Stoke earn first home win since October with victory over fellow strugglers QPR



Posted Thursday, February 15, 2024 by PA

Stoke earn first home win since October with victory over fellow strugglers QPR

Stoke secured a first home win since October as they beat fellow strugglers QPR 1-0.

A Wouter Burger strike on the cusp of half time was enough to end a run of four straight defeats in the Championship.

The visiting Hoops, who could have moved out of the relegation zone with a victory, failed to extend their four-match unbeaten run.

It could be an important first home win for Potters’ boss Steven Schumacher, with his new side moving six points clear of the dreaded dotted line.

Following two wins and two draws, a resurgent QPR started promisingly and nearly opened the scoring inside three minutes.

The visitors carefully crafted a pocket of space and found Paul Smyth, but the winger’s venomous strike was pawed away by Daniel Iversen.

Stoke heeded their opponents’ early warning sign and gradually grew into the fixture, with new forward Niall Ennis trying to instigate a response.

The hosts had only scored two goals in their last eight home league games – with only one from open play – and their wastefulness in front of goal was on show again.

Lewis Baker’s outswinging corner was headed goalwards by Michael Rose, but the defender’s effort was tipped over by Asmir Begovic.

And the former Potters’ stopper – who made 173 appearances in six years at the club – was in inspired form against his old employers.

Fierce strikes from Burger and Ennis before the break had the same outcome, with Begovic twice coming to QPR’s rescue.

However, there was nothing the ex-Bosnian international could do just on the stroke of half time as Stoke took the lead with a goal that had been coming.

A Baker corner again wreaked havoc with Luke McNally’s flick-on finding the onrushing Burger, who converted a simple tap-in.

It was a second league goal of the season for the Dutch youngster, whose only other second tier strike also came against the Rs in the reverse fixture in November.

The home side’s momentum was not swayed by the interval, with the Potters continuing to dictate the fixture.

And they should have doubled their lead following a moment of pinball, but valiant QPR defending and another Begovic stop ensured the game remained within reach.

Substitute Lyndon Gooch also came close to providing a Stoke second, yet his rifled strike whistled beyond the post.

A late Hoops onslaught ensued with the influential Ilias Chair trying to unlock a resolute home defence.

Ultimately, the hosts’ slender lead was preserved as they avoided suffering a fifth successive league defeat for the first time since January 2005.

Meanwhile, Marti Cifuentes’ outfit remain entrenched in the relegation zone, four points from safety with 14 games still to play.

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