Stoke City won by the odd goal in five to progress to the semi-finals of the Staffordshire FA Senior Challenge Cup, as they beat Kidsgrove Athletic 3-2.
Gabrial Kyeremateng scored twice and James Jennings got one from the penalty spot. While the Grove hit back through an Ollie Jepson screamer and one from James Butler to ensure the young potters had a nervy end to the game.
It was Butler who had the first chance of the game in the opening minute when he headed a corner just wide of the goal. Had it gone in then it would have been a fabulous start for the Grove.
While at the other end, former Kidsgrove loanee James Jennings saw an acrobatic effort fly over Kieran Harrison’s goal as Stoke looked to assert their authority on the game.
They certainly stamped their authority on the match as Kyeremateng poked the ball home to open the scoring following some excellent work by Tre Pemberton on the byline after just 27 minutes of play.
Richard Duffy played a crucial role in stopping Stoke captain Jake Dunwoody from making it 2-0 just before the break as the former Port Vale man clear Dunwoody’s effort off the line after he had beaten Harrison.
While after the half-time break Duffy went close to an equaliser when he headed a free-kick from Lee Williamson just wide of the post. Had it gone in then it would have been a great start to the second half for Kidsgrove.
However, the Potters doubled their lead on 56 minutes when Kyeremateng saw a shot deflect up and over Harrison. With many in the ground thinking the ball had gone out for a corner. The referee awarded the goal instead to put Stoke in the driving seat.
The young Potters extended their lead just after the hour mark when Morris fouled Jennings just inside the penalty area. Jennings dusted himself off before slotting the ball past Harrison who had dived the right way in an attempt to save the spot kick.
Despite being 3-0 down Kidsgrove didn’t give up hope of trying to rescue the game and they certainly scored the goal of the night when Jepson spotted Stoke goalkeeper Blondy Nna Noukeu off his line. The defender-come-forward was able to beat him with a delightful lob from 25-yards out.
Butler ensured the game had an interesting conclusion when he stabbed home a corner in a goalmouth scramble to make it 2-3 and gave Ryan Austin’s men hope that they could take the game to penalties.
Kidsgrove thought they had made it 3-3 when Rumenio produced a spectacular overhead kick only for Nna Noukeu to deny the forward his first goal since returning to the club, with that save went Kidsgrove’s hopes of completing a remarkable comeback.
Stoke City will head to Rushall Olympic in the semi-finals of the competition with Stafford Rangers waiting the winners in the final. If Rushall make the final then it will be a repeat of last season’s final.
Kidsgrove Athletic: Harrison, Blake, Morris, Hall (Rumenio, 65), Duffy, Butler, France, Williamson, Griffiths, Jepson (Chesters, 78) and Boula (Thompson, 78)
Unused sub: Wiggins-Thomas.
Stoke City: Nna Noukeu, Pemberton, Kigbu, Wara, Forrester, McJannet (Nixon, 66), Jennings, Malone, Kyeremateng (Taylor, 90), Dundwood and Varine.
Unused subs: Nash, Cooper and Sanali.