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Report: Stoke City 2 Blues 0

Jude Bellingham in action against Stoke City
Jude Bellingham in action against Stoke City

In truth the visitors could have no complaints about the result after they struggled to create decent openings in a game during which Stoke also hit the woodwork twice.

BCFC

Blues' quest for that decisive win continues after they were beaten by Stoke City at the bet365 Stadium on Sunday afternoon.

The hosts struck twice in the first-half, with Danny Bathh and Sam Clucas bagging a goal apiece.

In truth the visitors could have no complaints about the result after they struggled to create decent openings in a game during which Stoke also hit the woodwork twice.

There were four changes to the Blues starting line-up.

Jake Clarke-Salter and Kristian Pedersen were missing because of injury, with Dan Crowley and Jeremie Bela dropped to the bench. In came Jude Bellingham, Harlee Dean, Wes Harding and Nico Gordon for his first senior start, as Blues started with a 5-3-2 formation.

With just two minutes played Blues won a free-kick in front of the Stoke box. Scott Hogan stepped up and struck it firmly, but his effort was well off target.

Stoke were unfortunate not to take the lead after Vokes met Powell's cross from the right. The forward's powerful header beat Lee Camp but cannoned back off the crossbar and was cleared away.

The hosts were then denied by Camp as the Blues stopper produced a diving low save to his right to thwart Powell.

Blues were struggling to cope with Stoke's attacking threat and sure enough the Potters took a 12th minute lead when Bathh turned home Powell's cross from close range.

Blues slowly began to find a way back into the game and were showing some attacking intent particularly on the counter-attack.

But they had to be thankful to Camp for preventing a second Stoke goal on the half-hour mark after he denied McClean with another fine save as he stood tall.

At the other end of the pitch Blues fashioned their best opportunity of the game so far when Jutkiewicz headed the ball onto Gardner, but Gardner's header was comfortably saved by Davies on his own goal line.

But it was Stoke who were largely in the ascendancy and McLean saw his long-range piledriver skim the Blues cross bar.

That was a warning of things to come as right before half-time Stoke doubled their advantage through Clucas.

A pass found the Stoke man just on the edge of the Blues box, before he drove forward and curled a shot past Camp and into the corner of the net.

In stoppage time at the end of the half, Bellingham saw his shot blocked before Harding fired well over the bar

Half-time: Stoke 2 Blues 0

Blues made one change at the break with Jeremie Bela replacing Harding.

And his introduction certainly geed Blues up as they began to enjoy their best spell of attacking football, with most of the action coming down the right flank.

Bela himself was not too far away with a low shot which Davies saved under pressure from Jutkiewicz.

With an hour played Blues made a double substitution as they sought to find a way back into the match, with Jayden Reid and Caolan Boyd-Munce replacing Hogan and Sunjic.

Bela was not far away from opening his account on 66 minutes with a long-range shot, but it was deflected behind for a corner.

Blues were looking as comfortable as they had all game, but without finding that decisive pass or cross that could really open Stoke up. As a result, playmaker Dan Crowley was sent on for Bellingham.

Blues were looking to press on, but by doing so they were leaving themselves slightly open at the back and Ryan Burke did well to deny Ince deep inside his own box as the Stoke man looked to fire off a shot.

As the game entered its final minute of normal time Boyd-Munce swung in a teasing cross from the right, but under pressure Gardner's header was off target.

Blues' thoughts now turn to their next game, as they host Charlton Athletic at the St. Andrew's Trillion Trophy Stadium.

Stoke City: Davies, Smith, Batth, Chester, Indi, Clucas, Cousins, Powell (Thompson, 76), McClean, Vokes (Gregory, 75), Campbell (Ince, 64).
Subs (not used): Noukeu, Ward, Lindsay, Diouf, Sorensen, Collins.

Bookings: McClean (62).

Goals: (Batth, 12), Clucas (44).

Blues: Camp, Roberts, Dean, Gordon (Burke, 72), Harding (Bela, h/t), Sunjic (Boyd-Munce, 60), Gardner, Colin, Bellingham (Crowley, 78), Jutkiewicz, Hogan (Reid, 60).
Subs (not used): Trueman, Bajrami, Stirk, Kieftenbeld.

Bookings: Gordon (5), Gardner (29), Bellingham (33).

Goals: None.

Referee: Scott Duncan.

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