Jonathan Walters hat-trick sinks travel sick QPR
Harry Kane on the scoresheet again as Spurs win at West Brom while Everton see off Crystal Palace
Jonathan Walters bagged a hat-trick as Stoke City saw off QPR 3-1 at the Britannia Stadium. (Photo by Ben Hoskins/Getty Images)
Stoke City 3 QPR 1
QPR remain without an away point this season and second-bottom of the Barclays Premier League after Jonathan Walters’ hat-trick condemned them to a 3-1 defeat at Stoke. Sloppy play from Rangers was punished twice in the first half as Stephen Ireland teed up strikes for Walters in the 21st and 34th minutes.
Harry Redknapp’s side quickly replied through Niko Kranjcar’s close-range finish, and, as they searched for an equaliser after the break, skipper Joey Barton struck the crossbar with one free-kick before Leroy Fer had another well saved by Asmir Begovic.
But further poor defending from QPR in stoppage time then allowed Walters to complete his treble with a header, leaving the Londoners’ record on the road in the league this term showing 11 losses from 11 games.
While they remain a point adrift of safety in 19th, Mark Hughes — Redknapp’s predecessor, who QPR sacked in late 2012 — has seen his team rise to ninth in the table following a fourth win in six league matches.
QPR fans will be watching with interest to see if Redknapp makes any late moves in the transfer window before Monday’s deadline, with the manager having said he has been eyeing a couple of players on loan.
Hughes, meanwhile, has appeared to play down the prospect of him trying to bring in new personnel, despite the loss this week of the influential Bojan Krkic to a season-ending knee injury.
West Bromwich Albion 0 Tottenham Hotspur 3
Tottenham’s Harry Kane further enhanced his growing reputation with two goals in a convincing-looking 3-0 win over West Brom in the Barclays Premier League.
The 21-year-old, whose form reportedly has Spurs ready to rip up a contract signed just five months ago to offer an improved one, took his season’s tally to 20 after Christian Eriksen opened the scoring at The Hawthorns.
Eriksen struck after just six minutes with a trademark free-kick, maintaining his fine recent form for the Capital One Cup finalists. Kane doubled the lead after 15 minutes and grabbed the third from the penalty spot after 66, condemning Tony Pulis to his first defeat at West Brom boss.
Between the second and thirds goals, however, West Brom had been the better side and Pulis will have seen plenty to encourage him, despite a low-key debut from new signing Callum McManaman.
Crystal Palace 0 Everton 1
Alan Pardew’s honeymoon period as Crystal Palace manager was ended as an early Romelu Lukaku goal earned Everton a much-needed 1-0 victory at Selhurst Park.
Having won his first four games at the helm, returning hero Pardew was unable to inspire yet another comeback as Lukaku struck inside two minutes to claim all three points and hand Roberto Martinez and Everton their first Premier League victory since December 15.
Palace had won from losing positions in both of Pardew’s opening league fixtures in charge but there was to be no rescue act here, despite a first-half rally following Lukaku’s early effort.
Everton did not start like a team on a six-game winless streak but there were moments to suggest their season has not turned the corner just yet, despite victory in south London moving the Toffees seven points clear of the relegation zone.
Palace dominated for large periods of the game and it was only a lack of clinical finishing that saw them leave empty-handed.
Jermain Defoe’s first goal for Sunderland helped to secure just a second home win of the Barclays Premier League season for a delighted Gus Poyet.
The January signing struck from close range 34 minutes into the game to leave visitors Burnley, who were already trailing to Connor Wickham’s 20th-minute header, with a mountain to climb, and it proved to be one they were incapable of scaling as the Black Cats cruised to a 2-0 victory.
There were boos from the home fans at the Stadium of Light a week ago after Poyet’s men limped to a 0-0 FA Cup fourth round draw with Sky Bet Championship Fulham which left their Uruguayan head coach pleading for patience.
However, the bulk of the 44,022 who turned up on Saturday afternoon left more than satisfied with a dominant performance and a win — their only other three-point haul on home soil in 12 attempts came against Stoke on October 4 — which eased the club’s fears of being dragged into another survival battle.
That, however, remains a very real possibility for the Clarets, who have now tasted victory only once in seven league outings and never really looked like addressing that run on Wearside a day after moving to deny that star striker Danny Ings could move to Liverpool and be loaned back to them ahead of Monday’s transfer deadline.