Stoke City: James Alabi strikes to earn Potters under-21s away-day draw
TEENAGE striker James Alabi scored for a third consecutive game to earn Stoke under-21s a 1-1 draw at Manchester United in their latest league outing.
Alabi, who rejoined Stoke from Celtic in the summer, produced a well-taken finish inside the first five minutes.
But former Crewe star Nick Powell, the biggest name in United's line-up, struck an equaliser just before half-time to conclude the scoring.
"James was here as a schoolboy and then left for Celtic," said under-21s boss Dave Kevan, "but he came back in the summer and is doing really well at the moment.
"He's a London boy who's got a physical presence. He's quick and he's got strength. He's still a bit raw, but he's got a good attitude and he wants to work.
"I thought both our front two, James and Karim Rossi, deserved a lot of credit against United because they worked hard throughout and caused problems for their back four."
It was a young Stoke side boosted by the presence for the best part of an hour by over-age trio Wilson Palacios, Maurice Edu and Ryan Shotton, while fellow first-teamer Jamie Ness qualified as an under-21 by right.
"Their attitude to the game was good," Kevan reported, "and hopefully our younger players enjoyed playing alongside them. I'm sure they did.
"Overall I was pleased because we created a couple of good chances and limited them to very few.
"James took his goal well and also hit the bar, while Karim saw a header come close as well, so we could have been two up.
"You've got to say Powell scored an excellent equaliser for United. It was poor defending from our point of view because he dinked his way past two or three of us, but take nothing away from him because it was a great finish at the near post.
"In the second half, Lucas Dawson, Jordan Richardson and Michael Clarkson came on for our over-age lads and continued the good work of the senior players.
"And in the last 10 or 15 minutes we were probably the more likely to nick it."
STOKE'S under-16s pulled off a memorable 4-2 win at home to Manchester United in their latest Academy league game.