Stoke City 3 – 1 Stevenage

Stoke City 3 – 1 Stevenage. Josh Laurent’s brilliant goal helped Stoke City end Stevenage’s FA Cup run and progress to the fifth round.

The League Two side, who knocked out Aston Villa, hit back through Jamie Reid’s equaliser after Jacob Brown had given Stoke an early lead.

But Laurent put the Championship team back in front when he cut in from the right and sent an unstoppable left-footed strike into the far corner.

Lewis Baker sealed Stoke’s victory with a penalty.

The spot-kick was controversially awarded by referee David Webb after what seemed a perfectly fair challenge on Brown by Jonathan Tomkinson.

Stoke looked comfortable after an unmarked Brown had time to control the ball at the far post and fire home after Bersant Celina’s third-minute corner had been flicked on by Ben Wilmot.

They almost doubled their lead before the interval when ex-Stevenage defender Wilmot’s header from another Celina corner was cleared off the line by Max Clark, and when keeper Taye Ashby-Hammond produced a fine save to deny Will Smallbone.

Stevenage rallied in the second half and Reid forced a save from keeper Jack Bonham shortly before the visitors appealed in vain for a penalty when the ball struck Laurent’s arm.

The underdogs levelled when Reid, who also equalised in the third-round triumph at Villa, took advantage of some slack Stoke defending.

Wilmot failed to deal with Ashby-Hammond’s goal-kick and was then unable to prevent the ball crossing the line after Reid had nipped in and lobbed Bonham.

However, Laurent netted in emphatic fashion three minutes later and Stevenage’s hopes of another comeback were crushed by the penalty decision.

source – BBC

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