Crouch And Defoe Break Potters

By Jim Bonner
Last updated : 05 October 2008
Pompey's deadly duo of Peter Crouch and Jermain Defoe were on the scoresheet again to defeat Stoke City and complete a very satisfying week for Portsmouth fans.

As expected, Stoke battled hard but I was very impressed with our performance today as we didn't look at all tired from the dramatics of Thursday night in Guimaraes.

The game may have been different had Dave Kitson surprisingly not put his shot wide with just David James to beat after the England 'keeper gave the ball straight to Rory "Scummer" Delap.

Fans in the Fratton End joked that every time Pompey looked in trouble then we should put the ball behind for a corner rather than our for a throw as Delap's long throws were causing problems all game, as we'd find out at the start of the second half.

The first half belonged to Pompey though as Armand Traore and Nadir Belhadj gave Andy Griffin a nightmare down the left and if either could cross then we might have scored earlier today.

It took something special to break Stoke's stubborn resistance and I'll be very surprised if we see a better goal at Fratton Park all season after Peter Crouch acrobatically scored a bicycle kick after Jermain Defoe did the hard work.

Whilst it was a stunning goal that gave Pompey a deserved lead, it was a goal that ranks at the other end of the spectrum that levelled the game for Tony Pulis' side.

Yet another long throw by Delap came into the box and the ball was flicked on for ex-Pompey-Scummer Ricardo Fuller to head into the net.

Thankfully it didn't take Pompey long to restore the lead as Defoe, who curled a shot on the post almost immediately after Stoke had equalised, had plenty of space to pick his spot and strike the ball into the bottom corner of the net.

We could have had more if it wasn't for Steve Simonsen producing some very good saves during the match but there were a couple of nervy moments to endure when Fuller went down in the box a couple of times looking for a penalty.

However, the bottom line is that the best side won and you have to be happy with the way the players have bounced back since that horrifying 6-0 defeat at Man City and the subsequent drubbing by Chelsea in the Carling Cup.

They all looked up for the battle today and I was particularly impressed by how well Sol Campbell dominated the defence once again. The abuse he suffered by the Tottenham fans has seemed to inspire him to better performances.

We also have a very good left side that is capable of causing many teams problems with their pace. Once their delivery improves then they could be lethal so it's a shame that both Traore and Belhadj are only on loan.

A good week then, and Pompey fans will be happy with our current 7th place in the Premier League as the international break arrives just in time to give to give the majority of our squad a well deserved rest.

Here's hoping for a good draw on Tuesday.

Pompey Player Ratings

David James: 6 - Distribution was a bit suspect.

Glen Johnson: 6 - Steady performance.

Sol Campbell: 7 - Strong and dominant in the air.

Sylvain Distin: 6 - Solid showing.

Nadir Belhadj: 7 - Supported the attack well.

Papa Bouba Diop: 6 - Good performance on return.

Richard Hughes: 7 - Rarely wasted a pass.

Sean Davis: 6 - Battled well.

Armand Traore: 8 - A constant threat.

Jermain Defoe: 8 - Well taken goal.

Peter Crouch: 8 - Best game back in a Pompey shirt capped with awesome goal.

Substitutes

Jamie Ashdown

Younes Kaboul

Noe Pamarot

Hermann Hreidarsson (Traore 90): N/A - Time eating sub.

Glen Little

Arnold Mvuemba

Kanu

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