Stoke U21s 1-4 Spurs - five on the trot for five-star U21s
Our Under-21s made it five wins on the trot and moved five points clear in Group Two of the Barclays U21 Premier League with an outstanding performance and 4-1 win against Stoke City at Nantwich Town FC on Sunday.
The lads had the better of an open, entertaining first half at the Weaver Stadium before completely dominating the second half.
Three goals inside the first 15 minutes put the issue beyond doubt at 4-1 and inspired home goalkeeper Daniel Bachmann made a string of fine saves to keep the scoreline respectable for the home side.
Having been criticised by the coaching team for their overall performance in the 4-0 win against Southampton at the Lane last week, this was a return to the irresistible form that put Manchester United and previous leaders Newcastle to the sword in previous weeks.
Ryan Fredericks, Massimo Luongo, Dean Parrett, Ryan Mason, Jon Obika, Cristian Ceballos, Alex Pritchard and Andros Townsend - all regulars in this recent run of form - all started again.
Meanwhile, Stoke welcomed back giant Mali international striker Mamady Sidebe after an injury lay-off and his aerial ability was a constant threat in the first half. However, Grant Hall and Milos Veljkovic warmed to the task and kept him under wraps after the break.
Sidibe might have done better from an early corner from Jordan Richardson before we took the lead in the seventh minute.
Luongo broke forward and was upended on the left corner of the box. Pritchard stepped up and looked for the top left corner but the ball took a big deflection off the wall to leave Bachmann stranded.
Hall planted a header against the post from Ceballos' free-kick and Bachmann then made a double save, brave at the feet of Obika before a stunning reaction save from Ceballos' volley from 10 yards. Ceballos and Parrett raced to meet the rebound and Ceballos somehow lifted the ball over the crossbar.
A minute later and it was 1-1 as Richardson crossed from the left and Sidibe powered his header past Jonathan Miles.
Richardson unleashed a 25-yarder that cannoned off the inside of the post after 20 minutes and five minutes later, Obika crashed a shot off the underside of the crossbar. Pritchard picked up the loose ball but Bachmann was down to his left to turn his drive around the post.
Ceballos split the home defence to send Obika clear in the 34th minute but Bachmann was there again to block the one-on-one. As play continued, Mason fizzed just over from 25 yards.
Sidibe was there again to meet Richardson's free-kick in the final action of the half but missed the target with his header.
Into the second half and Miles produced his best save of the match inside two minutes after Richardson's shot took a slight deflection and was heading into the top corner.
The team then clicked into gear to turn 1-1 into 4-1 by the hour mark.
Ceballos was in the right place after Parrett met Townsend's cross and the winger controlled and slid into the corner from 12 yards for 2-1.
Bachmann tipped over from Parrett, Ceballos missed the target from Hall's knockdown and Luongo angled just wide from Townsend's cross.
Townsend was unstoppable down the left and it was no surprise that he was central to the third goal on 57 minutes, upended at full pace by Ben Glasgow in the box. Mason made no mistake, sending Bachmann the wrong way from the penalty spot.
A minute later and it was 4-1 as Parrett hit Obika from the half-way line, he was tackled but the ball fell to Townsend who cut inside Glasgow and rifled home with his right foot.
Richardson tested Miles again on 66 minutes but it was a rare respite for the home defence as we put together wave after wave of attack.
Bachmann came into his own in the final 20 minutes starting with a double save to deny Ceballos and then touch the ball away from Obika with the goal gaping.
Pritchard fought through three tackles but shot straight at the goalkeeper, who then got his angles right to deny substitute Souleymane Coulibaly.
Pritchard, Ceballos, Townsend and Luongo all tried their luck before Luongo forced another fine save from Bachmann, down sharply on his goalline to hold onto a close-range header.
Bachmann turned away Pritchard's curler before the final chance of note and another double save with six minutes left, this time palming away from Ceballos and getting up in time to block Townsend's follow up.
Stoke City: Bachmann, Glasgow, Heneghan, Keane, Clarkson; Dawson, Arsimendi (Campbell, 73), Richardson, Musungu; Alabi, Sidibe (Rossi, 83). Unused subs: Eve, Parry, Makrillos.
Spurs: Miles; Fredericks, Hall (Stewart, 62), Luongo, Veljkovic; Mason, Parrett; Ceballos, Pritchard, Townsend; Obika (Coulibaly, 71). Unused subs: Vigouroux, Gallifuoco.