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OFFICIAL club website of stoke city

Brewers Beaten

STOKE CITY edged out their Staffordshire visitors in the Potters' first competitive outing of the new season.

A goal in each half sealed the victory in a behind-closed-doors friendly at the Club's Clayton Wood training ground on Saturday.

On another day of sweltering temperatures, almost all of City's squad had at least 45 minutes of action to gain some crucial match action ahead of their pre-season tour to the United States this week.

Jamie Ness and Matthew Etherington, who were both carrying slight knocks, were not risked, while Maurice Edu also watched from the sidelines as he continues his rehabilitation following a recent operation.

In action for the visitors was ex-City favourite Rory Delap after recently signing a one year deal with the Brewers.

New signing Erik Pieters lined up in his favoured left-back position in the first-half and looked at home right from the whistle, with long time left back Marc Wilson taking the right-back birth.

Florent Cuvelier had an impressive first 45 minutes along with striker Jon Walters who capped a good display with a neatly taken goal after 22 minutes.

In fact he was the only player to return in the second half as it was all change in personnel, partnering Peter Crouch up-front until taking a well-earned breather when replaced by Academy starlet James Alabi on 70 minutes.

This was after Michael Kightly had extended the lead on 67 minutes with a lovely placed header into the corner of Burton's net from an inch-perfect right sided cross from Charlie Adam.

Under-21 defender Jordan Keane continued with his progression with the first team squad with an impressive second half display at left-back. 

Rory Delap looked comfortable as he played 55 minutes at right-back for the Brewers, but spectators did not get to see any of his trademark long throws as he decided to take all of them short as he explained to after the match.

"Yeah it's a bit too early to get them out of the locker yet, I'll wait until the season starts for that - give my shoulders a rest for now," he said.

"It's great to be back at Clayton Wood and see everyone, not just the lads but everyone else who works here, but it feels a bit strange being part of the opposition.

"It's a great deal for me to join up with Burton, they are a club heading in the right direction and looking to go up, so it will be great to part of and hopefully for me to keep playing football."

First team coach Eddie Niedzwiecki was also happy with the players' performance and application.

"We are very pleased," he told us. "The idea was to give everyone at least 45 minutes and we were delighted with what we saw, especially with how the players took what we have been working on in training on into the game which is important.

"Burton gave us a good test as that was their fourth game of pre-season and only our first and I thought we came through it well with no injuries too which is always very pleasing."

He is also looking ahead to the USA tour and to the three matches which lie ahead for the Potters.

"The trip to the States will be very demanding with three tough games out there. Obviously the heat will be a factor, but it is more game time for the lads to put the belief with what we are working on in training into practise and to make sure that they are ready and raring to go on the 17th August against Liverpool."

First Half: Begovic; Wilson, Shawcross, Huth, Pieters; Shotton, Nzonzi, Palacios, Cuvelier; Jerome, Walters.

Second Half: Sorensen; Wilkinson, Cameron, Muniesa, Keane; Pennant, Adam, Whelan, Kightly; Crouch, Walters (Alabi, 70).

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