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Stokes Res 5 Grimsby Res 1
By: Mike Worden
ON THE FACE OF IT losing at Newcastle is no disgrace. However this was Newcastle under Lyme, the opposition was Stoke reserves and the scoreline was 5-1.
Stoke City reserves alternate their home games between the Brittania Stadium and Newcastle Townâ€™s Lyme Valley Stadium and a large crowd had turned up to watch two new Stoke signings make their debuts, rather than the attraction of the Marinersâ€™ second string. Unfortunately for the Stokies one of the new boyâ€™s clearance papers failed to turn up and so Norwegian Ole Albrigtsen spent the afternoon chatting to the crowd despite being named as a substitute. The players and crowd were separated by a cycle track with impressive banking behind each goal. It was so impressive that Neil Woods and Ian Knight went and stood on the top of it for all of the second half.
Town played in yellow shirts, City in red and white stripes. Stuart Campbell, on the bench on Saturday, was included in the starting eleven. David Smith played at left back with the rest of the team made up of youngsters. Ermes stood in for Croudson in goal and Busscher was the bosser in midfield in the absence of Bolder. David Morgan wore the captainâ€™s armband.
Town took the lead through a deflected David Smith shot around the 20 minute mark. Stoke fought back though and were awarded a penalty soon after. Ermes did a Coyne impression, waving his arms around like a windmill. It worked though as the flying Dutchman saved Nealeâ€™s attempt. Townâ€™s luck ran out soon after though when a high ball wasn't cleared and the Icelander (one of many at Stoke) Riki Dadason made no mistake with his shot. Just before half time Stoke took the lead through Dadason again, this time following pressure after a free-kick.
Early in the second half Mansaram failed to take a chance to equalise. Playing up front on his own he got into a number of good positions during the game but couldn't capitalise. He also got caught offside a lot. Campbell was replaced by young Freddie Cass, with David Smith telling him â€˜its you and me together now Freddieâ€™. See at reserve matches you can hear these things!
Stoke went further ahead when Collins ran through the defence and rounded Ermes. Stoke continued to pile on the pressure. Ermes made a couple of good saves that Danny Coyne would have been proud of and Downes cleared an effort off the line. Town brought on Kirwin for Smith and Moran for Downes. A little later Kirwin stumbled on the ball on the edge of the Town box and debut boy Souleyman Oulare said â€˜thank you very muchâ€™ and slotted the ball home. Substitute Ryan Hutchinson made it 5 near the end of the game.
Town battled hard all game. Busscher did well in midfield and Ermes made some excellent saves including the penalty. The two blokes next to me were impressed with Wheeler. Sadly though Grimsby lacked the punch up front, something that Stoke, in Oulare and Dadason, had in abundance.
Town: Ermes, Ward, Wheeler, Morgan, Smith (Kirwin), Ross Thompson, Busscher, Hockless, Downes (Moran), Campbell (Cass), Mansaram.
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