Date: Monday, Sept 12th, 2011.
Referee: Phil Dowd.
I don’t think it would be unfair to say that Newcastle United were very, very lucky to pick up a point here, in a match which saw Quuen’s Park Ramgers utterly dominant in the first half, and still on top in the second half too.
Before kick off, the news was that ex Toon Twittergate refugee, Joey Barton, would be the new QPR captain. In a team which was bristling with new arrivals, the West London club were remarkably fluent considering the lack of time their new players have had to ‘gel’ with the rest of the squad before being thrown into the thick of it. This was especially the case with ex Manchester City benchwarmer, Shaun Wright Phillips, who gave a ‘Man of the Match’ performance. He scared the Magpies with some great crosses from the flank, along with a few chances on goal for himself too. QPR’s much vaunted player of the season from their promtion year, Adel Taraabt, was also a signifcant threat from the other flank too, however thankfully for us, Jay Bothroyd’s finishing was not quite on the same level. If a first class finisher was in his place, we might have been done for!
However, this is a Newcastle United ‘blog after all, so I should look at some aspects of Newcastle’s performance. Newcastle’s first shot on goal came very early on, though somewhat predictably from a Ryan Taylor free kick, an audacious effort from almost half way down the pitch which went well wide.
A much better chance was fashioned by Cabaye and Best around 12 minutes into the game. The Frenchman laid on a great pass to the feet of Best, who controlled the ball well to make a great turn with the ball, slightly dodging the traffic to make space for himself and get in a very respectable on target shot. This forced Paddy Kenny to tip the ball around the post in what was a very good save, possibly the best of the match. It was back to business as usual with the resulting corner though, which was about as bad as Best’s effort was good. Chances were few and far between for the Magpies overall and the action was nearly all at the other end as the Hoops fashioned chance after chance.
Fortunely for us though, although both the afurementioned Wright Phillips and Taarabt were excellent at feeding striker, Jay Bothroyd, with some quality passes, he was quite so adept at finishing them off. It was another saving grace for us that the defence held firm with some decent performances in what was a lacklustre display overall. After a beautiful Wright Phoillps pass only resultind in Bothroyd spooning his volley over the net, Taarabt took his turn to feed Bothroyd with another good low pass, with the hapless Bothroyd too late this time to make proper contact as he slid over the ball.
Next, a powerful Bothroyd header was cleared off the line by Danny Simpson. Wright Phillips then had a crack himself, chipping over Krul to see his effort once again cleared off the line, this time by Steven Taylor as the Magpies looked somewhat shellhocked. Half time didn’t come too soon.
Half time: QPR 0-0 Newcastle United.
Not for the first time this season, most notably against Scunthorpe, Newcastle started the seconf half much better than they did the first, however QPR once again domnated overall eventually, though perhaps not in such a pronouced fashion as they did the first. A Leon Best flick almost provided Spiderman with a simple tap in goal but it was not to be.
It was at this stage of the game when Tiote picked up his almost obligatory yellow card, by clattering into Joey Barton of all people, which seemed to amuse the Geordie section of the crowd somewhat. It wasn’t the best game for Tiote overall, and it certainly wasn’t for Shola Ameobi either, and he was replaced by Demba Ba after aorund 65 minutes.
QPR’s passing wasn’t quite what it was in the opening half, but the chances were still coming for them. Wright Phillips was once again in the centre of the action, using pace to lose his marker, catch out Krul off his line and put in yet another cross for Bothroyd. Luckily for Newcastle, Steven Taylor was on hand as Geordie royalty in the shape of ‘Ant and Dec’ looked on from the posh seats. There were more chances for QPR, more than I care to mention, so I won’t.
In the last ten minutes of normal time, Newcastle eventually had soome goalmouth action, but this was due to two shanked clearences from QPR, with one finding Obertan’s head, but I’m clutching at straws really. QPR did fade somewhat as the game drew to a close. possibly with the feeling that it just wasn;t their day after failing to capitalise on so many chances.
Overall, despite the Magpies’ great start to the season, it wasn’t the first time our midfield four were swamped by the opposition. But, going back to the beginning of this report, our defence held firm and we were lucky that QPR’s finishing wasn’t of quite the same standard as their build up play.
Full time: QPR 0-0 Newcastle United.
Howay the lads!
QPR: Patrick Kenny (G), Luke Young, Anton Ferdinand, Daniel Gabbidon, Armand Traore, Joey Barton, Shaun Terry, Alejandro Faurlin, Shaun Wright Phillips, Jay Bothroyd, Adel Taarabt.
Subs: Akos Buuzsaky, DJ Campbell, Jason Puncheon, Fitz Hall, Matthew Connolly, Tommy Smith, Brian Murphy.
Newcastle United (4-4-2): Tim Krul (G), Danny Simpson, Steven Taylor, Fabricio Coloccini (C), Ryan Taylor, Gabriel Obertan, Yohan Cabaye, Cheik Tiote, Jonas Gutierrez, Leon Best, Shola Ameobi.
Subs: Rob Elliot, Davide Santon, Danny Guthrie, Sylvain Marveaux, Sammy Ameobi, Peter Lovenkrands, Demba Ba.