English Premiership

Walters hat-trick downs QPR

2015-01-31 19:40
Stoke City (Getty Images)

Cape Town - Jonathan Walters added to QPR's away-day woes as the Stoke forward's hat-trick clinched a 3-1 win over the Premier League strugglers on Saturday.

Harry Redknapp's side had lost a Premier League record 10 successive away games before their trip to the Britannia Stadium and they departed the freezing Potteries still pointless on their travels thanks to Walters' heroics.

The Republic of Ireland international struck twice in the first half and, although Niko Kranjcar got one back before the break, Walters sealed the points with his third goal in second half stoppage-time.

QPR remain second bottom of the table, while Stoke climbed to ninth place after their second successive league win.

Despite the loss this week of the influential Bojan Krkic to a season-ending knee injury, Stoke did not appear to be suffering as Stephen Ireland - the man who had come into the team for the Spaniard, making his first start since early December - twice set up goals for Walters.

In the 21st minute some ponderous play saw former Stoke midfielder Karl Henry let a Mauricio Isla pass run across him, and Ireland reacted sharply, nipping in with a tidy back-heel to tee up Walters, whose shot beat Robert Green.

There was then a sense of deja vu as Ireland and Walters again capitalised on QPR losing possession to double Stoke's lead in the 34th minute.

This time it was Eduardo Vargas giving it away in the Stoke half and once more Ireland intervened, launching a counter-attack that saw him eventually square to Walters to slot past Green.

Another away defeat looked firmly on the cards for the visitors, but within two minutes they had pulled a goal back as the Potters had a defensive lapse of their own.

Leroy Fer was able to prod the ball to Joey Barton, his cut-back found Charlie Austin and the striker's shot ricocheted off Phil Bardsley into the path of Kranjcar, who had an easy task to tap-in as Stoke appealed in vain for offside.

In a tight second half, Barton sent his free-kick against the woodwork and Stoke goalkeeper Asmir Begovic then smartly tipped Fer's set-piece behind for a corner.

But in stoppage-time Barton's attempted headed clearance only found Walters, who nodded in to take his tally for the season to 10 goals in all competitions.


 

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