Charlie Adam's first goal for Stoke earned his side all three points against QPR to further increase the pressure on Mark Hughes.
Adam, 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.
The visitors swiftly went in search of a response and goalkeeper Asmir Begovic had to be alert to tip over a deflected shot from Adel Taarabt, who then twice dragged the ball across goal from useful positions.
But the goal proved enough to see off QPR, for whom Taarabt failed to convert a good opportunity in the first half.
Esteban Granero then brought an excellent save out of Begovic, but the visitors could not find the equaliser which was the very least they needed.
They are still without a win in the Premier League this term in a sequence that now extends to 11 matches, and have sunk back to the foot of the table.
The heat is truly on their manager Hughes, while his opposite number Tony Pulis will be relieved to see his side -- up to 12th -- register what was only their second win of the campaign.
The leveller would not come for the west London side, though, and they might have finished with a heavier defeat had Julio Cesar not denied substitute Michael Kightly in the closing stages.