KENWYNE JONES scored for the third successive home game to seal Stoke City's passage through to the final sixteen of the Carling Cup as Mark Hughes suffered his first defeat as Fulham manager at the Britannia Stadium.
The £8 million striker headed home a long throw-in from substitute Rory Delap in the 79th minute to extinguish any threat of a Fulham fightback after defender Danny Higginbotham had put the Potters in front in the first half.
Higginbotham had been left unmarked at the far post as he raced into head a Matthew Etherington corner past Mark Schwarzer in the 32nd minute, but Fulham had their moments before Jones settled the tie with his header.
The former Sunderland man had, of course, scored with his head in the win over Aston Villa and the draw with West Ham, and this latest strike means that City now go into Saturday's fourth round draw in the Carling Cup.
Pulis was boosted by the fact that record signing Jones was fit to spearhead the attack and he signalled his intentions by naming Ricardo Fuller, Tuncay and Etherington in a very attacking formation, while Fulham also fielded a strong line-up.
When the sides lined up in front of the West Stand before the kick-off, there was a touching moment as many of the players embraced referee Mark Halsey who was making his first appearance back at the Britannia Stadium since his recovery from a serious illness.
City made the brighter opening and when Jones and Fuller flicked on Asmir Begovic's long kick, Tuncay latched on to the ball but his control let him down at the crucial moment and Fulham were able to clear that initial threat.
It wasn't long before Halsey had to impose his authority by booking both Etherington and Danny Murphy after the pair had clashed and he was then forced to talk to them again moments later as they continued with their argument.
Tuncay, who began the game operating down the left, switched sides to create problems for the Fulham defence with a burst forward and when he crossed low into the box, Jones fired in a shot on the turn that was deflected to safety.
City got their noses in front in the 23rd minute when Tuncay started a move that led to them being awarded a corner and Etherington delivered it deep to the far post where Higginbotham was unmarked as he planted his header past Schwarzer.
There were two moments when the Potters tried their luck from long range as first Etherington fired a 25-yard drive over the bar before Tuncay tried a spectacular volley from a similar distance that landed safely in the arms of Schwarzer.
Fulham responded by exerting their first period of pressure and Begovic was well-placed to comfortably save a fiercely struck drive from Zoltan Gera.
The visitors were then awarded a free kick in a dangerous position, but Clint Dempsey's curling effort deflected off the wall and over the bar before Mexican defender Carlos Salcido saw his thunderbolt of a shot blocked by Ryan Shawcross.
Begovic was forced to make another save shortly before the break when Dickson Etuhu's burst forward ended with Dempsey trying a shot on the turn.
City could have stretched their lead immediately after the restart when a slip by Aaron Hughes let in Jones but his low shot flashed across the face of goal.
There was a let off for Begovic in the 53rd minute when he fumbled a cross and was relieved to see Dempsey scoop the rebound over the bar from close range.
Glenn Whelan was only inches too high with a blistering drive from 25 yards when Tuncay rolled a free kick to him from wide on the left and then the Turkish international had a shot blocked after some penetrating approach work from Etherington and Fuller.
City had some uneasy moments following the introduction of Eddie Johnson for the visitors and he went close to equalising with left foot shot from the edge of the box while Mousa Dembele also tried his luck from 20 yards but that flashed wide of the upright.
But any nerves that the Potters had were eased in the 79th minute when Delap, who had replaced Diao minutes earlier, launched one of his trademark throws into the box. Schwarzer was left in no man's land as Jones rose to head home from close range.