Premier League: Stoke 2 QPR 3
Stoke City fell to their fourth straight defeat at the hands of Queens Park Rangers, thanks to a brace from Heidar Helguson.
The 3-2 loss follows the humiliating defeat to Bolton just before the international break and allowed the visitors to further their reputation on their return to the top-flight.
Jonathan Walters put Stoke ahead early on and the Potters looked to be in a positive mood, but goals from Helguson and Luke Young saw the away side lead 2-1 at the break.
QPR came back out looking even stronger and grabbed a third through Helguson’s second, before Stoke doubled their tally thanks to a close-range header from Ryan Shawcross.
Stoke began strongly, winning a handful of corners early and soon breaking the deadlock.
Peter Crouch stormed through the middle and found Walters who went through the QPR defence to shoot into the far corner past an outstretched Paddy Kenny.
It was the former Liverpool and Tottenham man that nearly got Stoke's second following a defensive nightmare between Kenny and his defender.
The forward snuck through on the angle, but was denied by the Irishman's floundering save and his centre-back's goal-line clearance.
QPR began to press and deserved a well set-up equaliser.
Alejandro Faurlin burst down the left flank to drift in a lofted ball towards the unmarked Helguson who headed without pressure past Thomas Sorenson.
A flurry of corners and set pieces from both sides threatened to upset the balance between the two outfits, but not one effort could be turned into a proper shot on target, with Stoke perhaps going the closest.
QPR once again though piled the pressure on the Potters and earned themselves another goal that would see them enter the break in the lead.
A lovely ball from Shaun Wright-Phillips combined with tenacious work from Jamie Mackie on the right-hand side allowed the latter to pop ball onto the penalty spot for an ambitious Young who did not disappoint with his half-volleyed effort that flew past Sorenson.
Matters got worse for the Potters 10 minutes into the second half.
A searching ball from the left drifted all the way to the back post where Helguson had managed to get ahead of marker Shawcross and slid in to put the ball past a bemused Sorenson.
However, Shawcross made up for that silly mistake earlier and popped up just two yards from the QPR goal-line to head in a lifeline for his team who had looked a bit brighter since the restart, despite that early third goal.
The game began to get heated thanks to a flurry of clumsy challenges and raised tempers as Stoke pushed desperately for their third and pressed QPR right until the end of the game, going close on a number of occasions.
However, it was the Potters' lack of shots on target that was their downfall and they needed to be a little more clinical in front of goal.