Last updated : 17 December 2004 By editor

Report from fishal site:'Stoke's gritty resolve to beat one of the tournament's big names won through as the Reds, watched by manager Sir Alex Ferguson, went down, and out of the Youth Cup, 1-0 at Hyde's Ewen Fields Stadium on Thursday night.

There were high hopes of this year's crop; a group including Giuseppe Rossi and Gerard Pique - both of whom have made first-team appearances this season - and the likes of midfielders Lee Martin and Darron Gibson. But, unfortunately, it wasn't to be.

Francisco Filho's side created a host of chances but, having gone 1-0 down after 20 minutes, the Reds were unable to break down a well-organised Stoke City outfit.

The goal to the away side was United's undoing. Content to battle, contest and defend at all costs, Stoke resisted all that this Reds side had to offer - with a little fortune as well.

Reds forward Jami Puustinen could have got United off to a fantastic start after just four minutes, but put his shot over the bar. Giuseppe Rossi, meanwhile, closely monitored by a regimented Stoke defence, put a header over the crossbar after ten minutes.

Puustinen again went close in the second half as United piled on the pressure and Stoke became stubbornly entrenched in their own half. The young forward, played in one-on-one with the keeper following a delightful ball from Rossi, dipped a shoulder to fool the keeper but saw his shot frustratingly palmed away for a corner.

Puustinen, having had another shot cleared of the line just minutes earlier, thought he had equalised for United on 72 minutes. Midfielder Phil Marsh fired in a precision cross for Puustinen to head into the top corner, only to glance across and see the linesman's flag raised for offside.

The sense that it wasn't meant to be United's night arrived with just seven minutes remaining. Jamie Mullan, who made two goals in the 4-2 Academy league win over Stoke at the weekend, made a penetrating run down the left flank and pulled back a cross for the much-lauded Rossi. Unfortunately for the talented summer signing from Parma, his shot was straight at the goalkeeper.

It was a disappointing evening for United, but credit most go to Stoke who, having gone 1-0 up, were tactically well-organised; a corner for the Potters in the dying stages saw not one Stoke player in United's penalty area, so eager were the team to claim United's scalp in the prestigious youth tournament.

The Reds can take solace in an energetic performance from midfielder Lee Martin, and the promising passing skills of Darron Gibson in the centre of the park, even if this season's campaign ended much earlier than expected.'