Half-Time Report: Peter Crouch scores on Stoke City return

Half-Time Report: Crouch scores on Stoke return
© AP Photos
Peter Crouch scores on his return to the Stoke City lineup to give them a half-time lead over his former club Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road.

Peter Crouch scored on his return to the Stoke City lineup as the Potters established a half-time lead over his former club Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road.

Crouch had not started a game since March 30 and rewarded Tony Pulis for his recall to the starting XI by netting just before the interval against the club that tried to sign him in January.

QPR's best first-half attempts came through set-piece scenarios, with Adel Taarabt and Jose Bosingwa both going close.

Recalled playmaker Taarabt dipped a 30-yard free kick just over the crossbar before Bosingwa forced Asmir Begovic into a smart save from his bending strike.

Begovic's opposite number Robert Green was nearly at fault for a Stoke opener when he spilt a Jonathan Walters shot, only to pounce on the rebound before Crouch, who tested the Hoops stopper with a 25-yard volley, could react to the loose ball.

Green could do nothing to prevent Crouch on 44 minutes, though, as the former England international striker converted from close range following a Cameron Jerome break.

Christopher Samba nearly netted an immediate equaliser when he guided a side-footed volley just wide of the away goal.

QPR's Adel Taarabt celebrates his second goal against Fulham on December 15, 2012
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