U23’s Record First Home Win
Stoke City’s U23 side laid the foundations for the first team with victory over Middlesbrough tonight.
The 3-1 win was the U23’s first home win of the campaign and was a hard fought battle against an impressive visiting side.
Stoke had the better of the opening period and deservedly went into the break 2-0 ahead.
Dom Telford was lively throughout the evening and he brilliantly headed Tom Edwards’ cross into the bottom corner after 17 minutes.
The former Blackpool striker grabbed a second 20 minutes later, when he was on hand to stab Thibaud Verlinden’s corner over the line.
Verlinden, who was playing on the back of an impressive break with Belgium’s U19 squad, was a constant threat on the left wing and his progress is a delight to see.
But it was Middlesbrough who progressed in the second half. They came away from the interval like a totally different animal, peppering Harry Isted’s goal with shots from all angles.
And it came as no surprise when they did eventually score through Hayden Coulson’s superbly taken volley.
With a majority of the second half still to play it was going to be tough for Stoke to hold on, but the back line- superbly marshalled by captain Lewis Banks- held firm and Boro’s ambition for an equaliser was leaving gaps in their defence.
As the game drifted into stoppage time Stoke expertly exploited those gaps.
Telford nutmegged an opponent and his pass found Julien Ngoy. Ngoy had done little throughout the evening, but he drifted infield and fired a low left-footed strike beyond the goalkeeper to seal the points for Stoke.
It was a brilliant goal to seal victory on a chilly night in Leek.
Stoke City: Isted, T. Edwards, Taylor, Jarvis, Banks, L. Edwards, Waddington, Shenton, Ngoy, Telford, Verlinden. Unused: Gyollai, Molina, Sadiki, Silva, Jokelainen.
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