Stoke win away to ease relegation fears
20th April 2013 3pm
Attendance: 17, 391
Stoke helped to ease some of their own relegations fears whilst in the process of all but relegating Queen`s Park Rangers with victory in the capital.
Goals from Peter Crouch, only his 2nd in 27 appearances and Jonathan Walters, from the spot made sure the Potters came away from Loftus Road with all three points.
The win is only Stoke`s second away from home this season, the other being a 1-0 victory against West Brom in December and only their second triumph this calendar season, the other coming against Reading at the Britannia Stadium in February.
Tony Pulis` men eased to three points in the end, with QPR`s only real threats coming from long range efforts and free kicks within shooting distance.
This emphasis was shown from the off when Adel Taarabt hit narrowly over within the first minute from 20+ yards.
Stoke can close to grabbing the first goal when Peter Crouch plucked the ball out the air following a long ball and turned cleverly before acrobatically volleying the ball goal wards. The shot looked destined for the top corner but former England goalkeeper Rob Green pushed the effort wide of the post.
Stoke smothered any QPR threat in the first half and look dangerous on the break. The returning Cameron Jerome ran the line well and stretched the Rangers defence constantly.
The first goal came from just this, Marc Wilson, who also returned to the Potters starting eleven, won the ball just inside Stoke`s half with an expertly timed tackle, and drove forward before dropping the ball in behind QPR's defence for Jerome to run on to.
The striker calmly held the ball up inside the area and expertly picked out former Rangers striker Peter Crouch, who lost his marker expertly before side footing the ball home minutes before half time.
There was a moment of stunned silence in the away end behind the other goal before a roar of joy as the travelling Potters fans had realised that their team had scored away from home.
The second half was similar to the first with Stoke soaking up any pressure from QPR could throw at them.
Harry Redknapp`s men have only scored 12 league goals at home and only picked up two victories on their own turf all season, no surprise really that the London outfit find themselves propping up most of the league.
They did threaten though with one moment of brilliance from former Stoke target Loic Remy who nearly made the scores level, the Frenchman skipped around Stoke's backline before smashing an effort at goal, but Bosnian Asmir Begovic was more than a match in between the sticks and grasped the ball.
QPR maintained to push for an equaliser and Christopher Samba rose highest in a crowded box but his 18 yard header was easily saved by Begovic once more.
QPR's fight was extinguished when substitute Dean Whitehead, who replaced Charlie Adam won a free kick on Stoke`s right wing. Irishman Glenn Whelan took the free kick and found Robert Huth who crashed his header off the post with Rob Green beaten, the ball bounced back out into the 6 yard box where Peter Crouch picked up the loose ball before being dragged down by former Potter Clint Hill.
Referee Chris Foy pointed to the spot.
Jonathan Walters, who had run of missed penalties at the turn of the year, stepped up confidently and blasted the ball into the roof of Rob Green`s net but was pulled back due to an encroachment by QPR substitute Jay Bothroyd.
Walters was forced to retake the kick but made no mistake again, calmly smashing the ball into the corner to double the Potters lead.
QPR had no response and looked a team that were conceded to the fact they'd be relegated.
The win moved Stoke six points clear of the drop zone and another victory next week against the Canaries at the Brit would all but guarantee the Staffordshire side Premier League football next season.