Report | Stoke City U21s 2 Swansea City U21s 0
Swansea City Under-21s saw their hopes of progressing in the Premier League Cup ended as a Nathan Lowe header and an own goal gave Stoke City the three points at St. George’s Park.
The Swans had needed to avoid defeat to keep themselves in the hunt but Lowe nodded the ball into the back of the net following a corner, whilst the second went down as an own goal by Kai Ludvigsen after the defender has been unable to keep out Dara McGuinness’ shot.
The Swans had a sustained period of pressure as they sought a way back into the game during the second half but, aside from a couple of opportunities for Cameron Congreve and Joel Cotterill, they struggled to seriously trouble Tommy Jackson in the Potters’ goal.
There were significant changes made to the visiting side as a number of players returned having travelled to Scotland with the first team last week.
Between the sticks, Archie Matthews made his first start in just over two months after being sidelined with injury.
The Potters’ piled on the pressure from the first whistle as Liam McCarron saw his curling effort deflected out for a corner following a sharp Stoke attack.
The Swans responded with nice play between Wasiri Williams, Ben Lloyd and Sam Leverett putting them in a promising situation which came to nothing, while at the other end Gabriel Adebambo saw an effort deflected wide.
The home side then took the lead inside 15 minutes when a corner found its way to dangerman Lowe – who had netted four goals in the reverse fixture a week ago – and he reacted quickest to head the ball past Matthews.
The Swans responded well, showing real fluency in their play. They had the next opportunity when Joe Thomas sent a low-driven cross into the area from the right, but none of his team-mates could find an all-important touch.
Congreve then showed lovely control to bring down a Lloyd pass and unleash a curling strike that was deflected over the crossbar.
However, the Potters soon doubled their advantage thanks to McGuinness.
A long ball over the top found the Irish forward, and he rounded Matthews to roll the ball towards the unguarded net, with Ludvigsen unable to keep the ball out.
That left it 2-0 to the hosts at the break, but the Swans started the second period with purpose. Thomas was denied an easy finish after excellent work by Lloyd and Tarrelle Whittaker.
Moments later, skipper Cotterill had a shot saved by Potters keeper Jackson, after Azeem Abdulai had teed him up after capitalising on a Stoke error.
Congreve then picked out Thomas with a neat cross, and the right-wing back picked out Whittaker, who dragged wastefully wide.
Jackson was tested again when Congreve's firm low drive forced the keeper to parry away for a corner.
But there was no way back for the Swans were left with too much to do and - with qualification hopes over - they will face Burnley in their final group game on December 20. (2pm kick-off).
Stoke City Under-21s: Tommy Jackson, Kahrel Reddin (Tom Curl 64), Liam McCarron, Gabriel Adebambo, Matt Baker (captain), David Okagbue, Dan Malone (George Lewis 46), Ben Kershaw, Nathan Lowe, Will Smith, Dara McGuinness.
Unused subs: Tommy Simkin, Jacob Holland-Wilkinson, Josh Roney.
Swansea City Under-21s: Archie Matthews, Kai Ludvigsen, Harry Jones (Richard Faakye 70), Azeem Abdulai, Wasiri Williams, Joe Thomas, Cameron Congreve, Joel Cotterill (captain),Tarrelle Whittaker (Iwan Morgan 79), Ben Lloyd, Sam Leverett (Kyrell Wilson 60)
Unused subs: Corey Hurford, Remy Mitchell.