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Stoke City 2012

It was a glorious night at Stanley Matthews Way as the Potters fans arrived at The Britannia. The pitch was in immaculate condition and to add to the excitement they would be gracing the hallowed turf with Potters legends Philip Heath and Amdy Faye, while being Managed by Carl Beeston and Mike McDonald. As the players were just about to Live the Dream the floods of fans piled into the stands to witness what promised to be a fantastic evening of football.

Thursday 16th May 2012
Stoke City Home vs Stoke City Away
Kick Off: 18:30pm
Legends: Carl Beeston, Philip Heath, Mike McDonald and Amdy Faye
Match Officials: Ben Wiseman, Chris Sharples, Chris Robinson and Jordan Davies

The famous Red and White stripes got the action underway at The Britannia and the game immediately settled into a furious tempo, with both sides struggling to take a grip of the game. With both sides pressing hard, it was the Away team that carved out the first opening. A marvellous ball over the top of the defence from Justin Pugh released Andrew Beardmore who took an excellent first touch, but his attempted half volley went straight over the ball. It was a good early chance, showing real promise from the Away side.

Minutes later, the Home side created their first chance on goal. A professional foul just inside the Red and White half allowed Ross Irving to deliver the ball into the box, the ball bounced as David Johnson found himself with his back to goal. Unaware the goalkeeper rushed off his line the No 6 tried the spectacular overhead kick that just went wide of the post.

A poor goal kick and a defensive lapse gave the Home side another two chances, but they couldn't find that real cutting edge to capitalise and open the scoring. The Away goalkeeper and skipper Callum Lamb will have been delighted not to have conceded under such severe pressure.

With 11 mins on the clock the Away side broke away with centre midfield Scott Morgan before the No 10 switched the play into the path of Justin Pugh. Heading the ball past the first defender and sliding the ball past another Pugh only had the goalkeeper to beat and Alan Clarke was caught flat footed as the No 8 side footed the ball into the net. The superb run was met with the approval of the Away support. (0-1)

The Home side reacted positively, with Crofts winning a free kick on the right hand side of the box. The No 9 picked out the unmarked Ross Irving sitting at the edge and he thundered the ball into the roof of the net. You could see the delight in Irving's face as he ran away doing the famous James McClean heart celebration. That's a strike he will remember for sometime. (1-1)

However, it didn't take long before the Away side regained their lead. A poor pass was intercepted by Nick Medlicott and the No 6 unleashed a long range shot which troubled keeper Clarke, before a poor clearance/pass to legend Philip Heath allowed Andrew Beardmore to slot the ball low and hard past the helpless goalkeeper. (1-2)

The Away side went in search of a third, not allowing the Red and White stripes to get out of their half. A foul on the edge of the box gave the Away side a fantastic set piece opportunity, Trevor Oliver stepped up but the ball was headed off the line and out for a corner. A short corner between Pugh and Oliver was whipped into the 6 yard box and Morey could only header the ball off Andrew Beardmore and into the back of the net. (1-3)

Again the Away team continued to pass the ball around confidently and were rewarded with minutes remaining in the first half. Left footed Nick Medlicott, curled his free kick into the far top corner from the right edge of the box. As he ran away, punching the air, you could see the delight with that strike, bravo! (1-4)

Half-Time: Stoke City Home 1 - 4 Stoke City Away

Away team manager Mike McDonald kept his team talk very light-hearted and urged his boys to maintain their level of play, while in the other dressing room Carl Beeston had a job on his hands picking his side up. The Blue's were also bolstered by Amdy Faye pulling on his boots and slotting in at left back but it was the Home side who started the second half brighter of the two, immediately getting forward and putting the opposition onto the back foot.

However, it wasn't long before the Away side got into the pace of the half, and opened the second half scoring. A bit of great triangle football from Morgan and Jones, allowed Richard Williams to find space on the edge and the No 5's, powerful, side footed effort proved to be too much for the opposition keeper to handle as it went though his hands and into the goal to increase the Away team's lead. (1-5)

The Red and White's got their reward by persistence though, Stoke legend Amdy Faye was robbed at the edge of his own box by striker Mark Crofts, before he slotted the ball comfortably into the bottom right hand corner. (2-5)

The goal really spurred on Carl Beeston's side and 3 good chances went astray. The Away side capitalised on the misses and on the hour mark a long range toe poke from Jamie Jones slipped under the goalkeeper to restore their 4 goal lead. (2-6)

5 mins later, a shocking tackle on Philip Heath gave Captain Nathan Moore a free kick within shooting range. Wiping the dirt off his boot, the impressive Midfielder got the ball up and over the defensive wall and it was heading towards the bottom corner. However No1 Lamb did well to get down and parry the ball away for a corner.

A fast break left the Red and White's for dead though, after a precise through ball from Jones set his striking partner away. Andrew Beardmore had two supporting midfielders running into the box but the clinical striker stuck the ball home to complete his hat-trick. (2-7)

Straight from centre the Blues piled on the pressure, not letting the Home side out of their half. They enjoyed a decent spell of possession for 10 mins and the pressure soon counted as Jonathan Parton found himself in space on the edge of the area. The defence was slow to close the No 14 down as his tricky curling shot bounced awkwardly in front of the goalkeeper and into the corner. (2-8)

Despite the scoreline the Home side were now in the ascendency and it wasn't long again before they threatened the opposition goal. Pete Nixon's through ball down the left hand touchline was cleared out for a corner. The left footed out swinging corner landed perfectly at the feet of Platt, who should have scored but his left foot half volley drifted over the bar.

The momentum from the Home team continued, but they couldn't capitalise on several half chances in and round the box and with 15 mins to play a route one over the high defensive line saw the Away team's Andrew Beardmore win a corner. It was played short, allowing Morgan to drill the ball in low and hard and some crucial errors from the defence allowed a simple header from Jamie Jones to end up in the net. (2-9)

Another precarious free-kick was awarded, only this time it was the Home team who were the beneficiaries after Striker Mark Crofts turned Faye beautifully just outside the area. The free-kick was taken by Jake Rigby, who sent a dangerous looking left footed shot towards the far left corner, only to see it go just over.

Despite the score-line it was an enjoyable game to watch, with some fantastic passing football by both teams and some superb finishes. Both teams were cheered to the rafters as they came off by the typically noisy Britannia crowd and will have been hugely proud of their efforts.

Full-Time: Stoke City Home 2 - 9 Stoke City Away

Man of the Match Home: David Mollart
Man of the Match Away: Scott Morgan
Moment of the Match: Ross Irving

Home Team: Alan Clarke, Neil Johnson, Philip Heath, Ross Irving, David Mollart, David Johnson, Jake Rigby, Julian Morey, Mark Crofts, Nathan Moore (C), William Platt, Eric Lamb, David Brearley, Pete Nixon
Manager: Carl Beeston
Mascot: Caidon Fox-Copeland

Away Team: Callum Lamb (C), Trevor Oliver, Amdy Faye, Karl DeGiovanni, Richard Williams, Nick Medlicott, Matthew Procter, Justin Pugh, Andrew Beardmore, Scott Morgan, Jamie Jones, Jonathan Parton, Andrew Donald, James Donald, Roger Dale
Manager: Mike McDonald
Mascot: Flynn Hatfield-Evans