QPR 0 Newcastle Utd 0
A new-look QPR side (captained by Joey Barton) failed to convert a host of chances as they put Newcastle under the cosh for large periods of this match. QPR 0 NEWCASTLE UTD 0 QPR: Kenny,Young, Ferdinand, Gabbidon, Traore (Connolly 51), Barton, Derry, Faurlin, Wright-Phillips (Puncheon 88), Bothroyd (Campbell 80), Taarabt.Subs Not Used: Murphy, Hall, Buzsaky, Smith. NEWCASTLE: Krul, Simpson, Steven Taylor, Coloccini, Ryan Taylor, Obertan (Sammy Ameobi 88), Cabaye, Tiote, Gutierrez, Best (Marveaux 82), Shola Ameobi (Ba 64).Subs Not Used: Elliot, Santon, Guthrie, Lovenkrands. Att: 16,211 I think after 15 minutes the majority of the travelling Toon fans would have settled for a goalless draw because there were times when we lived on the edge. Ryan Taylor had arguably his toughest 90 minutes in a Toon shirt as Shaun Wright-Phillips (pictured right) took him to the cleaners! The former Wigan defender had no answers to the winger's pace and trickery, and the former Man City star danced past him as though he wasn't there. The golden rule for any full-back is "don't let the winger cross the ball" ... and not once did Taylor get in a block. QPR dominated the first half and would have been 2-0 up had it not been for goal-line clearances from Steven Taylor and Danny Simpson, who denied Wright-Phillips and Jay Bothroyd respectively. United's midfield were never in the hunt. Jonas Gutierrez and Gabriel Obertan had flashes, but never once got behind the QPR defenders to cause any concern. Yohan Cabaye was invisible for the entire game, leaving Cheik Tiote the only muscle in the centre of the park, and he was over-run by numbers. Upfront we had Shola looking lost (as usual), and Leon Best short of service. Wright-Phillips was the most impressive player on view but he failed to connect with a gilt-edged chance in the second half when free in the box and Neil Warnock's men were only able to take a point despite their dominance. It was not the explosive encounter we expected. Joey Barton sparkled and Newcastle didn't single him out for any special treatment, which I'm sure a more experienced manager would have done. We all know Barton's short fuse, and Sir Alex, Dalglish and Wenger know it doesn't take much to light it ... but Pardew prefered to let him have the run of his little pen in the centre of midfield. Cabaye wasn't going to get into any confrontation with his former team-mate, and we looked extremely powder-puff in the middle of the park. Wright-Phillips, who proved to be a constant thorn in the visitors' side, while Armand Traore looked lively before coming off with an injury in the first half. Newcastle barely showed any attacking intent and still sorely lacked a goalscoring threat like Andy Carroll, but that unbeaten run remains in tact four matches into the season. Traore floated in a cross that Wright-Phillips could only guide in to Tim Krul's hands. Leon Best drew a good diving save from Paddy Kenny in the visitors' only opportunity of the opening period before the Hoops went on to stamp their authority on the game. Wright-Phillips found Bothroyd with a cross from the right wing, but the former Cardiff striker spooned a volley over from six yards. Growing in confidence with every minute, Wright-Phillips skipped past his marker and fired a low shot into Krul's side-netting as the keeper scrambled across his line. Another chance went by minutes later, with Wright-Phillips involved again. Adel Taarabt spun on the ball to lose his marker, was released the former Chelsea man and he whipped a low ball across the box but Bothroyd slid in just too late to make contact. Alejandro Faurlin's deflected shot flew just over after some good work down the right by Wright-Phillips. The Magpies were then forced to clear off the line twice within the space of 11 minutes. First, Bothroyd saw his powerful header cleared by the back-tracking Simpson and Wright-Phillips then squirmed free from Fabricio Coloccini's sliding tackle before chipping over Krul, but Steven Taylor came to Newcastle's rescue, with a last-ditch clearance . Newcastle began the second half much better, with Best providing a flick-on that just evaded a tap-in from Jonas Gutierrez at the back post. Traore then suddenly pulled up with what looked like a thigh problem and was replaced by Matthew Connolly. Wright-Phillips had a golden to chance to put the Rs ahead eight minutes after the break when he broke loose in the area but he completely missed a volley at the back post from Faurlin's cross. Gutierrez went down clutching his ankle after being caught by Shaun Derry's studs and needed treatment before returning to action. Cheik Tiote clattered into Barton to earn a booking, much to the amusement of the travelling support. Toon boss Alan Pardew decided to replace Ameobi with Demba Ba in the 64th minute as his side struggled to gain a foothold in the game. QPR were still not producing the kind of attacking football they displayed in the first half though and their passing was sloppy at times. Wright-Phillips then suddenly burst into life once more in the 70th minute, racing past his marker to cross for Bothroyd, but Steven Taylor dove in to clear with an important challenge. Derry then wasted a glorious chance to head the home side in front when he nodded well wide from 12 yards when free in the box. Gutierrez crashed a volley wide 15 minutes from time and the home crowd began to get restless at their side's fading performance. Warnock looked to remedy the situation by bringing on DJ Campbell for Bothroyd with just over 10 minutes left while Pardew brought on Sylvain Marveaux for Best. Wright-Phillips remained the hosts' biggest threat but could only smash a 25-yard shot just wide of Krul's goal as the clocked ticked towards 90 minutes. More substitutions came from both sides but neither could break the deadlock and the game petered out in to a draw.
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