Stoke will take a slender lead into the home leg of their Europa League play-off tie against FC Thun thanks to Danny Pugh's winner in Switzerland.
The midfielder scored the only goal of the first leg in the 19th minute when he received a square ball from Matthew Etherington and fired in low from the edge of the area.
Thun's Benjamin Luthi had two shots blocked and Thomas Reinmann fired wide.
They had keeper David da Costa sent off for a bringing down Jon Walters.
Having used all their substitutes, the Swiss league leaders were forced to put defender Nicolas Schindelholz in goal. And in the fourth minute of stoppage time, the stand-in keeper saved brilliantly to stop Walters from doubling Stoke's advantage.
The last few minutes were the most exciting of a match which contained few goalscoring chances.
Much of the action of the first half took place in midfield.
Apart from the goal, Stoke other moment of promise saw forward Walters and Michael Tonge break away from the Thun shackles before the home defence caught up to cut out Tonge's cross.
Thun were tame in attack for much of the opening 45 minutes. However, debutant Matthew Upson had to be alert moments before the break to block an effort from right-back Luthi.
The Swiss league leaders did improve as an attacking force in the second half.
Defender Reinmann went close with a fierce shot before Christian Schneuwly fired narrowly wide from 30 yards after substitute Andy Wilkinson lost possession.
Moments later, Danish keeper Thomas Sorensen was called into action when he stopped a firm strike from Luthi.
Potters boss Tony Pulis brought on Glenn Whelan for Kenwyne Jones having sensed the increased danger although it was Thun who were forced to defend in the closing stages of the match.
Stoke manager Tony Pulis:
"It was difficult on the Astroturf because we don't have much experience on this kind of ground. They were difficult conditions but otherwise it was a brilliant game.
"Danny's strike was fantastic and I'm glad Matthew Upson played all the 90 minutes. We had a great time in Switzerland and we met some great people, and the players enjoyed the journey."