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Stoke battle for victory

Stoke City

Loftus Road

29/03/06 7:45pm

Attendance: 10,918


Stoke battled back from a goal down after 6 minutes to claim their first victory on the road in 2006 and buried yet another hoodoo with their first win over QPR in the last six attempts.

Itís all starting to get nicely predictable. First we beat Burnley 10 days ago for the first time ever at the Britannia, then we go and get a well deserved point at Leeds - against all predictions and now we finally get revenge on QPR, on their manor, for the last five defeats. To top it all, itís a good '6 pointer' with the Potters leapfrogging Rangers and Tony Pulis's Plymouth Argyle to go into 13th position with 51 points.

It didnít all start so well though. Stoke were behind after only six minutes with a strike by Marc Nygaard and before the half hour it all seemed to be going from bad to worse, when Dave Brammer brought down Lee Cook in the penalty area and the referee pointed to the spot. Steve Simonsen guessed correctly and dived to his left to save a poor kick from Gareth Ainsworth.

Hannes Sigurdsson made a rare, but justified appearance in the starting line-up alongside Sam Bangoura. Both had chances to put Stoke ahead along with Luke Chadwick whose shot hit the bar.

But it was not until 20 minutes from time when coaches, Gerry Taggart and Noel Blake (standing in for Boskamp, who was suffering from a cold) threw on Mamady Sidibe and Paul Gallagher in place of Bangoura and Peter Sweeney that the tide turned for Stoke.

Darel Russell was blocked by Danny S**ttu in the QPR penalty area and the referee again pointed to the spot. Carl Hoefkens, now becoming the acknowledged penalty taker calmly sent Jones the wrong way to level the score.

It was then all guns blazing for Stoke as QPR looked very shaky and it was Sigurdsson again, after he had two shots well saved by the keeper, who managed to finally get the ball in the back of the net for his first goal for Stoke and the nightís winner.

Next up - Sheffield United and Ade Akinbiyi at home on Saturday.

Team line-ups
Queens Park Rangers Jones, Bignot, S**ttu, Evatt, Milanese, Ainsworth (Furlong 80), Bircham (Langley 78), Lomas, Cook, Youssouf (Moore 15), Nygaard.

Stoke City Simonsen, Hoefkens, Duberry, Wilkinson, Broomes, Chadwick (Buxton 88), Brammer, Russell, Sweeney (Gallagher 71), Bangoura (Sidibe 71), Sigurdsson.

Star Player

Hannes Sigurdsson for his first goal of many (we hope) in a Stoke shirt.

Writer:Chris Baldwin
Date:Wednesday March 29 2006
Time: 11:00PM

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