Queens Park Rangers 0 Stoke 2 match report: Stoke play it safe as Harry Redknapp gives in

 

QPR beat Stoke in the penultimate game of last season, a result that ultimately kept the Hoops in the Premier League, but there was no repeat or reprieve yesterday. Relegation for Harry Redknapp’s team will be confirmed tomorrow evening in the unlikely event that Aston Villa beat Manchester United at Old Trafford, but even assuming that Villa fail, the inevitable will only be postponed.

Redknapp had said last week that the dream of avoiding the drop would still be alive if his QPR won, but instead a nightmare season continued. They have won only four League games anywhere, and failing at home to a team who arrived at Loftus Road on a run of six successive away defeats only emphasised the shortcomings of an expensively-assembled team that Redknapp reinforced at a cost of over £20 million in January.

The Rangers manager hinted that he would like to stay at the club, if he is allowed to see out the rest of his three-year contract following the second top-flight relegation of his career, but admitted that they will be in the Championship next season. “It’s almost impossible now for sure,” he said. “It’s a big disappointment. I can’t look back and say I haven’t tried hard. I have given everything I had and it has just not been good enough. ”

Redknapp pinpointed the consistent failure to get his first-choice strikeforce of Bobby Zamora and Loïc Rémy on the field together as an explanation for his side’s failure. “I thought they would be an ideal partnership,” he said. “Remy gets injured, then Bobby comes back half-fit and needs a hip operation, then Bobby gets sent off against Wigan, so I don’t get the two of them to play together.”

Much of the damage was done yesterday by Peter Crouch, a QPR fan as a boy, who made his league debut for the club in 2000 and had been signed by Redknapp for Portsmouth and Tottenham Hotspur as well as playing for him at Southampton. “He’s a player I’ve signed many times and I tried to sign him here,” Redknapp said. “Crouchy would have been good with Rémy.”

Crouch scored only the second goal of his last 27 appearances after 42 minutes, and it was a foul on the former England forward that led to the penalty from which Jonathan Walters sealed the win.

Stoke live to fight another day after finally arresting a nosedive that had taken them from eighth place in December to the brink of the relegation zone before yesterday’s game. This was only their second win in 15 games, and their first points away from the Britannia Stadium since a goalless draw at Tottenham before Christmas.

“We don’t rest on that,” David Kemp, the Stoke assistant manager, said. “We have four more games and we’ll concentrate on performances. It was important to win today. It wasn’t a must-win, but it gives you a boost.”

The first half was more open than might have been expected of a meeting of two desperate teams. Adel Taarabt curled a 30-yard free kick just wide and Stoke’s Steven N’Zonzi failed to spot three unmarked teammates when he broke away after Andros Townsend had stumbled.

Remy was frustrated twice by Asmir Begovioc and once by the defensive wall, while Begovic’s best save came when he threw himself to his right to palm out Jose Bosingwa’s 25-yard free kick.

Walters’ snap shot nearly surprised Rob Green, who had to be at his best to tip over Crouch’s dipping volley from distance, but he was exposed after 42 minutes when Marc Wilson won the ball from Townsend and sent Cameron Jerome away down the left. Christopher Samba tried to cover but could not block Jerome’s low cross and Crouch arrived unmarked to stroke the ball under Green.

Townsend and Taarabt limped off injured either side of half time, which Redknapp thought removed QPR’s threat, although Rémy forced another good save from Begovic then accidentally blocked Samba’s goalbound volley before Stoke scored again after 77 minutes. Whelan’s free kick from the right was headed against the post by Robert Huth and as Crouch went for the rebound he was pulled back by Clint Hill, Walters converting the penalty.

QPR (4-2-3-1): Green; Bosingwa, Samba, Hill, Ben Haim; Derry, Mbia; Townsend (Mackie, h-t), Taarabt (Bothroyd, 55), Hoilett; Rémy.

Stoke (4-4-2):Begovic; Shotton, Shawcross, Huth, Wilson (Wilkinson, 62); Adam (Whitehead, 70), Nzonzi, Whelan, Walters; Crouch (Cameron, 90), Jerome.

Referee: Chris Foy.

Man of the match: Huth (Stoke)

Match rating: 7/10

Sport
England's women celebrate after their 3rd place play-off win against Germany
Women's World CupFara Williams converts penalty to secure victory and bronze medals
Arts and Entertainment
Ricardo by Edward Sutcliffe, 2014
artPortraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb go on display
News
newsHillary Clinton comments on viral Humans of New York photo of gay teenager
Arts and Entertainment
The gang rape scene in the Royal Opera’s production of Gioachino Rossini’s Guillaume Tell has caused huge controversy
music
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
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 Greek referendum exposes a gaping hole at the heart of the European Union – its distinct lack of any genuine popular legitimacy

Gaping hole at the heart of the European Union

Treatment of Greece has shown up a lack of genuine legitimacy
Number of young homeless in Britain 'more than three times the official figures'

'Everything changed when I went to the hostel'

Number of young homeless people in Britain is 'more than three times the official figures'
Compton Cricket Club

Compton Cricket Club

Portraits of LA cricketers from notorious suburb to be displayed in London
London now the global money-laundering centre for the drug trade, says crime expert

Wlecome to London, drug money-laundering centre for the world

'Mexico is its heart and London is its head'
The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court that helps a winner keep on winning

The Buddhist temple minutes from Centre Court

It helps a winner keep on winning
Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

Is this the future of flying?

Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

Isis are barbarians

but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

Call of the wild

How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

The science of swearing

What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

Africa on the menu

Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'