THE ACADEMY

Premier Academy League
Clayton Wood

STOKE 3
(Rossi 4,60 Scott 70)

UNITED 2
(Rudge 77, Wilson 81)
20/03/2012 16:04, Report by Cliff Butler

U18s: Stoke 3 United 2

United's youngsters were beaten 3-2 at Stoke City despite a spirited fightback in the closing stages.

Jack Rudge and James Wilson reduced a three-goal deficit in the final 13 minutes but the Reds returned home pointless despite a splendid finale to the game. Pierluigi Gollini, an Italian signed from Fiorentina, made his debut in goal but was beaten after only four minutes by a Karim Rossi shot just inside area.

With an hour gone, Rossi got on the end of a free-kick to the far post and headed home from close range to double his tally and the lead. When Kris Scott buried a right-foot finish 10 minutes later, it looked like the Reds would be on the end of a convincing beating.

However, Paul McGuinness' side were like a different team with Rudge pulling one back following a cross by Wilson. There was hope of a reverse of the last league game against Sunderland, when a three-goal lead was lost, when Gyliano van Velzen came through the inside-right channel and forced a cracking save out of Dale Eve with Wilson pouncing on the rebound from close range.

Late pressure failed to yield an equaliser as Eve made a superb stop to deny van Velzen and Wilson was inches away from snatching a point in stoppage time when his shot looked bound for the net but drifted just wide of the target.

United: Gollini; Wilkinson (Grimshaw 65), Ioannou, McCullough, Blackett; Gorre (Daehli 46), Ekangamene, Hendrie (Rudge 65), Pearson, van Velzen; Wilson.  Subs not used: Coll.

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