Shenton strike secures semi-final spot...
STOKE CITY U23s progressed to the next round of the Staffordshire Senior Cup with a narrow 1-0 victory over Stone Old Alleynians on Tuesday night, writes Conor Shaw.
Ollie Shenton netted the only goal of the tight encounter down at Wellbeing Park – which saw the Potters hold onto victory after a second half onslaught from the home side.
Fresh from their impressive Premier League Cup rout against Sunderland, Kevin Russell’s men looked to assure yet another spot in the semi-finals and remain on course to add to their tally of Senior Cup titles.
Whereas Stone Old Alleynians’ secured their quarter-final place with an emphatic victory over Sporting Khalsa, and in doing so, reached the furthest stage in the competition in their history.
Neither side looked in command in the game’s early stages, but the Potters stamped their authority on the match when they took the lead. Shenton was gifted acres of space on the edge of the area, and the skipper drilled his strike hard and low into the bottom corner despite Adam Alcock’s best efforts.
Gabriel Kyeremateng looked bright on his return from a long-term injury and the German youngster almost doubled the Potters’ advantage courtesy of a smart pass from Abdoulaye Toure. His through ball carved open the Old Alleynians’ defence, and Alcock did well to palm away his effort from close range.
A boggy and battered pitch caused problems for both sides on the attack, and it prevented the visitors from heading into the break with a two-goal lead. Pemberton created space for himself to have an effort at goal, only to be denied by the sticky surface – and he saw his strike sail wide.
The rain eventually stopped falling in Yarnfield and Matthew Smith’s men continued to press for a leveller in the tough conditions. A dipping effort from David Ablewhite didn’t cause any problems for Daniel Gyollai, before the Hungarian was called into action yet again moments later to prevent a tame strike from Samuel Wilson.
City will be in the hat for the semi-finals on the competition, with the ties scheduled to the played the week commencing 4th March 2019.
Stoke City: Gyollai, Forrester, Wara, Collins, Niakate, Balde (Twyford 46), Dunwoody, Pemberton, Shenton, Toure (Jennings 68), Kyeremateng. Unused: Kanuric, Jarvis.