JOHN PERKINS was left disappointed after seeing his Under-18 side exit the FA Youth Cup against Derby County on Thursday evening.
The young Potters missed a host of first half chances and were left to rue their failure in front of goal in the second period as the Rams ran out undeserved 3-1 winners at the iPro Stadium to set up a quarter-final tie at home to Newcastle United in the next round.
The former Derby youth team coach revealed to stokecityfc.com that despite the defeat he was pleased with the performance of his players, particularly after the opening 45 minutes.
"I think overall what we can take away from the game was the character and attitude of the players, particularly in the first half when I thought we did really well and created two or three great chances," Perkins said.
"If we go in at half time a couple of goals up then it's a completely different game.
"It just doesn't seem to be rolling for us at the moment in the box. I know you have to make your own luck but our finishing has been a big problem this season, there is no doubt about that, and it's something we need to address."
After falling behind early in the second half and then seeing striker Charles Weston-Hayles sent off on the hour mark, Perkins knew his side faced an uphill task but praised a number of players, including goalscorer Yusuf Coban as the team now turn their attentions towards the league.
"The second half was pretty even but then they go one nil up through a lucky rebound which we don't seem to be getting and obviously Charles getting sent off gives us a massive mountain to climb," he added.
"We didn't do too badly with ten men but when the second goal went in it really killed us. We tried to get one back but were caught out on the counter attack.
"I thought Jake Cook who hasn't played for four or five weeks came in at right back and performed well and Eddy Lecygne in midfield was outstanding, whilst the others contributed really well on the night.
"Yusuf worked hard when he came on and got a little bit of luck with the rebound to score but that goal should hopefully help him for the rest of the season."