The Potters' terrible form continued with a surprise defeat to the Hoops as a great performance from the London outfit saw the Staffordshire side undone yet againStoke City fell to their fourth straight defeat at the hands of QPR, with a brace from Heidar Helguson helping Neil Warnock's side to a 3-2 victory.
The loss follows the humiliating defeat to Bolton just before the international break and allowed the visitors to further their reputation on their return to the top-flight.
Jonathan Walters put Stoke ahead early on and the Potters looked to be in a positive mood, but goals from Helguson and Luke Young saw the away side go into the break 2-1 to the good.
QPR came back out looking even stronger and grabbed a third through Helguson’s second, before Stoke doubled their tally thanks to Ryan Shawcross’ close-range header.
Stoke manager Tony Pulis made five changes ahead of the game, with Thomas Sorenson coming in for Asmir Begovic, with the goalkeeper having seen 180 minutes worth of action for Bosnia during the international period. Meanwhile, Stoke’s central defensive partnership of Shawcross and Robert Huth returned, with the former deemed fit enough to start after limping off against Newcastle.
Danny Higginbotham made a welcome comeback to the Potters’ line-up after seven months on the sidelines and Ricardo Fuller made the bench, having not featured all season with an Achilles problem.
QPR had to deal with a number of injury worries, thanks to the absences of Abel Taarabt, Jay Bothroyd and Fitz Hall, otherwise, it was the same line-up that pushed Manchester City all the way last time out.
Stoke began the game in good spirits, winning a handful of corners early on and it wasn’t long until they broke the deadlock.
Crouch, storming through the middle, laid the ball forward for Walters to sneak through the QPR back two before striking cleanly into the far corner past a helpless and outstretched Paddy Kenny.
It was the former Liverpool and Tottenham man that nearly got Stoke’s second following a defensive nightmare between Kenny and his backline. The forward snuck through on the angle, but was denied by the Irishman’s floundering save and his centre-back’s goal-line clearance.
QPR began to press and deserved a well set-up equaliser, with Alejandro Faurlin bursting down the left flank to drift in a lofted ball towards the unmarked Helguson, who headed without pressure straight past Sorenson.
Young-star | Luke Young hands QPR a first-half lead at the Britannia
A flurry of corners and set-pieces from both sides threatened to upset the balance between the two outfits, but not one effort could be turned into a proper shot on target, with Stoke going the closest.
QPR once again though piled the pressure on the Potters and earned themselves another goal that would see them enter the break on top.
A lovely ball from Shaun Wright-Phillips combined with tenacious work from Jamie Mackie on the right-hand side allowed the latter to pop the ball onto the penalty spot and find the ambitious run of Young, and the full-back didn’t disappoint, with his half-volleyed effort flying past Sorenson.
Matters got worse for the Potters just 10 minutes into the second-half. A searching ball from out left drifted all the way to the back stick where Helguson had managed to get ahead of his marker Shawcross and slid in to put the ball past a bemused Sorenson.
However, Shawcross was able to make up for his earlier error when popping up just two yards from the QPR goal-line to head in a lifeline for his team, who began to look brighter following the restart, despite conceding the early third goal.
The game began to get heated thanks to a flurry of clumsy challenges and raised tempers as Stoke pushed desperately for their third, pressing QPR right until the end of the game and going close on a number of occasions.
However, the Potters’ lack of shots on target proved to be their downfall, as Warnock's men secured a 3-2 victory.
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