Deadly duo sink Stoke
Crouch and Defoe on target
By Elliot Ball. Last Updated: 05/10/08 6:56pm
Duo: On scoresheet
Portsmouth beat Stoke 2-1 at Fratton Park thanks to goals from strike duo Peter Crouch and Jermain Defoe.
A stunning Crouch overhead kick and a great Defoe individual goal between Ricardo Fuller's strike proved enough as Pompey returned from their European heroics in spectacular fashion.
Portsmouth, who qualified for the Uefa Cup group stages on Thursday, delighted Fratton Park fans with a performance of the highest quality.
Crouch scored his fourth goal in as many games with a certain goal of the season contender while Defoe added his sixth strike of the season with a great piece of individual play.
In Pompey's seventh game in 22 days - boss Harry Redknapp made just two changes from the side that knocked out Guimaraes in the Uefa Cup - they were forced into a fierce battle by Stoke.
But after Fuller bundled home an equaliser three minutes into the second half, Defoe cracked the winner three minutes later, having already hit a post.
All Pompey's early dominance pointed to a comfortable win as winger Armand Traore terrorised Stoke's right flank with a series of raids that produced near misses by Papa Bouba Diop and Defoe.
Yet the home side suddenly began to struggle against Rory Delap's long throws and Fuller's committed approach.
Ex-Pompey chief Tony Pulis must have cursed when Dave Kitson missed a 17th-minute sitter, clipping his shot wide from Delap's diagonal pass with only David James to beat.
Then Seyi Olofinjana was booked for a foul on Sean Davis, who had to go off briefly for a treatment to his lower back and it signalled a Pompey revival.
Davis had just returned by the time the hitherto subdued Defoe chipped a lovely ball across the area and Crouch notched his fourth goal in three games with a stunning volley on the turn.
Pumped-up Pompey pressed again and Defoe's fierce low drive was parried by Steve Simonsen before Diop blasted wide on the half-hour.
Stoke could have had a penalty, however, when four minutes later, Fuller chased a Michael Tonge pass through the centre and tried to round James before going down in a heap.
It looked like referee Andre Marriner had awarded a spot-kick as James raced to him with arms spread wide but the official had pointed for a goal kick. He then felt obliged to explain the decision to Fuller, who seemed convinced he had been tripped.
Stoke had another penalty shout when Sol Campbell collapsed on top of Fuller soon afterwards but then Defoe was irate after Olofinjana appeared to clip his heels inside the area at the other end. Again the referee was unimpressed.
Defoe kept plugging away and when he crossed to the near post from the right, Crouch was a whisker away from steering home a second goal.
But Pompey had to wait until after the break for their second - by which time Stoke had equalised in typical style.
Fuller muscled in between James and Glen Johnson to apply the final touch to a flicked-on Delap cross after 48 minutes, but within the next three minutes Defoe had restored Pompey's lead.
Defoe rattled the post after 50 minutes but made his next effort count moments later when an almost identical right-foot shot confounded stand-in goalkeeper Steve Simonsen.
Stoke continued their aerial bombardment but Simonsen, deputising for flu-hit Thomas Sorensen, needed to perform heroically to stop Defoe, Crouch and Traore adding more goals for Pompey.
One intervention by Simonsen was too much - careering out of his area to chop down the elusive Traore but was let off with a booking.
|Portsmouth||Team Statistics||Stoke City|
|1||1st Half Goals||0|
|9||Shots on Target||4|
|7||Shots off Target||4|
Barclays Premier League
|12||West Ham United||38||47|
|13||West Bromwich Albion||38||44|
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