Ness debuts but Columbus beat Stoke
24th July 2012 12.30am
Jamie Ness made his debut for Stoke in Columbus but couldn`t help the Potters from slipping to a 2-1 defeat at the Crew Stadium.
Ness, who recently made the switch from Rangers on a free transfer, put on the famous red and white stripes of Stoke for the first time in their second pre-season friendly.
The midfielder started the game in an unusual position at left back, but after a nervy start, the 21-year old got into his stride and began to show some delicate touches, passes and some gritty tackles which had impressed Stoke manager Tony Pulis into purchasing the Scot.
The Scotland under-21 international was given a chance in a more natural position after the break but with a flood of substitutes from the gaffer, neither Ness nor the whole Stoke side could settle or impress in the second half.
Stoke did in fact take the lead in the match when Dean Whitehead won the ball well in the centre of the midfield and spread the ball out wide to local boy Ryan Shotton who managed to whip in a delicious cross from the right which found Irishmen Jonathan Walters free in the area who powered home a header to give Stoke a 1-0 lead.
This phase of play was Stoke`s only real effort on goal in the 90 minutes of play, although there were moments where Matthew Etherington got into space on the left and was able to whip some wicked balls into the mixer which causes panic in the Crew ranks.
As the game grew, and Stoke made more substitutes, Columbus took the game by the scruff of the neck and controlled almost the whole of the second half.
A noticeable substitution for Stoke was the return of Mamady Sidibe who has been troubled with long term injuries over the past few seasons.
A few near scares which brought out good saves from Sorensen were a warning sign for what was to come in a hectic final third.
Columbus got a deserved equaliser when the ever lively and impressive Jario Renteria got free down the right wing and pulled back to local Columbus player Horton who hit the ball into the corner out of the reach of Sorensen.
The Crew smelt blood and continued to press forward, when once again Renteria wriggled free down the right and pulled the ball back once again to another local Columbus player Speas who crashed the ball home from inside the 18 yard box.
Stoke had a chance to pull the tie level when Tonge got free on the left and crossed the ball to Jerome but he could only direct the header over the bar.
The central midfielders engine in the first half help to nullify most of the Crew attacks whilst was vital in the build up to Stoke`s goal.
"It`s all about the fitness at the moment, not results,
"We knew that the lads coming on in the second half would only get about 30 minutes, so we worked them really hard in training in the morning with a lot of running.
"To be honest, they looked as though they had been running this morning because they were a bit leggy which is understandable.
"We will work harder than most clubs to get the players fit and prepared for the new season, so I`m not concerned about results."