Diao goal piles misery on Pompey

Frederic Piquionne gave the home side the advantage after 35

minutes, but Robert Huth’s header levelled matters five minutes

after the break. Andy Wilkinson was sent off for the visitors after

73 minutes, but Diao netted at the death to maintain his side’s

unbeaten record in all competitions this year. Tony Pulis’ team

enjoyed the best of the opening exchanges as Pompey failed to

fashion any early chances. Every Rory Delap throw-in drew a chorus

of whistles from the home fans and the former Southampton player

picked out Huth with one of his trademark missiles from the left

touchline after 11 minutes. The ball fell to Glenn Whelan 25 yards

from goal, but he blasted his effort comfortably over the top.

Stoke came much closer when Wilkinson fired a long ball into the

heart of the Pompey box. Ryan Shawcross headed it down, but Mamady

Sidibe spun and put a great chance wide of the target after 17

minutes. Pompey fans had little to cheer early on, but they thought

Piquionne had broken the deadlock after 20 minutes. The striker was

adjudged to be offside, though, as he raced on to Quincy

Owusu-Abeyie’s through ball and slotted home. Pompey enjoyed more

possession as the half progressed and Nadir Belhadj nearly gave

them the lead when his right-footed, 20-yard scorcher from the edge

of the box just whistled over the bar after 25 minutes.

Owusu-Abeyie’s power and pace caused Stoke plenty of problems on

the left side and he played a huge part in helping Pompey break the

deadlock after 35 minutes. The on-loan Ghanaian striker played a

slick one-two with Jamie O’Hara on the edge of the Stoke box,

before unleashing a powerful, low effort. Potters keeper Thomas

Sorensen spilled the ball and Piquionne was first on the scene to

punish the Dane and net the rebound. The home side came out for the

second half without their goalscorer, who was replaced by Kanu at

the interval. But Pompey nearly doubled their lead when a quick

David James clearance sent Aruna Dindane racing through on goal

after 48 minutes. He took one touch too many, though, and Danny

Collins dispossessed him before the Lens-owned man could pull the

trigger. Stoke countered and Ricardo Fuller won a corner, when his

strike was blocked by Hermann Hreidarsson. Whelan took the kick and

picked out Huth with a superb ball, which allowed the German to

easily out-jump Pompey centre-back Marc Wilson and head powerfully

into the top corner after 50 minutes. Pompey’s hopes of claiming

their first win of 2010 were given a major boost after 73 minutes,

when Stoke had Wilkinson dismissed for a second yellow card. The

right-back scythed down Dindane on the left side of the box after

68 minutes, and a similarly bad tackle on the Ivorian international

five minutes later saw referee Mike Dean send Wilkinson down the

tunnel. Fuller was lucky not to join him shortly afterwards, when a

ridiculously high challenge on O’Hara went unpunished by the

officials. And the striker made the most of his reprieve, when he

skinned Wilson in the box in the first minute of stoppage time,

before squaring for substitute Diao to win the game.