Stoke City under-23s picked up their first away win of the season last night as they beat Fulham 2-1 in Premier League 2.
Kevin Russell’s side fell behind to a goal from Tyrese Francois in the 17th minute but immediately pulled level when Adam Porter set up Christian Norton; a first goal for the former Southampton forward who has just signed for the club.
And Will Forrester grabbed the winner nine minutes from time when he stole onto a corner and planted a header inside the far post.
It was another run out for Thibaud Verlinden as he builds sharpness following a knee injury while Moritz Bauer and Kevin Wimmer added experience to the starting XI.
Norton wrote on Twitter: “Great shift from the boys and a well deserved three points. On a personal note, great to score my first goal for the club.”
Stoke: Broome, Bauer, Jones, Macari, Forrester, Wimmer, Varian, Sparrow, Norton (Taylor, 62), Porter, Verlinden. Subs: Parke, Malbon, Sy.
Michael O’Neill outlines plan as he reaches first anniversary
Michael O’Neill reaches his first anniversary in charge of Stoke City this weekend with a long-term mission to get the club ready to thrive outside the Financial Fair Play bubble.
O’Neill heads to Championship leaders to Reading for a lunchtime kick-off (12.30pm) knowing that a win would at least temporarily propel the side into the Championship play-off spaces.
That is some turnaround from 12 months ago on Sunday, when he walked into a club that was bottom with seven fewer points after 15 games than he already has this year after 10, severely low on confidence and in genuine fear of relegation.
It has been done under the shadow of financial rules which limit the amount in which the Coates family can invest in transfers.
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How to watch Reading v Stoke City
- Six of the last seven games between Reading and Stoke City in all competitions have ended level, with Stoke winning the other meeting 2-1 when they faced off in the Premier League.
- Reading are unbeaten in their last 15 home league games against Stoke (W8 D7), last tasting defeat in December 1992.
- After winning seven of their first eight league games this season (D1), Reading have since lost both of their last two, conceding exactly three goals in each defeat.
- Stoke haven’t lost back-to-back league matches since June last season; they lost 2-3 at Watford last time out.
- Tyrese Campbell has either scored (two) or assisted (five) seven of Stoke’s last 11 league goals.
This week’s Mike Pejic column
Pej takes a look at Stoke’s formation, personnel and that refereeing decision.
“All teams will suffer, all players will suffer, all managers suffer and you bet your life that fans will suffer and you have to get on with it. It’s not nice, it hurts and it can hurt for a long time afterwards depending on how big an impact it had.
“You have to take it on the chin but I’m still sitting here now getting cross about a free-kick given against me in 1971!”
Date set for Spurs quarter-final
What are you doing two days before Christmas?