QPR 0-2 Stoke City: Crouch & Walters leave Redknapp’s men on brink
Strikes either side of the interval prove the highlights in dour encounter between the two Premier League strugglers as Tony Pulis' men see themselves lifted to 15th in the table
By Josh Clarke
A Peter Crouch close range finish and a Jonathan Walters penalty either side of the interval proved the difference between the two sides in an uninspiring encounter between the relegation-threatened pair.
The result leaves QPR 10 points from safety, having played a game more than the sides above them with only four matches remaining, while Stoke see themselves lifted to 15th place in the table.
Harry Redknapp welcomed Adel Taarabt back to his starting line-up and also reinforced his side with the steel offered by Tal Ben Haim and Stephane Mbia, while Tony Pulis opted to reinstate Crouch and Cameron Jerome up front for the visitors.
A breathless start to the game saw both sides attack with intent yet it was the recalled pair of Jerome and Crouch who were the protagonists.
Jerome squandered the two best chances in the opening stages, passing up the chance to shoot when put through by Crouch before connecting badly with Ryan Shotton's cross from the right.
Crouch then drew a fine save from Robert Green after he chested down and volleyed from distance with the outside of his right boot, as Loic Remy drew a couple more rather routine stops from Asmir Begovic.
As the first half looked to be coming to a goalless end, Stoke seized the initiative as Crouch tucked under Green from close range, after the industry of Marc Wilson and pace of Jerome had exposed the home side down the left.
Remy continued to be his side's most potent, and only, attacking threat, and wriggled into space to force a smart reactionary stop from Begovic, while Charlie Adam fired high and wide at the other end as the game became progressively more scrappy and shy of incident.
As QPR chased an equaliser, Stoke doubled their lead as Walters tucked home -at the second time of asking - from the penalty spot after Crouch was hauled down chasing a rebound off the post from Robert Huth's header.
From there the game petered out with little incident as Stoke put an end to their abject run of form to effectively force the final nail into the coffin of QPR's Premier League status.
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