Stoke City 2 – Andrew Musungu(17th), Jordan Richardson(68th)
Middlesborough 1 – (36th)
The Stoke side was an unchanged team from the previous game, an away win over Charlton thanks to a Lucas Dawson freekick. The trio of Daniel Bachmann, Karim Rossi and Smajl Suljevic all received their international clearance to play against Charlton, however Suljevic was left out and midfielders Dawson, Richardson and Clarkson started.
The Potters started the game brightly, a chance down the left from Andy Hall indicated Stoke’s intentions to attack from the off. The ball hardly escaped out of the Boro half and Stoke kept it well. The first chance for Middlesborough came when the flying winger, #11, cut inside from the left wing and drilled a low shot at Stoke ‘keeper Daniel Bachmann’s near post, but the Austrian U18 international saved well. City continued piling pressure on and the first golden chance came from a Lucas Dawson freekick. The Captain scored the winner from a free kick last weekend away to Charlton, but this time his shot skimmed past the far post with the ‘keeper rooted to the spot.
For a good while, the ball rarely found it’s way into the Stoke half and the goal inevitably came when Andrew Musungu picked the ball up on the half way line, spun around the closing midfielder and ra on. The JU18 Congo international found space 25yards out and smashed a shot into the bottom corner of the Middlesborough net, 1-0 to Stoke.
The game settled down and from then neither side had many chances. However, out of the blue Middlesborough equalised. A quick corner found their Captain, #4 who flicked the ball into the corner of Bachmann’s goal. A goal out of the blue . The next attack nearly provided a second for Boro when a cross found #9 who’s header had Bachmann rooted to the post but the ball bounced off the post and wide.
The 2nd half started quietly but it was not long before Stoke had their first chance of the half, winger Musungu was played through down the left and the wide-man used his quick feet and dribbling skills to give himself half a yard to cross but Tunji could only head wide. Middlesborough replied however and some smart play found the Boro #10 who turned but curled his shot over Bachmann’s goal. The game suddently came to life and after a tidy spell of possession a Tunji backheel found Jordan Richardson who was through, but the Boro captain slid and made a last ditch tackle to divert the ball for a corner. Stoke carried on pushing forward and another chance came. Substitute Smajl Suljevic played a stunning through ball that found Musungu, from the tight angle Musungu could only drill a cross along the 6 yard box that nobody was able to get on the end of it.
Having cemented a place in the starting eleven, Jordan Richardson repaid the managers faith in him with a goal at home against Bristol City. The Liverpool-born midfielder did the same again against Middlesborough. The young midfielder picked the ball up outside of the box and powered a left footed shot towards the goal, the ‘keeper fumbled and the ball rolled into the net giving Stoke the lead. With Stoke in the lead once again and on top, the team were looking confident and pushed on even more.
The game looked to be heading in Stoke’s favour with the team on top and seeming like they were going to grab all 3 points, however Middlesborough weren’t down yet. A run down the right by the Middlesborough winger gave the player time to put a ball across the box along the floor and the striker simply tapped home. The goal knocked the stuffing out of the team once again, as there seemed to be a ‘curse’ on the team for conceding deep into time. Another late goalconceded for City. Another 2 points dropped in the last minute. Another disappointing result.
Stoke City XI(433)
Connor Roberts-Nurse : Immanuel Parry : Ryan O’Reilly : Andy Hall
Jordan Richardson : Lucas Dawson(c) : Michael Clarkson
Tunji Agbaeje : Karim Rossi : Andrew Musungu