Portsmouth came into this game high in confidence, having rallied to an aggregate victory over Vitoria SC just 3 days before. Stoke" />
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Pompey 2 - Stoke 1




Pompey finish marathon with a win

"Crouch and Defoe Show" sinks struggling Stoke

Portsmouth came into this game high in confidence, having rallied to an aggregate victory over Vitoria SC just 3 days before. Stoke had just played Liverpool and Chelsea, and were looking to lift themselves out of the relegation zone. Despite being the favourites, Portsmouth knew that ex-Southampton player Rory Delap would cause them countless problems with his long throw.

Delap was joined in the Stoke line-up by fellow former Southampton players Ricardo Fuller, Andy Griffin, and Danny Higginbotham. Another notable name in the Stoke line-up was Amdy Faye. The ex-Portsmouth player scored the winner for Charlton the last time that he took to the pitch at Fratton. Despite playing their seventh game in twenty-one days, Portsmouth only made two changes. Fit-again Papa Bouba Diop replaced the suspended Lassana Diarra, whilst Nadir Belhadj was picked ahead of Noe Pamarot, as Portsmouth reverted to the more familiar 4-4-2 formation.

Portsmouth started the brighter of the two sides, with Traore whipping in a testing cross before Papa Bouba Diop shot wide with his left foot. Jermain Defoe also went close after taking the ball excellently past several Stoke players. On six minutes Stoke proved that they were capable of winning scoring, with Rory Delap's first throw of the game only just cleared after David James missed his punch.

Portsmouth pushed further forward, but were almost caught on the break as a hopeful clearance towards Ricardo Fuller was left by the offside striker, only for David Kitson to run on to it. The Portsmouth defence were slow off the mark, but luckily Kitson lifted his shot inches wide of the far post. Soon after, on-loan winger Armand Traore almost put Portsmouth ahead, his long range effort narrowly missed.

Rory Delap's throws kept causing problems for Portsmouth, and on 21 minutes they almost took the lead through one. Delap delivered the ball a lot nearer to the goal, and Glen Johnson on the near post inexplicably moved out of the way, only for David James to claw the ball away from the goal line.

The Portsmouth strike force of Crouch and Defoe linked up well, with both forwards looking to make it into Fabio Capello's England squad for the upcoming World Cup Qualifiers. And it wasn't long before Portsmouth took the lead. Jermain Defoe showed nice control before crossing nicely on the turn for Peter Crouch to expertly finish in acrobatic style to put his side into the lead. It was truly a fantastic goal, and is meant to be referred to as the "Ferris Wheel", not the overhead kick, according to the half time announcer.

The first half finished lively, with Kitson and Defoe going close for their respective sides, before Ricardo Fuller broke free of the Portsmouth defence, only to stumble as he took it round David James. Stoke fans had a right to appeal for a penalty, but it didn't look like James got anywhere near the man or the ball.

Portsmouth may have felt relieved to go into the break in the lead, as Stoke had squandered several good chances to take the lead.

Stoke equalised only three minutes into the second half, with Ricardo Fuller first to react to a flick-on from yet another Rory Delap throw-in, to send the Stoke fans into a frenzy.

Pompey were not fazed, however, as Jermain Defoe found room outside the box only to see his right-footed piledriver cannon back off of the far post. Stoke obviously hadn't learnt their lesson, as less than a minute later Defoe was yet again allowed room, and this time the England striker made no mistake in burying his low shot inside the near post, to score yet another Premiership goal.

From then on Stoke posed little threat, with Rory Delap being substituted along with Dave Kitson as Stoke looked to salvage a point from the game. Just before the hour mark Peter Crouch went close from a fine Traore interception, before narrowly heading wide from a free kick.

Traore and Belhadj continued to terrorise the Stoke defence, Traore twice shooting straight at the keeper when Defoe was free. The young Frenchman was eventually replaced by the Hermanator in stoppage time, but by then the game was all but over.

Star Player

Traore and Belhadj were yet again sublime down the wing, but Crouch was the key man today for me. He controlled the ball well, had great vision to begin attacks, made several key headers and took his goal fantastically well. In truth it wasn't a great game, but everyone out there put in a good game with perhaps the exception of Diop, who came inside much too often and gave away too many free kicks.

A quick note on the referee. Finally we have found someone who let's everything go for us, and yet penalises the other team for everything, even some things that never were! Kitson was completely taken out in the first half by Distin, and Hughes gave away what should have been a penalty late in the second half. Then again, Crouch was shoved over in their area around the hour mark. We can`t have every decision go our way!

The player's have a well deserved two week wait (apart from our internationals!), before we make the trip to Villa Park, with the Portsmouth players trying to emulate last year's amazing scoreline. Next up at Fratton is Fulham, although we could be seeing some European football at the Fortress before then. Look out for the UEFA Cup Group Stage draw at 11.00 on Tuesday!

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The Journalist

Writer: paultsmouth Mail feedback, articles or suggestions

Date:Sunday October 5 2008

Time: 6:03PM

Your Comments

Great performance today, we looked fitter than Stoke! Could have been more, but I'll take the 3 points
Any Crouch chants yet? I had the Quay on but couldn't hear any....the Scummer/brick chant was pretty damn loud though! Also couldn't hear any of Westwoods 'instruments'....had he been moved or was that just rumour?
No Squee, Westwood was not up the Milton End and he wasn't up the Fratton End either. Good match. I thought Belhadj and Traore were brilliant again, Crouchie's goal was incredible, All were good really except, I thought, for Papa who kept losing the ball.
really enjoyed it again today, thanks for doing the summary paul - bakes report should be with us soon...
oh, and who still thinks crouchy is a waste of money eh?
Can't wait to see the highlights on MOTD later (although, as well all know, Pompey only get a few seconds compared to the other teams!) From listening to the commentry it seems like Belhadj had a fantastic game - his pace got a special metion on a couple of occassions. As well as our goals it sounds like it'll worth watching Matty Taylor's goal as his was reckoned to be 'goal of the week'.
It was a toss up between Belhadj and Traore, I couldn't tell you who was the faster - they are SO fast.
Just like to say the spent force that is Campbell was absolutely immense once again
I believe thjat Westwood is not allowed to have the drums anymore for health and safety reasons. Unfortunately it's marked the demise of the atmosphere at FP.
Steve C
Very good performance from a supposedly tired Pompey team. Could cut Stoke open at will and all they offered was Delap's long throws. Two weeks off now to relax and build for the challenge of Villa away - except for those on International duty, which will quite a few.
Had to laugh during the 2nd half saw Defoe berating Traore for shooting instead of squaring the ball to him. 5 mins later Defoe shot when he should have squared to Crouch. The Little and Large partnership is really starting to click now, i can see them really kicking on now.
Steve C
I'd like to start a bring back the band campaign, lets bring the atmosphere back to FP
Steve C
Great performance you would not have belived they played thus/fri, Harry take them out for a dip in the English channel should work wonders, & it could have been 5 or 6 the result actually flatterd them.
Fantastic 3 points today! Had to listen on the radio, but it sounded good stuff. There was a song for Crouchie that some of the fans were singing in Porto - there was also a new song for Defoe (to do with superbock [Portuguese beer], that I haven't heard sung yet. Hope they do, I think it will make him laugh! And I'm interested in how many goals he has scored like that! :-)
Surely we should have 4 in the England squad tonight. I keep checking, but it hasn't been announced yet.
for those that went to portugal, can you help settle my ongoing argument with a friend that we had in july in portugal. superbock or sagres?
I just read a great review of the "experiance" by a stoke fan here http://www.whydelilah.co.uk/news/05_Oct_2008/View+from+the+stands+-+Portsmouth+vs+Stoke+City.html - who really mde the point clear that our stwards really are harsher than others...
report done, just waiting for it to be uploaded...
i personally don't have a problem with Stewards making fans sit down. I'd prefer to be on a terrace rather than seated. These days i usualy travel to matches with a disabled friend. Very often at away games we've been unable to see because the Pompey fans in front have stood up and blocked our view. The only time this is not a problem is when the disabled enclosure is in front of the stand but the view there is usually not as good as when you're higher up.
Steve C
Crouch is back in the England squad!! FA still think he plays for Liverpool!!
4 in squad can't be bad.
Steve C
still no Owen... looks like it will be like a direct competition: Heskey and rooney or Crouch and Defoe... Jamo will probably ke his place in the team... and with any luck, fabio will go for GJs more attacking instincts...
Was at the match with girlfriend, for who it was her first FP experience!! She totally enjoyed the match, and is asking me to take her back again. Good result for Pompey, Crouch's goal fantastic and although i was at the Milton End, was so funny seeing Higginbottom at the Fratton end, on the floor getting the chants of 'scummer' from all the fans!! Truly enjoyable and am so glad to be back!! Even got to meet Jamo after the match, and Traore as well!! Think all the players were good, Diop played ok but realy needs shooting practise! That second half shot was awful!!!
i saw you leaving the pompey shop i reckon mate, black pompey shirt on with milhouse 7 i think on the back - your missus had black boots on? was gonna say i thought i knew who you were but you were too far ahead of me...
What a great end to a great week. So important on may fronts to win today. Firstly to banish this eruo hangover idea. Had we not won we would have had the mentality to weaken sides for future euro games. To win to cap a great 7 days. To win without Diarra. To win when we were expected to win. So to all the doom & gloom merchants out there, smell the coffee & wake up. These are the best of times.
Good report jb. Agree with you on Crouch and Diop but to be honest Stoke only had one tactic hit it long and they will not survive on that alone.
cheers dave, hughesy and davis did well so we didnt miss lassana too much, but we didnt start many attacks from the centre mid, so he will be elcomed back with open arms!
On way back home to Hammersmith, saw Kanu at service station. Glad I didn't stop to ask for autograph or photo op as he went into the bogs and didn't come out for five mins so, assuming he was on the way for a knees-bend, my request would not have sat comfortably. Still, a welcome sleb-spot after a pleasing game. Ref was a bit one-sided, wasn't he. We'll get someone shocking next week, though. Anyone remember Ron Challis in the late 1970s? He was the absolute Fratton nemesis.
Great Report ... We could have had 6 but we got the three points and that's the important thing.
Peter Crouch made me eat my words this week, and i apoligise for my criticism of him. In the last seven days he has led the line as i prayed he would. I do feel Diarra was missed, he is a wonderful footballer and i think our heartbeat is missing when he is not on the field. Hughsey and Sean have been great, and they always do a sterling job for us.
Sorry Rug, i was one who had a pop at him, my humble apologies
thats the beauty of football isnt it Owens, we all have varying opinions - and we dont always need to agree, and why should we... altho to be fair i feel the criticism that crouchy has had in recent games has been unfair - and alot have been critical of him even tho i thought he had been playing well for a good few weeks.

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