Manchester United Under-21s 0
Stoke City Under-21s 1 (Thomas, 56')
STOKE CITY'S Under-21s secured a magnificent 1-0 victory over Manchester United on Friday afternoon courtesy of Adam Thomas' second half header.
Glyn Hodges' side were dominant for long periods and deserved their win, but had to dig deep for the final half hour when Ryan O'Reilly was dismissed for two bookable offences.
Against an experienced United eleven which included first-team players Fabio, Darren Fletcher and Wilfried Zaha, Stoke displayed confidence in possession and resilience to secure the win.
It was the Red Devils who had the first opportunity of the game on 13 minutes. Forward Larnell Cole was fed inside the box but he fired at the onrushing City keeper Daniel Bachmann who turned his shot over for a corner.
City responded with chances of their own. First, Thomas forced Ben Amos into a smart save after cutting in from the right and unleashing a left-footed drive before Charlie Ward screwed a 25-yard effort off target.
The Potters were passing the ball around with real freedom and created another opening when Elliot Wheeler released Thomas, but the winger's cross to the edge-of-the-area was fired just over by Ward.
United almost grabbed an undeserved lead before the break when Zaha was played clean through down the right, but the former Crystal Palace frontman fired wide of Bachmann's far post.
The home team were the quickest out of the traps after the interval and City were indebted to Bachmann who denied Tom Lawrence from point-blank range before stopping Zaha after the youngster's mazy run.
It wasn't look before the Potters reasserted their dominance and deservedly made the breakthrough on 56 minutes. After Adam Thomas had won a corner down the City right, the winger popped up to head home Ness's delightful near post delivery.
City superiority was to end six minutes later however when O'Reilly, who had earlier been booked, made a rash challenge on Lawrence and it left the referee with no alternative but to dismiss the Irishman.
The Potters regrouped and dug in for the remainder of the game and restricted United to only one real chance but their appeals for a penalty in the closing stages were turned down by the referee after Jack Barmby went down under heavy pressure inside the box.
Manchester United: Amos, Varela, James (Pearson 90), Thorpe, M Keane, Ekangamene, Zaha, Fletcher, W Keane (Lawrence 5), Cole, Fabio (Barmby 46). Subs not used: Gollini, Love.
Stoke City: Bachmann, Wheeler, O'Reilly, Ness, Grant, Watkins, Thomas, Dawson (Cook 75), Richards, Ward, Rossi. Subs not used: Gyollai, Heneghan, Westley, Richardson.