Our first team drew 1-1 with Stoke City at the bet365 Stadium in a highly competitive pre-season friendly.
This was the next step-up in pre-season and saw the majority of the lads that played for 30 minutes in the Accrington Stanley friendly get an hour under their belts.
There was also a return to the starting line-up for Josh Doig, who only joined the group for pre-season on Tuesday (July 6).
The opening 15 minutes of the game were evenly contested. Joe Newell was heavily involved in our attacks, but at the other end D’Margio Wright-Phillips head wide at the back post from close range.
Moments later, though, an excellent attacking move saw us take the lead! Ryan Porteous stepped out from the back and fed Jamie Murphy down the left hand-side.
The winger drove forwards and cut the ball back to the penalty spot where the on-rushing Scott Allan made no mistake. He calmly placed a first-time effort into the bottom right-hand corner.
In the next attacking phase, Stoke could’ve drawn level. Macey denied a Potters attacker, but the ball fell to Alfie Doughty with the goal at his mercy. The midfielder tried to take it first time from the edge of the area but couldn’t find the target.
Just before the 20-minute mark Kevin Nisbet had his first opportunity. He was picked out expertly through a whipped cross into the box, but the Scotland international’s header went just wide.
After 35 minutes the Potters found an equaliser, but it was ruled out by the offside flag. Our defensive line held firm as Sam Clucas strayed into the offside position before Steven Fletcher put the ball into the net.
Soon after Fletcher was heavily involved again. He skipped past Porteous on the edge of the area but dragged a left-footed effort wide of Macey’s goal.
Just before half-time Alfie Doughty equalised. His fierce, low right-footed effort from 20-yards out flew into the bottom corner.
There was one change at the break as Josh Campbell replaced Chris Cadden at right-back.
Two minutes into the second period and Stoke City should’ve taken the lead. A nice passage of play culminated in a ball being played across the six-yard box to Will Goodwin. The young striker tried to place an effort goalwards but couldn’t hit the target.
There was a blow for Jack Ross as Jamie Murphy seemed to pick up a knock five minutes into the half and was replaced by Drey Wright.
Chances continued to fall and Nisbet had another good opening. His in-swinging cross was met by the striker six yards out, but he couldn’t beat the ‘keeper.
A flurry of changes followed on the hour mark as Lewis Stevenson, Kyle Magennis, Stevie Mallan, and Daniel Mackay entered the fray. That saw a change in shape as Ross’ side shifted into a 3-5-2 formation. Alex Gogić joined the back three as Stevenson and Wright provided the width. Mackay joined Nisbet up-front.
Shortly after the substitutes, Kieran Coates should’ve given the Potters the lead. Jacob Brown broke behind the defence before pulling the ball back to Josh Tymon. The wing-back’s cross found an unmarked Coates at the back post, but he fired over.
With 15 minutes left, Stevie Mallan tried his luck with a 25-yard free-kick, which flew wide.
Magennis tested the ‘keeper shortly after from the edge of the area, after a short corner, but the ‘keeper was equal to it.
Just before the final whistle, Matt Macey pulled off an excellent stop to deny Goodwin from close range. The ball fell to him inside the area, he had time and space, but Macey stayed big to deny him.
The game finished all square and saw the end of the week-long training camp. The lads will now return to HTC and prepare for the visit of Arsenal on Tuesday (July 13).
𝗦𝘁𝗮𝗿𝘁𝗶𝗻𝗴 𝗫𝗜: Matt Macey, Chris Cadden (Josh Campbell, 46’), Darren McGregor, Ryan Porteous, Josh Doig (Lewis Stevenson, 60’), Joe Newell (Kyle Magennis, 60’), Alex Gogić, Martin Boyle (Daniel Mackay, 60’), Scott Allan (Stevie Mallan, 60’), Jamie Murphy (Drey Wright, 50’), Kevin Nisbet.
𝗦𝘂𝗯𝘀: Kevin Dąbrowski, Jamie Gullan, Melker Hallberg, Steven Bradley