By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Managing Editor
At St. James' Park
Newcastle United 1 (Sissoko 78)
Queens Park Rangers 0
Moussa Sissoko's late strike earned Newcastle United a sixth successive victory with a 1-0 home win over Queens Park Rangers in the Barclays Premier League.
The Magpies' stand-in skipper put the finishing touch on a superb team move with 12 minutes remaining, and it was no less than they deserved for a largely-dominant performance at St. James' Park.
In fact, were it not for an outstanding defensive display by the R's, the scoreline could have been more emphatic.
And with it looking like it would end up a frustrating afternoon on Tyneside, Sissoko had the last laugh, controlling Sammy Ameobi's pass inside the area and placing a shot into the corner of the net at the Gallowgate End.
The result made it six wins from as many games in all competitions for Alan Pardew's side, and they also recorded a fourth successive shut-out.
Jack Colback's sheer persistence almost forced the breakthrough with just five minutes on the clock.
The Killingworth-born midfielder refused to give up as he chased down passes by Sandro and then Steven Caulker, blocking goalkeeper Rob Green's clearance from the latter and seeing the ball fly narrowly wide of the upright.
United were starting to turn the screw and Remy Cabella cut in from the left to send a low warning shot straight at Green, albeit through a cluster of bodies.
But Rangers offered a glimpse of their own threat on 13 minutes, when leading scorer Charlie Austin robbed Paul Dummett and raced towards the area, firing an angled drive across the face of goal and inches off target.
Newcastle were soon back on the front foot, however, and when Cabella picked out Taylor on the edge of the area direct from a corner, the midfielder's lofted effort had to be tipped over by Green.
Taylor - making his first Barclays Premier League start in 32 months - forced Green into action again in the 22nd minute, this time curling a low strike towards the corner after a rapid counter-attack involving Ayoze Perez and Cabella.
The 30-year-old's afternoon was to end prematurely, however, as he hobbled off the pitch just past the half-hour mark.
And that blow seemed to knock United off their stride as they struggled to regain their previous rhythm, although with half-time approaching full-back Daryl Janmaat lashed a 20-yard volley wide after a promising build-up from substitute Yoan Gouffran and Remy Cabella.
Newcastle came roaring out of the traps at the start of the second half and Perez had two great chances to edge the hosts in front. On both occasions, however, the young Spaniard took one touch too many and was crowded out by the Rangers rearguard.
On 63 minutes, Sammy Ameobi rose highest at the far post to meet Gouffran's right-wing delivery, but was unable to direct his effort on target, while at the other end, Bobby Zamora twice threatened with looping headers of his own.
Four-goal top scorer Papiss Cisse was introduced from the bench in place of Cabella, as the Magpies went in search of a winner, but it was fellow forward Perez who almost grabbed it in the 74th minute - firing a 12-yard first-time strike goalwards but seeing Green equal to it.
But four minutes later captain Sissoko took matters into his own hands and secured United's sixth consecutive victory, finally breaking Green's resistance.
The French powerhouse was constantly at the heart of a wonderful, flowing move which saw the ball worked out wide to the left, then back inside. And when Sammy Ameobi opted to cleverly dink a pass into Sissoko's feet rather than shoot, the French international had the composure to take a touch and find the far corner.
Rangers introduced Junior Hoilett for the closing stages but were unable to find a way through the home back-line, who recorded all three points and, impressively, a fourth straight clean sheet.
Newcastle United (4-3-3): Tim Krul; Daryl Janmaat, Mike Williamson, Paul Dummett, Massadio Haidara; Moussa Sissoko, Ryan Taylor (Yoan Gouffran 33), Jack Colback; Remy Cabella (Papiss Cisse 67), Ayoze Perez (Adam Armstrong 89), Sammy Ameobi
Queens Park Rangers (4-4-2): Robert Green; Nedum Onuoha, Richard Dunne, Steven Caulker, Yun Suk-Young; Joey Barton (c), Karl Henry (Junior Hoilett 82), Sandro (Niko Kranjcar 60), Leroy Fer; Charlie Austin, Bobby Zamora
Subs not used: Alex McCarthy, Armand Traore, Mauricio Isla, Jordon Mutch, Matty Phillips
Referee: Chris Foy (Lancashire)
Bookings: Newcastle - Sissoko (58), Armstrong (90); Queens Park Rangers - Onuoha (41), Dunne (73)