UNDER-18S COACH John Perkins was 'astounded' that his team drew a blank in their 1-0 defeat at Newcastle United on Saturday... and insists they should have even won the game after leaving with nothing.
Daniel Barlaser scored two minutes before the end for the Magpies, giving them the three points and punishing a City side who spurned a number of chances in a game they largely dominated.
Perkins was clearly frustrated with the result when he spoke exclusively to stokecityfc.com after the final whistle, but he did remain encouraged by the performance of his side.
"It's astounded me that we haven't scored a goal from five excellent chances," he said.
"I always feel, with the forward players we've got and the creative midfielders we've got, we'll score a goal in a game. It was our fault, we should have taken our chances - we have to do better than that.
"I'm really disappointed for the lads because in the second-half they put in a really good shift and they definitely deserved something out of the game and could have won with the chances they created."
Perkins, who took over the reins from Dave Kevan at the start of the season, was particularly irked by the nature by which his team conceded the late winner.
"When we had five minutes to go in the game, we had people running to take throw-ins and free-kicks - when you're away from home, you've travelled for four hours and you're drawing 0-0, you've got to take the sting out of the game.
"We had people rushing and racing around when they should have been taking their time. Hopefully they took the message on board afterwards - we told them in no uncertain manner.
"We were really gutted for them because they deserved something but the result read 'Newcastle 1-0 Stoke City'."
The players came from behind in both of their first two games against Manchester United and Aston Villa to win, and Perkins thinks they've got the spirit and quality to bounce back from this defeat.
"They'll show a lot of determination. We've got some good, young players here. They have to mature very quickly, though, because their time here goes very quickly."