Striker Ricardo Fuller applied a clinical finish to a neat passing move to give Stoke a 1-0 victory at home to Portsmouth.
The Jamaican's turn and shot in the 74th minute came after a swift interchange of passes between Matthew Etherington and Dean Whitehead.
Pompey, who lost England goalkeeper David James to injury in the warm up, had earlier missed an eighth-minute penalty from Kevin-Prince Boateng.
Fuller's strike secured a fourth win in seven matches at the Britannia Stadium - and their first in four games - and also condemned Portsmouth to a 10th defeat of the season.
It could have been so different had Boateng shown more composure from the penalty spot.
Aruna Dindane was caught in the head by Rory Delap's boot as he went for a high, bouncing ball but Boateng's penalty was weak and too close to Thomas Sorensen's, who saved easily to his left.
Stoke's first effort came from Fuller in the 13th minute when he controlled Salif Diao's looping header, turned and volleyed wide of the right-hand post of Jamie Ashdown, James' late replacement.
Etherington was next to go close after volleying Younes Kaboul's weak header from Delap's long throw.
Michael Brown's foul on Fuller earned the Pompey midfielder a booking and Stoke a 25-yard free-kick just left of centre, but James Beattie's low drive went around the wall and straight into the arms of Ashdown.
After a slow start Stoke had clawed their way into the ascendancy but Etherington, having switched back to his usual left-wing position, delayed his cross too long with players waiting in the middle and was eventually closed out.
Whitehead was booked just before half-time after diving in for the ball but missing and bringing down Dindane.
Two minutes after the restart Ryan Shawcross, captain in the absence of the suspended Abdoulaye Faye, headed over from Delap's long throw.
Jamie O'Hara brought the best save of the game out of Sorensen in the 52nd minute when his 35-yard drive was tipped around the post at full stretch.
Fuller's low shot, after Whitehead had launched a counter-attack from his own penalty area, was deflected over his own crossbar by Kaboul, with Robert Huth heading the resulting corner wide.
Delap's throw then picked out Fuller at the far post but his half-hit six-yard shot was collected by Ashdown.
Stoke manager Tony Pulis had seen enough and within 12 minutes of the restart he made a double change, bringing on Liam Lawrence and Mamady Sidibe for Diao and Beattie.
Portsmouth's best chance since the penalty fell to Dindane in the 64th minute but he hooked a left-foot volley wide with only the keeper to beat from 12 yards.
The on-loan Ivory Coast international was replaced by Frederic Piquionne soon after only for Stoke to take the lead within seconds with a goal which belied their long-ball reputation.
Etherington cut in from the left and exchanged passes with Whitehead before playing the ball up to Fuller, who turned on the edge of the area to curl a shot past Ashdown and into the far corner.
Stoke are renowned strong finishers and Sidibe should have made it 2-0 moments later after Fuller and Lawrence had combined in a quick counter-attack down the right, but he skewed his shot wide of the far post.
Wilkinson's storming run from his own half almost produced the second only for him to shoot over, but one goal was enough to clinch a tight encounter.
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