Stoke City 1
Roman (20), Benali (37 & 41), Huws (38)
- Match reports
- Tue 17 Apr 2012, 4:17PM
- Posted by Tim Oscroft
City’s Elite Development side are into the final of the Central League Cup after bagging all their goals in the first half against Stoke.
The Potters’ well-appointed training ground welcomed a healthy crowd on a cold, blustery day, with both sides dealing capably with a strong wind that had an effect on the game.
City opened their account after 20 minutes with a great move involving Benali, Elabdellaoui and Wabara which ended with Roman tucking the ball away with aplomb at the near post.
But City lost concentration and the hosts were level within seconds, Karim Rossi lashing the ball home from the edge of the box.
The equaliser rocked the Blues back on their heels, but they took stock and hit back in style with a stunning riposte of three goals in five minutes before the half was over.
Ahmad Benali put City back in front when he nipped in between a static Stoke defence to tap away a wicked Roman free kick that was flicked-on.
A minute later Emyr Huws was on hand to latch on to a saved shot that fell perfectly for him, and on 41 minutes it was 4-1 to City when an off-balance Benali grabbed his second to finish a superb move that had started in defence and owed a deal to the persistent Sean Tse.
The goal-flurry had effectively killed the game off before the break, and City did not add to their tally. Jeremy Helan enjoyed the freedom of the left flank and swung over a couple of testing crosses that could not be finished, Denis Suarez lashed two shots a long way over the bar and Roman came close to grabbing a second when Eve saved at the near post.
City will face Derby or Sunderland in the final, and the second string are also set to face Manchester United in the final of the Manchester Senior Cup on a date yet to be decided.