Stoke City 0
- Match reports
- 14 February 2014 20:53
- Posted by @markbooth_mcfc
City EDS overcame torrid conditions, a missed penalty and a red card to secure an 11th successive win against all the odds at the expense of Stoke City.
Both sides missed from the penalty spot in either half of the match and City were reduced to ten men when Greg Leigh was shown a straight red card with 20 minutes to play.
However, Devante Cole continued his hot scoring streak to notch the night’s only goal just five minutes after the sending off to propel City up to second in the Barclays u21 Premier League.
This Friday night clash marked the second meeting between the Blues and Stoke after they were paired in November’s Barclays Premier League Cup tie.
Patrick Vieira's XI showed just one change from the team that beat Reading on Monday afternoon, with Belgian defender Jason Denayer slotting in alongside Shay Facey at the heart of a defence which has shipped just four goals in their last 10 games.
Pleasingly, Vieira was also able to bring forward Jose Angel Pozo back on the substitute bench after he helped Spain under-18s to second place at the 2014 Atlantic Cup in the Canary Islands.
"Former City Reserves boss Glyn Hodges brought his Stoke side to Hyde on the back of wins against Middlesbrough and Aston Villa, boasting an unbeaten record for the calendar year."
...City EDS v Stoke: Match report..
Unbeaten at under-21 level since the start of October, the Blues were understandably full of confidence when the game kicked off, settling quickly into their high intensity pressing and high octane wide play with wingers and full-backs in tandem.
Leigh nearly teed up Hiwula in the first minutes but his pull-back from the byline was just snuffed out by a combination of Stoke defenders and the goalkeeper, before the striker could profit.
Great credit must go to Hyde groundstaff for getting the game on in the first place after a week of torrential weather in the region, but understandably, conditions were not favourable for sure footing and accurate passing.
Long passages of first-half play were contested in the visibly browning middle third, with this trench warfare punctuated by the odd clear-cut opportunity.
These elements nearly conspired towards an early concession after City goalkeeper Lawlor’s clearance went awry but the Dubliner atoned by pulling off a fine save to deny Charlie Ward who had a clear path to goal.
On 17 minutes, Stoke’s keeper Dale Eve was called into action after Lopes played a sublime slide rule pass into the path of Hiwula but the Potters’ stopper raced out and saved the shot from City’s top scorer on the edge of his area.
With ten minutes of the first 45 to go, the half’s pivotal moment arrived when Lawlor was adjudged to have taken out James Alabi inside the City area.
On first view as it appeared the Irishman made contact with the ball but Ian ensured that it mattered not, as he got down well to save Alabi’s spot-kick, holding onto the ball to prevent the Stoke striker from slotting in the rebound.
"It’s fair to say that the 129 supporters who had spurned candlelit restaurants on Valentine’s Day may have regretted their choice of Friday night entertainment at the break."
...City EDS v Stoke: Match report...
Blustery, biting gusts in City faces, coupled with the afore-mentioned pitch had aided the physically imposing, combative visitors more than the Blues in the first-half.
Knowledge that the wind would be in their sails after the break meant that Vieira’s men could approach the second period with renewed optimism.
City should have been ahead seven minutes into the half after magical work from Lopes on the halfway line – the Portuguese playmaker bewitched his marker with an excellent turn before he picked out Hiwula who raced through on goal.
The 19-year old would surely convert this kind of opportunity 99 times out of 100 but on this occasion, he pulled his effort wide of the target.
Lopes had really started to pull the strings in midfield and he was the creator when the Blues won the second spot-kick of the night on the hour-mark.
“Rony” extravagantly backheeled the ball into Cole but Alex Grant crudely ended the winger’s run with a mistimed slide tackle.
"Lopes himself took captain’s responsibility for the penalty but he pulled it just past the post, meaning the wait for the night’s opening goal went on."
...City EDS v Stoke: Match report...
City’s quest for a 12th successive win became tougher with 20 minutes to go when Leigh was shown a straight red card after an altercation with Grant where it appeared as if the left-back was only trying to separate himself from a tangle of limbs.
However, moments after Vieira introduced a defender in place of Hiwula to shore things up with 15 to play, the ten men took the lead courtesy of Cole’s third goal in three games.
Unsurprisingly t was a goal supplied by Lopes, who showed great tenacity to pick-pocket the last Stoke defender and when the ball rolled into Devante, he slotted coolly past Eve to seal the points and put the Blues above Chelsea into second place in the league.