Despite a superb first half display, Gareth Taylor's side slipped to defeat against the Potters.
Henri Ogunby managed to grab a goal back in the closing moments of the game, but it wasn't enough as second half strikes from Ethan O'Driscoll-Varian and James Jennings saw Stoke leave the Manchester with the three points.
The young Blues started strong, and it looked like we were in poll position to take the lead after just a minute of play.
Henri Ogunby rounded Adnan Kanuric after picking up Tommy Doyle’s perfectly positioned ball and pushed forward, but the angle proved too tight for the winger and his forced shot skimmed across the mouth of goal.
The Doyle-Ogunby partnership proved to be vital as the game continued.
Tommy was unlucky not to write his name on the scoresheet in the opening 45, creating chance after chance. Notably, his superb looping shot from 30 yards which was palmed over the crossbar looked most likely to give us the advantage, as well as a similar chance to Ogunby’s opening minute attempt.
After some brilliant play from Doyle, it was once again Henri’s chance to put us ahead. Just moments before the break the teenager burst forward and sent a powerful shot at goal, but it came to nothing as Kanuric dived to snatch the ball away from the net.
This meant our backline were rarely called-upon in the first half. But as Stoke’s Ethan Stanton pounced on the end of Gavin Bazunu’s sliding block, it required Rowan McDonald to head the ball off the line and out of danger. An incredible effort from the Under-18 skipper.
The second period was a different story.
After dominating the first-half, the visitors took the lead just minutes into the second. Ethan O’Driscoll-Varian was clear through on-goal and was able to slot past Bazunu and into the bottom corner.
The Potters were at it again ten minutes later with a stunning strike from James Jennings, which smashed into the top corner – it looked virtually unsaveable.
Not content without a goal, the Blues pushed on.
Yet another brilliant free-kick from Doyle was headed home by Ogunby to half the deficit, but it wasn't enough.