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

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Life and Style
tech
Arts and Entertainment
Rocky road: Dwayne Johnson and Carla Gugino play an estranged husband and wife in 'San Andreas'
filmReview: In the face of all-round devastation, even Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson appears a little puny
Arts and Entertainment
Bright lights, big city: Melrose Avenue in Los Angeles by dusk
books
News
i100
Sport
Harry Kane makes Paul Scholes' Premier League team of the season
footballPaul Scholes on the best players, managers and goals of the season - and the biggest disappointments
News
i100
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

Fifa corruption: The 161-page dossier that exposes the organisation's dark heart

The 161-page dossier that exposes Fifa's dark heart

How did a group of corrupt officials turn football’s governing body into what was, in essence, a criminal enterprise? Chris Green and David Connett reveal all
Mediterranean migrant crisis: 'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves,' says Tripoli PM

Exclusive interview with Tripoli PM Khalifa al-Ghweil

'If Europe thinks bombing boats will stop smuggling, it will not. We will defend ourselves'
Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles: How the author foretold the Californian water crisis

Raymond Chandler's Los Angeles

How the author foretold the Californian water crisis
Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison as authorities crackdown on dissent in the arts

Art attack

Chinese artist who posted funny image of President Xi Jinping facing five years in prison
Marc Jacobs is putting Cher in the limelight as the face of his latest campaign

Cher is the new face of Marc Jacobs

Alexander Fury explains why designers are turning to august stars to front their lines
Parents of six-year-old who beat leukaemia plan to climb Ben Nevis for cancer charity

'I'm climbing Ben Nevis for my daughter'

Karen Attwood's young daughter Yasmin beat cancer. Now her family is about to take on a new challenge - scaling Ben Nevis to help other children
10 best wedding gift ideas

It's that time of year again... 10 best wedding gift ideas

Forget that fancy toaster, we've gone off-list to find memorable gifts that will last a lifetime
Paul Scholes column: With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards

Paul Scholes column

With the Premier League over for another year, here are my end of season awards
Heysel disaster 30th anniversary: Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget fateful day in Belgium

Liverpool have seen too much tragedy to forget Heysel

Thirty years ago, 39 fans waiting to watch a European Cup final died as a result of a fatal cocktail of circumstances. Ian Herbert looks at how a club that later became synonymous with Hillsborough has dealt with this tragedy
Amir Khan vs Chris Algieri: Khan’s audition for Floyd Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation, says Frank Warren

Khan’s audition for Mayweather may turn into a no-win situation

The Bolton fighter could be damned if he dazzles and damned if he doesn’t against Algieri, the man last seen being decked six times by Pacquiao, says Frank Warren
Blundering Tony Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

Blundering Blair quits as Middle East peace envoy – only Israel will miss him

For Arabs – and for Britons who lost their loved ones in his shambolic war in Iraq – his appointment was an insult, says Robert Fisk
Fifa corruption arrests: All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue

Fifa corruption arrests

All hail the Feds for riding to football's rescue, says Ian Herbert
Isis in Syria: The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of President Assad and militant fighters

The Kurdish enclave still resisting the tyranny of Assad and Isis

In Syrian Kurdish cantons along the Turkish border, the progressive aims of the 2011 uprising are being enacted despite the war. Patrick Cockburn returns to Amuda
How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields: Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape the US

How I survived Cambodia's Killing Fields

Acclaimed surgeon SreyRam Kuy celebrates her mother's determination to escape to the US
Stephen Mangan interview: From posh buffoon to pregnant dad, the actor has quite a range

How Stephen Mangan got his range

Posh buffoon, hapless writer, pregnant dad - Mangan is certainly a versatile actor