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Stoke City 1 Portsmouth 0: match report
Published : 22 Nov 2009 18:08:48
Stoke's Ricardo Fuller, who lists Portsmouth among his previous employers, struck his first Premier League goal of the season to frustrate his former club, who were left to rue an early penalty failure by Kevin-Prince Boateng and remain rooted to the foot of the table. Fuller was almost certainly to be substituted in favour of Tuncay when he beat Portsmouth's stand-in goalkeeper Jamie Ashdown with 16 minutes remaining. The result was harsh on the visitors but avenged Stoke's 4-0 defeat at Fratton Park in the Carling Cup early this month and lifted them back into ninth place. Related ArticlesPremier League actionPremier League tablePremier League fixturesTelegraph player raterSport on televisionPortsmouth suffered a setback before a ball was kicked in anger, David James suffering a calf strain during the warm-up. The 39-year-old England goalkeeper dropped out, with Ashdown promoted from the bench for his first Premier League appearance since May last year. The 37-year-old Antti Niemi, formerly of Southampton and Fulham, joined the substitutes. Pompey's fortunes looked set to change for the better after eight minutes. A reckless challenge by Rory Delap - whose boot was so high it caught Aruna Dindane in the face - prompted referee Kevin Friend to award a penalty. Boateng's spot-kick, weakly struck just to Thomas Sorensen's left, allowed the Stoke keeper to fall on the ball. Stoke switched Matthew Etherington from his customary left-wing berth to the right, no doubt in the knowledge that the returning Hermann Hreidarsson, 35, had played only an hour of reserve football this season. Portsmouth, however, played with greater fluidity in the first half, with Ashdown doing little more than field the odd long throw from Delap. The Stoke crowd chanted for Liam Lawrence and Glenn Whelan, who were left out of Tony Pulis' starting 11 after the draining disappointment of the Republic of Ireland's controversial World Cup exit. The clamour grew as Portsmouth continued to belie their status after half-time, Jamie O'Hara's shot from 25 yards forcing a full-length, fingertip save from Sorensen. The introduction of Lawrence at last saw Stoke play with a modicum of width and poise, and they sealed victory with a goal out of keeping with their previous one-dimensional efforts. A fine move, involving quickfire passes between Etherington, Dean Whitehead and Fuller ended with the latter curling a 18-yard shot beyond the diving Ashdown.