first_img When the Potters went on a 10-game unbeaten run in November and December they appeared to have few worries about securing a sixth consecutive Premier League season but their form since has been dreadful. Stoke have picked up only five points in 2013 and just one in their last seven games, with their latest setback coming in Sunday’s 2-0 defeat by Manchester United. And Midfielder Adam said: “It’s hard to take but the season starts now.” Tony Pulis’ side made a poor start by conceding a goal in the fourth minute, Michael Carrick prodding in after the hosts had failed to clear a corner, and Robin van Persie made sure of the points with a 66th-minute penalty. It has now become imperative they take something from Saturday’s trip to Loftus Road, with matches against fellow strugglers Norwich and Sunderland following straight after. Adam added: “When you lose a goal after three minutes against the champions elect, it’s going to be difficult. It’s going to be a difficult game as it is but to lose a goal so early was a blow. “We huffed and puffed to try to get back into the game but we never really created much. They’ve got top players and that’s what I was trying to say during the game. I think we rushed the game a little bit too much. “With the wind behind us in the second half we had a couple of chances but probably not enough to warrant getting anything out of the game. That’s the way it goes. “It’s a sore one to take but there’s five games to go and we need a couple of victories. We need to go to QPR next week and win. “They’re in a bad position so it’s probably going to be an edgy match but they’re at home and if we can stop them in the first 15 or 20 minutes getting the crowd up then we can go there and get a victory.” Press Associationcenter_img Charlie Adam has labelled Stoke’s clash with QPR next weekend a must-win game as they attempt to halt the slide that has made relegation a real possibility.last_img read more


first_imgTAUNTON, England (CMC) – West Indies Women’s misery at the ICC Women’s World Cup continued unabated when they tumbled to a seven-wicket defeat to India Women in their second match here yesterday.Once again, the Caribbean side struggled with both bat and ball to slump to second loss in four days and extend their losing streak on tour to seven straight including warm-up matches, leaving their campaign at the crossroads.Sent in at County Ground, the Windies rallied to 183 for eight off their 50 overs with Hayley Matthews top-scoring with 43, Afy Fletcher hitting an invaluable unbeaten 36 and Shanel Daley, 33.At one stage, they were slumping at 121 for seven in the 40th before Fletcher at number nine provided late resistance with bold striking.India’s slow bowlers turned the screws on West Indies with off-spinners Deepti Sharma (2-27) and Harmanpreet Kaur (2-42), along with leg-spinner Poonam Yadav (2-19) the main wicket-takers.In reply, India stormed to their target courtesy of a superb unbeaten hundred from left-handed opener Smriti Mandhana who ended on 106 not out, while captain Mitahli Raj chipped in with 46.The Windies struck with the fifth ball of the innings when fast bowler Shamilia Connell had Punam Raut caught at the wicket of a top edge without a run on the board.And when off-spinner Stafanie Taylor bowled Sharma for six at 33 for two in the eighth, the game became wide open as a contest.But 20-year-old Mandhana carved out her second one-day hundred, hitting 13 fours and two sixes in a 108-ball knock, as she put on a match-winning 103 for the third wicket with Raj whose innings came from 88 deliveries and included three fours.When Raj mis-hit a full toss from off-spinner Matthews to Fletcher at mid-off in the 34th over, Mandhana combined with Mona Meshram (18 not out) in an unbroken 45-run, fourth-wicket stand which saw India to their second straight win.They lie second on four points in the eight-team standings behind defending champions Australia Women who are also on four points, with West Indies languishing sixth without a point – along with Sri Lanka Women and Pakistan Women.Hoping to turn the page on a tame batting effort in their opener against Australia last Monday, the Windies managed only more of the same.Rookie Felicia Walters scratched around 27 balls for her nine before nicking a swish at a wide delivery from left-arm spinner Ekta Bisht and going caught behind at 29 for one in the seventh over.Matthews, who looked in fine touch, then dominated a 40-run second-wicket stand with captain Taylor who made 16, as West Indies eased to 69 without further loss.The right-handed Matthews struck seven delightful boundaries on both sides of the wicket in an attractive 57-ball innings before perishing in the 19th over to a tame return catch off Sharma.With her gone, West Indies lost their way as five wickets crashed for just 22 runs. Taylor and Deandra Dottin (7), both appearing in their landmark 100th ODI, never looked the part and each soaked up a plethora of deliveries without hitting a single boundary.Taylor faced 42 balls before going run-out by Mandhana’s direct hit at the non-striker’s end in the 21st at 70 for three and Dottin laboured for 48 deliveries before picking out long-on with Yadav in the 34th over, with her first shot in anger at 91 for five.In-between, Merissa Aguilleira missed a charge at Yadav and was smartly stumped for six at 80 for four in the 28th over.When Kaur removed both Kyshona Knight (5) and Chedean Nation (12), the Windies were in strife at 121 for seven but Daley and then Fletcher arrived to rescue the innings.The left-handed Daley struck five fours off 37 balls while the brave Fletcher faced just 23 deliveries and cracked five fours – three of which came in the final over off Kaur which leaked 18 runs.West Indies have little time to turn their form around as they take on South Africa in Leicester on Sunday.last_img read more


first_imgFulham 6 QPR 0Andrew Johnson scored a hat-trick as Fulham humiliated QPR in a totally one-sided derby.It emphatically ended the Whites’ long wait for a first league win under Martin Jol and lifted them out of the bottom three, leaving Rangers licking their wounds after a harrowing first defeat since their pre-deadline spending spree.AdChoices广告Danny Murphy, Clint Dempsey and Bobby Zamora also scored for the home side, who were 3-0 up at half-time.Johnson got the opener after only two minutes, pouncing on the loose ball after keeper Paddy Kenny parried Moussa Dembele’s effort.Murphy netted a 20th-minute penalty after Kenny brought down Johnson, who tucked away the third from Zamora’s low cross.And Johnson completed his treble – and the first Premier League hat-trick by a Fulham player – courtesy of Murphy’s quickly taken free-kick.Johnson turned provider for the fifth, storming down the left and crossing for Dempsey to score.Dempsey then teed up Zamora, who cut in from the left and rifled into the far corner of the net.Jol opted for an ultra-attacking formation, seemingly believing QPR to be vulnerable at the back – and this annihilation proved how right he was.For the first time this season, Johnson, Dembele and Zamora were all included in the starting line-up – a sign of Jol’s determination to get that overdue league win.And it paid an instant dividend as they made the perfect start to the first match between these clubs for over 10 years and their first ever meeting in the top flight.Zamora netted Fulham’s sixthJohnson, who scored twice in the midweek Europa League victory against Odense, pounced after Kenny was unable to hold Dembele’s shot, and Fulham almost doubled their lead when Dempsey’s effort was cleared off the line by Fitz Hall.Rangers simply could not handle Fulham’s front line – and in particular Johnson, who burst into the penalty area and won the spot-kick which Murphy fired high into the net to put Fulham two up.Worse followed for Rangers seven minutes before the break. Dempsey did well on the left and after the American’s shot was blocked, Zamora reacted quickly and laid the ball across for Johnson to add the third.QPR boss Neil Warnock made a double substitution at half-time, replacing Shaun Derry and Adel Taarabt with DJ Campbell and Tommy Smith.Rangers, who have not scored against Fulham since May 1983, did at least make a better start to the second period and went close to getting a goal back when Shaun Wright-Phillips fired narrowly wide.And there was one definite plus for them with the second-half introduction of Jamie Mackie, marking his return to first-team action nine months after suffering a broken leg.But they defended abysmally and were caught napping yet again on the hour mark, when Murphy’s quick thinking at a free-kick put Johnson through on a woefully exposed Kenny and the striker made no mistake.The fifth arrived when Dempsey finished coolly after Johnson’s cross had been flicked on by Zamora, who got on the scoresheet himself to make it six.A striker scoring a hat-trick, the home team three up at half-time and demolishing their west London neighbours 6-0; for Gary Bannister read Johnson, and for QPR’s 1986 slaying of Chelsea read this battering of Rangers by Fulham.This too is a result both sets of fans will remember for a long time to come.last_img read more