Sheffield United Reserves claimed three vital points as they beat Stoke City 6-1 yesterday at Shirecliffe.

Former Stoke striker James Beattie was at the heart of the attack as United romped to a five-one victory; netting a goal along the way in a mixed side for the Blades.

New signing Mark Howard was handed an opportunity to impress ahead of this Sunday's Steel City Derby clash at Hillsborough whilst Johannes Ertl, Andy Taylor, Chris Porter and Marcus Williams were also given chances to regain fitness.

It was Elliott Whitehouse, captain of the Blades FA Youth Cup Finalist side who was the star of the game - netting two goals. He opened up the scoring two minutes into the game; scrambling home the ball from close range. Porter (21 minutes) made it two when turned home a spot kick.

The Potters carved there way back into the game when Jack Nardiello netted from the penalty spot after being brought down by Andy Taylor, he drilled under Howard to score.

United stretched there lead after the break when Beattie's looping head drifted over Jocob in the City net to score. On 57th minute Whitehouse netted his second goal of the game and defender Taylor scored to make it 5-1 sixty seconds later.

Fellow full-back Marcus Williams made it six when he headed home at the far post with ten minutes remaining in what was a comfortable victory for Chris Morgan's side.

Sheffield United: Howard, Connelly, Taylor, Harriott, Kennedy, Ertl, Chappell, Whitehouse, Beattie, Porter, Williams. Subs: Philliskirk, Brown, Warren, Murray.

Stoke City: Jacob, Roberts-Nurse (Agbaje, 29), O'Reilly, A Hall, Parry, Muata-Marlow, J Hall, Scott, Moult, Musungy, Nardiello. Not used: Barrington, Cook, Rossi.