Stoke back on form with win at QPR

by 24britishtvDec. 5, 2021, 8 p.m. 39
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Last updated on .From the section Championship

Stoke City bounced back from two successive Championship defeats with an impressive win over QPR at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium.

Victory for Rangers - who had scored at least once in their previous 31 Championship fixtures - would have put them third in the table, but they could not find a way past Wales keeper Adam Davies, who made a string of fine saves, including one from Charlie Austin's second-half penalty.

Vrancic then sealed Stoke's fourth away win of the season by placing the ball beyond Seny Dieng from 20 yards as the home defence back-pedalled in front of him.

The victory lifted the Potters up to sixth in the table, only one point behind Rangers, who remain fifth.

QPR kicked off unbeaten in six games, winning four of them, while Stoke had not earned a point since their 2-0 victory over Peterborough on 20 November.

Michael O'Neill recalled experienced Joe Allen and Steven Fletcher to his starting line-up, but the Potters almost fell behind early when Ilias Chair was left unmarked in the box and Davies had to throw himself to his left to push away the midfielder's goal-bound header.

The action immediately swung to the other end where Dieng saved well from Campbell following a good move down the left and then blocked Fletcher's follow-up effort.

He was powerless, though, to do anything with Campbell's cool finish that gave Stoke the lead and they went close to doubling it when Fletcher saw a shot deflected against the post.

Davies tipped Yoann Barbet's strike round the post to end the half and was called into action soon after the restart to keep out Austin's powerful strike.

QPR's best chance arrived when Vrancic was penalised for hauling over Barbet in the box, but Austin's spot-kick was underhit and Davies dived to his right to save.

Vrancic atoned for his error by tucking away Stoke's second goal, but the visitors had to sustain some late pressure. Davies denied George Thomas, Chair, Luke Amos and Andre Gray as Rangers suffered only their second home defeat of the season.

"Injuries hurt today. We've lost four wing-backs and had six players out. We were light, but that's the Championship and you have to deal with it.

"Players are human. No one means to miss a penalty and Charlie had scored his last 15. We had a couple of really good chances after that. Those are the moments that define matches and we have to recognise that.

"In the first half we were moving the ball well - and when you move the ball well the opposing team is working constantly. When you shift them, so many times they make a mistake and you can capitalise on it. That's what good teams do, but we stopped doing it.

"I just felt today that in the final third we lacked that little bit of real guile to go and win the game."

"We're delighted with the result and a lot of the characteristics of the performance were terrific. We had to dig deep at times and defend against arguably the in-form team in the league.

"Adam Davies made key saves at key moments, [it was] great to save the penalty, and he gave real assurance to the back three.

"He's very dependable, he never lets us down and he's come back in on the back of Joe [Bursik] getting injured and he's determined to hang on to the jersey.

"The key thing is can you create chances away from home and we did that - and we took them. That was the difference. We didn't take our chances at Bristol City [last week] and we came away with nothing."

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