VETERAN striker Andy Booth made a goalscoring return to action after a back injury.
But a trademark headed goal by the 33-year-old, who pressed his claims for involvement in Saturday’s vital League I home clash with Port Vale, couldn’t prevent the Burslem club’s Potteries rivals Stoke from winning last night’s Reserve clash 2-1.
Booth, like defender David Mirfin and midfielder Michael Collins, completed the whole of the Pontin’s League Central Division showdown at the Britannia Stadium.
And wideman Chris Brandon played the first 53 minutes against the Championship club’s second string, which included eight first-team regulars.
Stoke scorers Jon Parkin and Vincent Pericard played up front, Peter Sweeney and Demar Phillips in midfield and Clint Hill, Marlon Broomes, Ritchie De Laet and Lewis Buxton at the back.
Town almost went ahead in the 10th minute, when Danny Racchi tried his luck from 30 yards, whistling in a shot which keeper Russell Hoult did well to palm for a corner.
At the other end, Parkin rounded Town stopper Alex Smithies, but blazed his shot over.
Cameroonian Pericard came close with a curling effort on the half hour, and within a minute, Stoke were ahead after he slotted home a shot after neat interplay with Parkin.
Booth struck just before the break when he finished off a fine Racchi cross.
And Brandon came close to putting Town ahead a minute after the restart, but his 25-yard effort clipped a post and went wide.
Parkin crashed a volley against the bar on the hour.
Stoke’s Sweeney and Town’s Mitchell Bailey both came close before Parkin netted with 15 minutes to go, the former Hull man controlling well and shooting home from 10 yards.
Town: Smithies, Racchi, Collins, Killock, Jackson, Brandon (Heagney, 53mins), Mirfin, Berrett, Bailey, Young, Booth. Subs not used: Roberts, Malcher, Ridehalgh, Durham.