STOKE CITY FC 1 QUEENS PARK RANGERS 0
Stoke had to work really hard for this win,and the three points. From a team confidence point of view the result was vital. Watching ALL the players on the pitch there was plenty of tension about. Our visitors have spent heavily on players,many of them talented,but what they do not yet have is a team,just a collection of individuals. Stoke by contrast definitely are a team, all for one,one for all,though maybe sometimes looking like the unfinished article that the manager argues that it is.
As in recent weeks elsewhere Rangers set out to stifle Crouch, and to a point enjoyed some success. However, despite the close attentions of one,two, and sometimes three defenders,and with little protection from the referee,he still managed to get to the ball,and make things happen. He got a couple of powerful shots away on target,which were blocked; he still managed numerous flick ons of varying accuracy which no other Stoke player could take advantage of; but,unlike some strikers we've had in the past, he does not seem to be discouraged by this close attention. He just keeps on coming.
He didn't score,but he got his reward just after halftime. Huth took a freekick from out on the left,flighting the ball into the Rangers penalty box. Jon Walters – he had a much better game today – got up well to head the ball across the front of goal. Crouch did not seem to get much on the ball as it moved out to the right,but what he did do was attract three QPR defenders,as if flies to fly paper. Charlie Adam felt the benefit as the ball reached him coming in from the right unmarked. His cool left footed shot curled past helpless keeper Caesar into the left side of the net. The winner! Adam's first goal to boot!
QPR had their chances,but were simply unable to take them.
Now this result defied all the usual Stokie logic!They took all six points from us last season. They have not won a match this season. Their last away win was at Stoke twelve months ago. Their last win was against The Mighty Potters at Loftus Road last April. It's the custom at Stoke,that we always extend charity on these occasions. The buzz in the pub before the match....a QPR win was inevitable!
Lots of happy faces afterwards,all glad to be wrong!