Stoke City 3 – 1 QPR

Jonathan Walters became the first Stoke player to score a Premier League on his 200th appearance for the club.

It was a sluggish opening with not a lot of quality or incident. It was in the 21st minute when the game had it’s first attempt on target, which lead to the opening goal.

High pressure from the Potters forced ex-Stoke player Karl Henry to overrun the ball. A clever back heel from Stephen Ireland set-up Walters whose shot Robert Green got a hand on but couldn’t keep out.

Stoke’s lead was doubled following a swift counter attack that saw Stephen Ireland’s reverse ball fall into the path of the Irish international whose left-footed shot nestled into the net.

Hat trick: Jonathan Walters congratulated by Mark Bowen

Hat trick: Jonathan Walters congratulated by Mark Bowen

QPR were given a lifeline two minutes earlier after Niko Kranjcar unmarked at the back post swept home after Charlie Austin’s effort deflected into the Croatian’s path.

It was Kranjcar’s goal at Loftus Road that shared the points earlier in the season, but this only turned out to be a consolation despite a spirited second half performance from the R’s.

QPR only troubled from set pieces in the second half. A low free kick found Eduardo Vargas whose ambitious scissor kick was palmed away by Asmir Begovic.

Joey Barton then won a free kick 25 yards from goal. The QPR captain took it and saw Begovic finger tip the ball onto the crossbar.

The Bosnian goalkeeper was again forced into a save at full stretch following a Leroy Fer free kick which was from further out than Barton’s effort.

But in stoppage time Walters relieved the pressure and sealed his hat-trick. QPR failed to deal with a ball into their box and Walters raced to powerfully head past Green.

After the match Mark Hughes told the BBC: “We allowed them back in because at 2-0 up we were comfortable. With the wind and the conditions they had a real go in the second half.

“Jon Walters was the star man and is a key player for us. He gives everything in every game and is a credit to his profession. It was his 200th game today and to get a hat-trick it is special for him.”

Yesterday Stoke City celebrated the life of Sir Stanley Matthews who would have been celebrating his 100th birthday today. Happy Birthday to the Wizard of Dribble.

Sir Stanley Matthews: Would have been 100 today

Sir Stanley Matthews: Would have been 100 today

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