First-team chalk up victory in opening pre-season friendly against League Two side...
STOKE CITY 5 (Afobe 7, Choupo-Moting 47, Crouch 59, Berahino, 76, Campbell 90)
MACCLESFIELD TOWN 2 (Evans 11, Trialist 90+2)
STOKE CITY stepped up their preparations for the new campaign by defeating League Two side Macclesfield Town in a behind-closed-doors friendly on Tuesday afternoon.
The Potters took to the field for the first time under boss Gary Rowett and produced an impressive display as they chalked up a 5-2 triumph over last season’s National League champions at Clayton Wood.
Rowett handed a first start in red and white to Benik Afobe, with the former Wolverhampton Wanderers man making an almost immediate impression by firing the hosts into a seventh minute lead.
The DR Congo ace, who was a constant nuisance with his blistering pace and intelligent runs in behind, showed his clinical instinct by lashing a ferocious strike past the Town ‘keeper after latching onto Ryan Shawcross’ long-ball forward.
The lead lasted just a matter of minutes however, as Callum Evans produced a moment of magic from 25-yards, letting rip a sublime strike which left Danish stopper Jakob Haugaard helpless.
The Potters were always the more dominant side on display though and should have asserted their superiority on several occasions, with the impressive Afobe and Giannelli Imbula both going close to edging City back in front.
It was after the half-time interval that Rowett’s side really put their foot on the gas though with Maxim Choupo-Moting needing just three minutes to open his tally for pre-season after showing good footwork to manoeuvre enough space for himself inside the 18-yard box.
The home side, who made 11 changes at the interval, continued to dominate with Charlie Adam the architect of a third goal on the hour mark, producing a pinpoint delivery to Peter Crouch, who made no mistake from eight-yards.
At the other end Adam Federici, another player making his first appearance for the Club, was forced into his first meaningful work of the afternoon by Evans, before some slick interchange down the right culminated in Moritz Bauer teeing up Saido Berahino to hammer home a fourth of the afternoon.
The visitors struggled to contain the Potters pacy and intelligent frontline and it was another front-man, Tyrese Campbell, who took the tally up to five in the final minute, netting at the second attempt after his first strike had been superbly saved by Macclesfield Town’s substitute stopper.
Right at the death the Silkmen netted their second goal of the encounter with a Macclesfield Town trialist capitalising on some hesitancy in the backline and stabbing past Federici.
Stoke City (First-Half): Haugaard; Edwards, Shawcross, Huth, Pieters; Fletcher, Imbula; Verlinden, Allen, Bojan; Afobe.
Stoke City (Second-Half): Federici; Bauer, Souttar, Martins Indi, Tymon; Adam, Afellay; Campbell, Berahino, Choupo-Moting; Crouch.