Missed penalty, missed opportunities and some Newcastle players were MIA!

Posted on October 1st, 2009 | 12 Comments |

Not always pretty viewing
Not always pretty viewing
Well, on a night when Chris Hughton made Nile Ranger a second half stranger, all the points almost went to Queens Park Rangers and their pacy danger but the game ended all square at 1-1. This was arguably the best side I have seen Newcastle up against so far this season and with pace throughout their team and Routledge always a menace, QPR could well have nicked the win. They were neat and tidy and industrious and with more of a clinical edge in the final third, they could be strong candidates for promotion.

So with that in mind, we had our work cut out but rather than counter it, we seemed to give them a helping hand on a night where several players were not at the races.

Hughton started with the same back four that finished the Ipswich game except Danny Simpson returned from injury to slot into right-back as replacement for the injured Coloccini. Guthrie returned on the right side of midfield in the absence of Ryan Taylor, and so we began the game with four central midfielders playing a compact and narrow formation with Nolan pushing in behind the front two.

QPR came out with the intent that other teams have had this season and took the game to us. And having put us some early under pressure, a long ball dropped ball invitingly into the corner beind Enrique. Jose Enrique is a fabulous talent but unfortunately bears Bramblesque tendencies in overplaying in areas that can cost us. In trying to keep the ball in play, he inadvertently dropped it back into the middle and at the feet of an oncoming midfielder. That led to a deflected shot from Ben Watson which totally wrong-footed Harper and QPR were 1-0 up.

They always looked like they could create more but never really threatened too much and gradually we took control for a spell of twenty minutes, in which we really should have equalised. However, Danny Guthrie had a night he will want to forget, and spurned our best chance when he hit a horrible penalty so poorly that the keeper looked embarrassed getting the congratulations from his team-mates.

Following that great chance for an equaliser, Guthrie then also chose the wrong option after doing well to get to the byline. Instead of cutting the ball back or drilling it across goal, he appeared to want to make amends for his penalty miss but succeeded only in driving the ball straight at the keeper from an impossible angle.

We had other chances in and around this decent spell and while we had the impetus, we also saw attempts on target from Carroll, Nolan and and a glancing header from young Ranger. They were all good chances but the frustration began to set in as we failed to put the ball in the net and it looked like being one of those nights.

Much of QPR’s dominance in possession was due to Nolan, Butt and Smith having off days as none of them got with the pace of the game, the latter’s timing in his tackling was dangerously close to last-ditch, and it was inevitable that he saw yellow in the second half. The midfield was too narrow and congested and as such going forward we struggled to find options and a rythm. And defensively they threatened in wide areas as the naturally more central quartet vied for the engine room spot and neglected duties on the wing.

Half-time came and went with the score still 1-0 but the visitors were almost two up and it would have been a long way back had their centre half’s header been two or three inches closer to the goal, with Harper nowhere near it just minutes into the second half. Hughton had swapped Butt for Gutierrez at the break and despite overplaying at times, for the first time in the game, between them, he and Enrique offered the first prolonged and genuine threat from a wide area.

Upfront Carroll forged valiantly but fruitlessly, while Ranger, showing the knack of getting away with things and winning free-kicks very much in the style of someone who used to wear that no.9 shirt not so long ago, looked a threat throughout the first half. Inexplicably, Hughton decided to replace him with Harewood instead of a midfielder or Carroll (in my opinion) on the hour but his decision was vindicated when Harewood stabbed home the equaliser.

We had chances to win the game, notably Enrique coming mighty close after good build up play but QPR were more than worthy of their point and have the ability to take points off some of the bigs boys judging by this performance. We on the other hand, are looking like we may struggle against pace this season and that we have to guard against complacency. One point is better than nowt but we need to win our home games.

The town started with –

Harper, Simpson, Enrique, Butt, Khizanishvili, Steven Taylor, Nolan, Smith, Carroll, Ranger, Guthrie.

Subs – Krul, Kadar, Geremi, Donaldson, Gutierrez, Harewood, Lovenkrands

QPR first eleven –

Cerny, Borrowdale, Stewart, Gorkss, Leigertwood, Routledge, Watson, Buzsaky, Rowlands, Vine, Simpson.

Subs – Ramage, Ephraim, Heaton, Agyemang, Pellicori, Taarabt, Faurlin

Att – 39,000 approx with just over 2,000 blue and white making the journey (another admirable turnout for a midweek game)..

NUFCBlog Author: bowburnmag bowburnmag has written 234 articles on this blog.

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12 Responses

  1. that error from enriques been coming for two games now he got away with murder against plymouth and i had hoped someone might have had a word with him but no and his luck ran out last night, collo seems to have been shown the way by just putting your foot through the ball so can someone please have a word with jose!!

  2. Thanks for the report BBM – I only got to follow it on the interweb. Sounds like QPR could be in the reckoning this season. I suppose we should take what we can: we had an off day and still got a point.

  3. Once again i see my team roll out of the dressing room, rubbing sleep from there eyes and yawning there heads off, for the wage your paid!? RUN! MOVE! TRY! Wake up lads before you get onto the pitch, mind we did salvage a point in the end, sad thing was, i could here their fans more than i could hear ours

  4. Can’t believe that your report didn’t mention a certain Mr. Butt. I’m not normally a ‘Butt-basher’ (oo er!) but he totally upset the balance of the midfield. He should only play as a direct replacement for Alan Smith and never in the same side. Smith and Nolan were forced to adapt to allow for Butt being in the side. Butt started the game apparently on the left of midfield but never actually played there. Enrique, who had a stinker, was constantly looking to the bench in an attempt to get CH or CC to tell Butt to offer support down the left both defensively and as an outlet when going forward. Enrique’s wayward ball, leading to their goal, came from having no easy option available because Butt was nowhere to be seen. I don’t blame Butt for this. He is not able to contribute in any other position other than central midfield spoiler. He should not have been selected when better options existed. Without Ryan Taylor we had no width and had to start with Jonas. Two big target men and no genuine wide men just doesn’t make sense. He may have lasted an hour or so and hopefully by that time we might have had the game won. Bring Butt on then to shore things up or to replace a certainly already booked Smith.

  5. Knocky – just updated the report before I read your comments. So as you’ll see, I agree.

    It’s also hard to blame Hughton because we have limited options and Lovenkrands doesn’t look quite there yet. Although he could have offered more width and the outlet you’re talking about. Even if he’s not 100% on it.

  6. Thanks for the report BBM. Couldn’t get up to the game but listened to it on the radio and to be fair didn’t sound like I missed much.
    Seems that we were lucky to get away with a draw when sveral of our players put in bad performances. Still it’s one point won and we remain top of the league. Never in a million years would we have predicted early in the summer that we would be in this position now. It makes a change for us to play so poorly and still come away with some points.

  7. BBM – amendments duly noted.

    Off topic – spoke to Collocini last night and he reckons he will be out for 3 weeks. Big miss and we’re down to the bare bones again defensively. Only Kadar on the bench last night who is a natural defender.

  8. Forgot to say in my report that I thought the penalty was a bit harsh. Magilton is apparently saying the same thing and can’t say I disagree.

    Couldn’t help but wonder if it had been Taylor at the other end blocking with his arm, he’d have gone down snipered, clutching his throat to get away with it. :)

  9. knocky – Colo is out of the Argentina squad by the sounds of it.

    Vicious rumours abound he’s washing those locks of his that night though.

  10. Interesting report, did`nt get to see the game.
    I`m sure we can ignore such recent comments in the media, that Newcastle are too big for this league, apparently that was disproved yesterday.
    A defeat by Blackpool followed by what appears to be a fortunate draw with QPR does not bode well.
    I`m afraid it`s going to be a long hard season and anyone believing we are an automatic promotion side better think again.
    My concern is that ownership is under the impression, due to early success, that this team can compete in the PL if promoted, and do nothing to strengthen and rebuild in the interim.
    Perhaps a few losses may in fact bring about the realization we are not a PL class team and only a good second division side.
    We have two windows to buy and sell, in order to improve the side, with certain contracts about to reach their end, we can unload some highly compensated players and hopefully bring in some prospects.
    To go into the PL unprepared is inviting instant relegation, survival is essential that first season, in order to earn the funds to continue rebuilding.
    But hey, think we are dealing with an apathetic owner, who just wants outta here, sad!