coban 85), Taylor. Subs not used: Kurasik, Pickerill.