Arsenal claim 4-2 win to send Potters out...
STOKE CITY U18s fell to a 4-2 loss at home to Arsenal on Saturday morning in the U18 Premier League Cup.
Kevin Russell’s side were in the game throughout, but a clinical Gunners outfit were too strong for the young Potters who had chances of their own to convert but struggled to do so after coming up against an inspired visiting goalkeeper.
The result means City exit the competition at the group stage after being finely poised to go through before the match with all three other sides sitting on three points apiece.
On a chilly morning at Clayton Wood, the visitors took an early after the Potters sloppily gave the ball away inside their own half. From there Arsenal were clinical, moving the ball decisively before working it to the unmarked Xavier Ameachi who dinked the ball over the onrushing Mate Deczki.
After going behind Russell’s side had most of the ball, making it count in the 10th minute after Abdoulaye Toure found himself clean through after neat interchanging in the City midfield. The winger finished smartly, slipping it underneath Joao Virginia to draw the Potters level.
Mate Deczki was on hand to keep the young Potters level midway through the half after a quick Arsenal move around the 18-yard box resulted in the visitors having a quick snapshot, which the keeper was more than a match for, saving well high to his right.
It was Deczki again who was being worked the greater of the two keepers in the first half, diving low to his right to keep out a tame effort from Matt Smith, who evaded one challenge before seeing his tame effort saved by the City stopper.
The Potters defence were the busier of the two as the first half progressed with goalscorer Amaechi moving the ball cleverly past two defenders before unleashing a curling effort that looked destined for the top corner, but for Deczki who dived high to his right to tip the effort over the crossbar.
Da Silva had a good opportunity moments before the interval for the Potters when his long range effort called Virginia into his first piece of action since the goal as the Arsenal ‘keeper showed no sign of rustiness, diving high to his right, like his opposing number a few minutes earlier.
It didn’t take long for City to go edge ahead after half time when captain Nathan Collins was first to react to tap home Da Silva’s corner which was whipped to the far post.
After applying pressure to draw level, Arsenal did finally equalise through Emilie Rowe-Smith in the 65th minute. He picked up the ball just inside the opposition half before going unchallenged into the penalty area, skipping one more attempted challenge and curling a low effort past Deczki.
It took the Gunners only eight minutes to take the lead thereafter when a low ball caused some confusion in the City box, which resulted in Robbie Burton tapping in.
Krisztofer Szereto went down the other end and found space in the Arsenal box moments later, before seeing a fierce deflected effort looked destined to be trickle inside the post, but the ball rolled agonisingly wide for the young Potters who were pushing hard for an equaliser.
In the end it was Arsenal score the sixth and final goal of an entertaining encounter when deep into the closing stages they passed their way through the City defence before Smith finished off the move, powering the ball past Deczki.
Stoke City: Deczki; Forrester, Murphy (Russo), Stanton, Wara, Collins, Szereto, Twyford, Greenidge, Da Silva, Toure (Jennings). Unused: Allen, Macari, Porter.