Stoke City: Stoke kids freeze on a cold night at the Brit
BIG-MATCH nerves got the better of Stoke City's starlets in the FA Youth Cup, says their coach, John Perkins.
Stoke's under-18s were beaten 3-2 in the fourth round by Huddersfield at the Britannia Stadium.
Perkins had no complaints about the result, which cost Stoke a fifth-round tie at Nottingham Forest.
He said: "I think most of them froze on the night. They didn't produce what they would normally, both individually and collectively.
"You want to win the game, but more than that you want an individual and team performance out of them.
"That was the disappointing thing. In front of their own people they didn't perform how they can do, should do and will have to if they are to earn a living in the game."
A crowd of 809 braved the freezing temperatures to get behind the Stoke side, but they fell behind on the stroke of half-time when Huddersfield midfielder Duane Holmes drilled the ball across keeper Dale Eve and into the bottom corner.
Stoke were handed a lifeline on 83 minutes when striker James Alabi was hauled down at the front post as he tried to get to a corner.
Alabi took the penalty himself and sent the keeper the wrong way.
But the reprieve didn't last as Town striker Paul Mullin struck twice in the first period of extra-time.
Stoke's Aussie midfielder Peter Makrillos pulled a goal back with 11 minutes to play, but Stoke's best chance of a leveller came and went in the final minute when substitute Kelvin Douglas shot wide.
Stoke have a young side by under-18s standards. Eight of Wednesday's team were first-year scholars, so will still be eligible for the cup next season.
Even so, Perkins was disappointed his team had failed to build on their impressive 4-0 win at Brighton in the third round. He added: "I don't think they deserved to get anything out of the game because I don't think they put enough into it. That is disappointing because this club lives on desire, passion, dedication, work-rate and everything that goes with it."
Stoke City: Eve, Cook, Coulson, Hulme, Taylor, Lecygne, Scott, Monlouis (Douglas, 99), Richards (Makrillos, 72), Alabi, Ricketts-Hopkinson (Pilkington, 83) Not used: Sanders, Wildsmith.
Huddersfield Town: Wilczynski, Briggs, Starkey, Morton (B Homes, 79), Wilkinson, Boyle, Goddard, Holmes, Mullin (Cox, 100), Conway, Charles.
Not used: Guthrie, Horsfall, Atkinson.
Referee: Steve Copeland