Stoke 3 – 1 Stevenage

Stevenage’s FA Cup run got here to an finish as they had been defeated 3-1 by Stoke in an entertaining tie.

The in-form League Two facet, buoyed on by 3,291 travelling supporters, had been eyeing passage to the fifth spherical of the competitors for the primary time since 2012.

Nevertheless, their return to the midlands – the place they got here from behind to upset Unai Emery’s Aston Villa within the earlier spherical – was an sad one.

The Potters took an early lead inside two minutes by means of Jacob Brown and assumed management.

Stevenage levelled within the second half by means of Villa Park hero Jamie Reid, however their reprieve was short-lived because of Josh Laurent’s magnificent effort after which Lewis Baker added a late third from the penalty spot.

With new recruit Bersant Celina registered simply in time for the fixture, the on-loan Dijon playmaker was handed an instantaneous debut in a brand new 4-3-3 system.

And regardless of the tactical tweak, the hosts snatched an early lead with the Kosovo worldwide taking no time in any respect to adapt to his new environment.

Lewis Baker scores Stokes third goal of the game
Lewis Baker scored Stoke’s third objective of the sport from the penalty spot

An inviting Celina nook was flicked on by Ben Wilmot into the trail of Brown, who composed himself earlier than burying the opener contained in the opening three minutes.

After securing their first Championship factors of 2023 with a 4-0 thrashing of Studying final weekend, the Potters appeared to proceed the place they left off.

Though the travelling supporters’ spirits weren’t dampened by the early setback, they had been indebted to an impressed Taye Ashby-Hammond for preserving the sport tight.

The Stevenage stopper was busy within the opening interval and produced a string of spectacular saves to maintain the tie inside attain.

A full of life Celina went shut when he appeared so as to add the final touch to a swift Stoke counter, however an excellent fingertip save diverted the hassle huge.

Ashby-Hammond needed to be rescued himself when Max Clark was in the best place to clear Wilmot’s goal-bound header off the road.

However regular service was resumed when Stevenage’s primary thwarted Will Smallbone from a harmful place.

Steve Evans tried to evoke a comeback with all substitutes made earlier than the hour mark, and the recent Stevenage legs finally paid dividends.

Jamie Reid equalises for Stevenage
Jamie Reid equalised for Stevenage

After Celina struck the woodwork and Ashby-Hammond denied each Tyrese Campbell and Baker, the guests discovered a leveller.

Reid – scorer of the stoppage time winner at Villa within the third spherical – prodded over an onrushing Jack Bonham with Wilmot failing to clear.

Nevertheless, the celebrations of a packed away finish had been fleeting, with Laurent notching his first Stoke objective in spectacular style from lengthy vary.

And, after Brown was felled by Jonathan Tomkinson, Baker transformed from 12 yards late on to safe the hosts’ victory and full a optimistic January.

What’s subsequent?

Stoke return to Championship motion at Luton on Saturday – kick-off 3pm – earlier than internet hosting Hull on Saturday February 11; kick-off 3pm.

Stevenage’s subsequent sport is at Sutton in League Two on Saturday – kick-off 3pm – earlier than Bradford go to the Lamex Stadium on Saturday February 11; kick-off 3pm.