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.