An Under 18 Premier League match on a Saturday morning in Stoke is the perfect way to get an early football fix and on this occasion it proved to be a happy memory during a 2-game day that also included a visit to AFC Fylde's Mill Farm to see the team I support lose 0-6. But, enough about that for now, let's talk about this 6th vs 3rd placed battle at Clayton Wood. I arrived at Stoke City's first class training facility, conveniently located just off the A500, at around 10:30am and after being shown to the over-spill car park I was ready to check out the venue where Darren Fletcher, Peter Crouch and the rest of the gang spend their time training with new manager Paul Lambert. Having been to see the Young Lions at St. George's Park last year during EURO Under 19 Qualifying, I am pretty familiar with the subdued and often awkward setup of these games in which the spectators are 99% made up of coaches and parents of the players, so when I, the 1%, turned up and parked up I was instantly approached by a man in a hi-viz jacket and asked if I was a scout. Donning my Macc Town top, I simply replied with "no", but in my head I was thinking of giving a sarcastic answer about how I was here to steal all of their Premier League youth players and take them down to my National League side, but at fear of being told to leave I thought better of it.
|Kids game, suppose the Ice Cream van is apt|
|A view of the stands in all of their tiny glory|
|Half-time and United well in control so far|
|Into the last 10 minutes, still anybody's game|