Match report: Charlie Adam's first goal for Stoke leaves Queens Park Rangers manager Mark Hughes facing toughest week

Stoke 1 Queens Park Rangers 0

Britannia Stadium

If Mark Hughes did not have one match left to save his job ahead of Queens Park Rangers' last home fixture, it is difficult not to suspect he is in that position now.

Hughes survived last weekend's 1-1 draw against Reading despite his players being jeered off the field and even won a declaration of confidence from chairman Tony Fernandes, reiterated at lunchtime by chief executive Philip Beard.

But a seventh defeat for QPR under Hughes, for whom they have yet to register a win this season, leaves them bottom of the Premier League. The team they replaced, Southampton, are the visitors to Loftus Road next Saturday. Should the hosts fail to win that one, it would take a patient chairman to resist the obvious reaction.

The key problem for Hughes is that his luck is plainly out. Rangers were the better side yesterday but nothing they tried would come off.

Adel Taarabt posed problems for Stoke, as did Junior Hoilett and Esteban Granero in a fluid midfield, but when the chances came they were not taken, sometimes due to Asmir Begovic's heroics in the Stoke goal but on other occasions because they made poor decisions.

Nothing summed up their plight more tellingly than the chance Taarabt squandered just before half-time, at which point neither side had managed a shot on target and the match was finely balanced.

A mistake by Glenn Whelan, with a careless lateral pass, gave Rangers possession, and it was Hoilett who saw the opportunity, exchanging passes with Djibril Cissé and spotting Taarabt's run into clear space on the right. Hoilett's pass was weighted perfectly but Taarabt went for finesse instead of power as Begovic moved towards him and his attempt to chip the goalkeeper sailed over the bar. He held his head in his hands, with most of the visiting fans following suit.

"We've got to take those chances," Hughes said afterwards. "In fairness to Adel I have played him through the middle and I thought he was really effective. He understood what was required, got in between the lines and caused Stoke some real problems.

"But you know at those points in a game that if you don't take your chances you might concede going the other way and, in the event, we made one mistake at the back and got punished for it.

"It is disappointing because, like a number of games we have played in this season, we have been the better side and played some good football but the key is to win games and, to do that, you have to take your chances."

Indeed, more followed, after Stoke had gone ahead to register only their second Premier League win so far this season, with Begovic saving both a deflected shot by Taarabt and a powerful effort from Granero, set up by Taarabt.

Tony Pulis, Stoke's manager, endorsed Hughes's assessment, having been rewarded for a performance from his team that conspicuously lacked redeeming features but which nonetheless produced a goal.

"We have played better in all of our 10 previous games," Pulis conceded. "We have played games this season where we should never have lost and, if you speak to Mark, he will be disappointed that they have come away with nothing."

The goal, created by a Robert Huth free-kick from the left headed on to the far post by Jonathan Walters, was a moment for Charlie Adam to savour, ending a goal drought for the former Liverpool midfielder that had lasted more than a year.

"I'm pleased for Charlie," Pulis added. "We've moved him around a bit to try to get him positions to score and thank goodness today he has come up with the goods."

Stoke (4-4-1-1): Begovic; Cameron, Shawcross, Huth, Wilkinson; Walters, Whelan, Nzonzi, Etherington (Kightly, 70); Adam (Whitehead, 76); Crouch.

QPR (4-2-3-1): Julio Cesar; Bosingwa, Ferdinand, Nelsen, Traoré; Diakité, Faurlin (Zamora, 78); Granero, Taarabt, Hoilett; Cissé.

Referee: Martin Atkinson

Man of the match: Grenero (QPR)

Match rating: 5/10

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
i100
Extras
indybest
News
peopleLiam Williams posted photo of himself dressed as Wilfried Bony
Sport
Martin Skrtel heads in the dramatic equaliser
SPORTLiverpool vs Arsenal match report: Bandaged Martin Skrtel heads home in the 97th-minute
Arts and Entertainment
Caroline Flack became the tenth winner of Strictly Come Dancing
tvReview: 'Absolutely phenomenal' Xtra Factor presenter wins Strictly Come Dancing final
Arts and Entertainment
The Apprentice finalists Mark Wright and Bianca Miller
tvBut who should win The Apprentice?
Caption competition
Caption competition
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

Bleacher Report

Daily Quiz
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

Day In a Page

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'
Marian Keyes: The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment

Marian Keyes

The author on her pre-approved Christmas, true love's parking implications and living in the moment
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef creates an Italian-inspired fish feast for Christmas Eve

Bill Granger's Christmas Eve fish feast

Bill's Italian friends introduced him to the Roman Catholic custom of a lavish fish supper on Christmas Eve. Here, he gives the tradition his own spin…
Liverpool vs Arsenal: Brendan Rodgers is fighting for his reputation

Rodgers fights for his reputation

Liverpool manager tries to stay on his feet despite waves of criticism
Amir Khan: 'The Taliban can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'

Amir Khan attacks the Taliban

'They can threaten me but I must speak out... innocent kids, killed over nothing. It’s sick in the mind'
Michael Calvin: Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Sepp Blatter is my man of the year in sport. Bring on 2015, quick