Cook strike sinks Stoke
By Mark Buckingham
Last Updated: 01/01/70 1:00am
QPR ended their run of seven games without a win by edging out Stoke City 1-0.Queens Park Rangers ended their run of seven games without a win by edging a dreadful match against Stoke City at Loftus Road.
Lee Cook bagged the only goal of the game on 18 minutes, with Stoke rarely looking like ending their goal drought aside from a late header which was rightly disallowed for offside.
In an instantly forgettable first half, the only bright spot on a dismal landscape was Cook's goal after 18 minutes.
Jamie Cureton pounced on hesitancy in the Stoke defence to flick the ball to Paul Furlong who, in turn, laid off a pass to Cook.
The lively winger took a touch, steadied himself and unleashed a fizzing drive from just inside the penalty area which flew in at Steve Simonsen's near post.
Aside from the goal, neither keeper was worked in the opening 45 minutes with Georges Santos hitting a meek effort wide of the target.
The second period offered slightly more in the way of entertainment, with Cook at the hub of things as his stinging shot was fumbled by Simonsen.
Stoke failed to make the most of the game's first corner on 58 minutes while there was a sense of justice on the hour when Gareth Ainsworth flashed a shot across the face of goal for the hosts but he had been a mile offside when bursting clear of the visiting defence.
QPR substitute Matthew Rose produced a superb tackle to deny Chris Greenacre a scoring opportunity before Cook immediately galloped down the other end to thump a shot at Simonsen.
Furlong had a header saved by the Stoke keeper before the visitors wasted their best, and only, chance on 73 minutes when a long ball found its way through to Greenacre but his lob landed on the roof of the net.
With five minutes remaining, The Potters thought they had snared a lifeline when Carl Asaba teed up a chance for fellow substitute John Eustace but the midfielder was in an offside position when he headed beyond loan signing Simon Royce.
It was perhaps no surprise that a poor game finished 1-0 given that 11 of Stoke's previous 13 matches in The Championship had ended that way, while it was the fourth consecutive occasion that The R's had beaten their opponents by the only goal.