Stoke ease through against Pompey

Jonathan Walters, centre, bagged a brace for Stoke

Jonathan Walters, centre, bagged a brace for Stoke

First published in National News © by

Forward Jonathan Walters scored twice and made a late third for Peter Crouch to ease Stoke into the third round of the Capital One Cup as on-loan Chelsea winger Victor Moses enjoyed a promising debut against Portsmouth at the Britannia Stadium.

While the prospect of seeing Moses - who had not started a club game since scoring for Liverpool in an FA Cup fourth round tie at Bournemouth in January - for the first time hardly enticed the locals to the game in their droves, there were some encouraging elements to be seen in a 3-0 victory.

Aside from some threatening runs from the Nigeria international the display by Marc Muniesa at left-back, one of nine changes from Sunday's Premier League draw at Hull, was another positive as was the late debut handed to 16-year-old academy graduate Oliver Shenton.

Former Barcelona B defender Muniesa produced some inviting crosses from the flank, one which resulted in Walters' opener and others which could have brought more.

But most of the attention was on Moses and how he would perform having been farmed out on loan again by Jose Mourinho.

Last season he began his spell at Anfield looking like he had something to prove but quickly faded and by the end was nothing more than a bit-part player.

Manager Mark Hughes has promised the 23-year-old he will get much more pitch time under him and on the evidence of his first man-of-the-match performance he is unlikely to have to wait until the next round of this competition for another go.

He could have capped his debut with a goal on the hour but fired into the side-netting with only goalkeeper Paul Jones to beat.

The league cup may be of secondary consequence to Premier League sides but Portsmouth, second in League Two a mere 54 places below their hosts, also seemed less than interested with eight changes of their own.

Without the squad depth of their opponents it was always likely to affect them more and the first half saw Stoke create a number of chances - many via the left boot of Muniesa - but convert only one.

With Pompey's defence almost obsessed with the aerial threat of Crouch - who could easily have had a hat-trick himself - midfielder Johnny Ertl dropped deep to get a hold of the striker's shirt and Walters slipped in almost unnoticed to turn in Muniesa's cross.

Either of Moses or Crouch should have made it 2-0 immediately as the former's shot was parried by Jones who gratefully claimed the rebounded effort.

Chances continued to fall to Walters, Crouch, Moses, Charlie Adam and Robert Huth, the latter denied by Jones who stuck up a hand to and claim the loose ball with the Britannia already celebrating a goal.

Two minutes after the break Moses' speed took him clear down the left and his cross presented Walters with the easiest of tap-ins before a charging Jones denied his hat-trick attempt.

Pompey's resistance was broken as Crouch twice headed wide via crosses from either flank, Moses fired into side-netting before his debut was ended after 63 minutes and Adam shot straight at the goalkeeper.

Stoke's goalkeeper Jack Butland, making only his fifth appearance since joining from Birmingham for £4million in January 2013, tipped over Andy Barcham's shot from a rare Portsmouth attack before Crouch finally got on the scoresheet with a header in the 90th minute.

Comments (1)

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11:13pm Wed 27 Aug 14

philelmes says...

They must dread seeing opponents in red and white stripes.
They must dread seeing opponents in red and white stripes. philelmes
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