QPR 1 Stoke City 2: Boskamp doubts fail to stifle Stoke

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The Independent Online

If the on-field interest in a match between two mid-table Championship sides with little left to play for this season was minimal, the off-field intrigue was rather greater. Plenty of speculation has surrounded both sides' managerial situations for the majority of this campaign and Stoke's in particular seem set to come to a head, possibly today.

Their manager, Johan Boskamp, absent here with flu, has been at odds with two of his colleagues for several months, meaning that an emergency board meeting has been convened for today, with the possibility the Dutchman could leave forthwith.

"I'm not going to comment on what goes on behind the scenes," said the acting Stoke assistant manager, Gerry Taggart, after his side had come from behind to win. "Johan has flu and he stayed at the team hotel. I hope the result cheered him up."

Gary Waddock, the QPR caretaker-manager, was more concerned with trying to improve his own claims and Marc Nygaard's goal after seven minutes looked like doing that.

However, Rangers failed to double their lead, Gareth Ainsworth seeing his weak spot-kick easily stopped low by Steve Simonsen in the 25th minute, and two mistakes from Danny Shittu handed victory to Stoke.

First, the centre-half fouled Darel Russell 17 minutes from time, with Carl Hoefkens converting where Ainsworth failed. Then, six minutes later, Shittu's air-kick was capitalised on by Hans Sigurdsson, who had the easiest task to score from six yards.

Queen's Park Rangers (4-4-2): Jones; Bignot, Shittu, Evatt, Milanese; Ainsworth (Furlong, 80), Lomas, Bircham (Langley 78), Cook; Nygaard, Youssouf (Moore, 15). Substitutes not used: Cole (gk), Santos.

Stoke City (4-4-2): Simonsen; Hoefkens, Duberry, Broomes, Wilkinson; Chadwick (Buxton, 88), Brammer, Russell, Sweeney (Gallagher 71); Bangoura (Sidibe, 71), Sigurdsson. Substitutes not used: De Goey (gk), Junior.

Referee: P Walton (Northamptonshire).

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