STOKE CITY FC 1 PORTSMOUTH 0
Stoke scored their winner in the 74th minute.It was the culmination of a superb passing movement involving several players in swift one-twos,to set Ricardo Fuller partially free of the visitors defence.The striker still had it all to do,but he followed a little jink to the right with a beautifully struck shot around the keepers full length dive,the ball curling just inside the right hand post.
A quality strike from the Jamaican star for his first goal of the season.
The match itself was a pretty dour struggle,which exactly matched the weather.It was cold,damp,a gusty wind,with occasional flurries of rain.Certainly these were not conditions conducive to high quality football.Especially in the first half Portsmouth played the ball around with some confidence,O'Hara and Kanu generally being at the heart of their more creative moments.Stoke for their part created very little.
The only direct shot of note on either goal was a penalty kick within the first ten minutes.This was awarded by the linesman (ass ref)against Delap for a seriously high kick,which floored a Pompey forward.Boateng's penalty effort was weak and to everyone's relief was smothered by Sorensen in the Stoke goal.
The second half was somewhat livelier than the first,with Stoke taking rather more control - at times!Tony Pulis did not wait long to make his substitutions after the break bringing on Liam Lawrence and Mama Sidibe for James Beattie and Salif Diao.The moves injected some attacking life into the team,and importantly lifted the crowd.
After Fuller's goal my favourite moment was Wilkinson's storming run forward in the last few minutes.Cutting the ball this way and that - at some speed - he beat several defenders,reached the 18 yard box,and under further challenge unleashed a powerful cross shot,which a yard or so lower would have found the top corner of the visitors net.Rightly he was named Man of the Match by the sponsors.
Where does this result leave us? Back to 9th place in the Premiership table,and after 13 games on 19 points.Respectable I would say!!