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Charlie Adam's first goal for Stoke City earned his side all three points against Queens Park Rangers to extend the visitors' wait for a first win in the Barclays Premier League this season.
The Scotland midfielder, a summer signing from Liverpool, opened his Potters account in the 52nd minute at the Britannia Stadium, tucking the ball away after it had been nodded his way by Jon Walters from a free-kick.
It proved enough to see off QPR, for whom Adel Taarabt failed to convert a good opportunity in the first half. Esteban Granero brought an excellent save out of Stoke goalkeeper Asmir Begovic after Adam's goal, but the visitors could not find the equaliser which was the very least they needed.
They are still without a win in the Barclays Premier League this term in a sequence that now extends to 11 matches, and have sunk back to the foot of the table.
Both teams looked eager to make an early impression and after QPR full-back Jose Bosingwa had lashed high and wide and Djibril Cisse miscued an attempted volley from an Armand Traore cross, Adam's shot from outside the area was deflected wide at the other end.
The visitors were first to really settle into a rhythm and Stoke captain Ryan Shawcross made a couple of good interceptions, one with his legs to block a Junior Hoilett strike and another with his head to clear Granero's floated delivery aimed for Cisse.
A succession of attempts on goal followed, with QPR's Alejandro Faurlin and Stoke's Peter Crouch skewing off-target before the latter's knock-down was sent over the bar on the turn by Walters.
In the 26th minute Granero tried to dink the ball over the onrushing Begovic, but it only found the side-netting thanks to a combination of the goalkeeper and Matthew Etherington, who picked up an injury and received treatment before playing on.
Stoke enjoyed a period on top, with Walters nodding wide from a sweeping Geoff Cameron pass and Crouch then seeing his shot go just the wrong side of the other post having taken a nick off a QPR man.
It was the away side who passed up one of the best chances yet to open the scoring just before the interval, though, when Stoke gave away possession. QPR broke forward and Hoilett squared to Taarabt, who chipped over.
Looking to make amends, Taarabt drove a further effort towards goal moments later that flashed wide.
The QPR fans in the stadium might well have been looking forward to the second period with considerable optimism, but just seven minutes after the restart their team was behind. Robert Huth's free-kick from the left was flicked on by Walters, and, with QPR failing to react, the ball bounced past Crouch through to Adam, who slammed it home.
The visitors swiftly went in search of a response and Begovic had to be alert to tip over a deflected shot from Taarabt, who then twice dragged the ball across goal from useful positions. The Moroccan did better in the 70th minute to set up Granero, whose strike brought a great save out of Begovic.
The leveller would not come for the West London side, though, and they might have finished with a heavier defeat had Julio Cesar not done well to get down to deny substitute Michael Kightly in the closing stages.
|19 Nov 2012||v West Ham (A)|
|24 Nov 2012||v Fulham (H)|
|28 Nov 2012||v Newcastle (H)|
|01 Dec 2012||v West Brom (A)|
|08 Dec 2012||v Aston Villa (A)|
|15 Dec 2012||v Everton (H)|