Stoke City Under-18s 1 (Adeloye 36)
Middlesbrough Under-18s 2 (Mondal 52, McCarthy 72)
THE UNDER-18s' hopes of extending their unbeaten run to five games were extinguished on Tuesday as they slipped to a narrow 2-1 defeat at the hands of Middlesbrough.
Despite Tomi Adeloye netting for the sixth time in five games, two second half strikes from the visitors claimed all three points.
The Potters will have been left bitterly disappointed at not taking at least a point form the contest after dominating for long periods, as well as the fact of missing out on achieving the double over the North East outfit after beating their opponents 1-0 earlier in the season.
On a wet afternoon in the Potteries, it was 'Boro who made the brighter start when City allowed Jonathan Helm time and space to whip the ball to the edge of the six-yard area for Dael Fry to divert a header just wide.
The hosts soon gained control of the encounter and almost broke the deadlock on 19 minutes but after Peter Makrillos seemed to have been clipped by a clumsy challenge from Tom Dawson in the Middlesbrough goal, the referee turned down City's strong appeals for a penalty.
Stoke camped themselves in the opposition half for long periods and after Kieran Monlouis saw an effort from the edge-of-the-area deflected onto the crossbar, the home side took the lead with nine minutes remaining of the first period.
After the ball was played out to Jake Cook on the right, the full back whipped his cross to the far post and Adeloye was on hand to beat the 'keeper to the ball and head home from close range.
Strike partner Derice Richards then when close to adding to City's lead moments later when he latched onto Adeloye's flick but his shot from 18-yards was comfortably dealt with by Dawson, before Dominic Kurasik had to be alert at the opposite end to preserve the advantage after he pushed Priestley Griffiths' thunderbolt away to safety.
John Perkins' side came out bright in the second half as the sun shone out from behind the clouds and Yusuf Coban almost got his name on the scoresheet but after the German forward had worked some space for himself his effort from just outside the area flew just over.
A lapse in concentration was to prove crucial seven minutes into the second half for the home side though as Junior Mondal levelled for Boro when he tapped in from close range following Helm's cross into the six-yard area.
However, it wasn't long before City went back in search of retaking the lead as both Coban and Monlouis wasted good chances when in promising positions, before Richards saw an effort cleared off the line as it headed for the bottom corner.
The Potters were made to pay for their missed opportunities on 72 minutes when the defence failed to deal with a long ball forward and allowed Scott McCarthy to weave an opening before curling an effort into the far corner of the net from 14 yards.
The game became stretched as both sides looked for the fourth goal of the game in the remaining minutes and City almost found an equaliser but Peter Makrillos diverted a near post header just wide before Boro nearly extended their lead at the other end with the last attack, but Kurasik pulled off a superb reaction save to deny Tom McAloon from close range.
Stoke City: Kurasik, Cook, Wyatt (Pickerill 78), Lecygne, Sanders, Coulson, Coban, Makrillos (Douglas 86), Adeloye, Richards (Taylor 74), Monlouis. Unused: Shields, Hulme.
Middlesbrough: Dawson, Helm, Elsdon, Wheatley (c), Fry, McGinley, McCarthy (Wyke 85), Griffiths, McAloon, Plews (Johnson 65), Mondal (Jowers 71).