MATCH REPORTS

QPR 0 Newcastle 0

Danny Simpson QPR

By Anthony Marshall - Newcastle United Journalist

At Loftus Road

 

Queens Park Rangers 0

Newcastle United 0

 

A stubborn defensive performance maintained Newcastle's unbeaten start to the campaign as they ground out a goalless draw at Queens Park Rangers on Monday night.

The hosts dominated for large spells, with Shaun Wright-Phillips in particular catching the eye, but the Magpies held firm to record their third clean sheet in four Premier League games this term.

United had Danny Simpson and Steven Taylor to thank, with both players clearing first half efforts off the line, while only an early Leon Best strike threatened the Rangers goal.

Understandably, much of the pre-match focus centred around Joey Barton, who left the Magpies last month for Loftus Road and was making his QPR debut.

Rangers boss Neil Warnock handed the midfielder the captain's armband, but it was their former skipper Adel Taarabt who had the evening's first chance, with a low long-range effort on six minutes that Tim Krul was more than equal to.

The hosts had made a number of deadline day signings and two of those - Armand Traore and Wright-Phillips - combined three minutes later to carve out another opening.

Ex-Arsenal left-back Traore delivered a superb cross into the danger zone, but the diminutive Wright-Phillips could only head over under pressure.

But Newcastle struck back and only the fingertips of goalkeeper Paddy Kenny prevented the visitors from going in front.

Yohan Cabaye played an intelligent ball into the feet of Best on the edge of the area and the striker's delightful turn and shot looked destined for the far bottom corner of the net until Kenny's intervention.

As chances started to come at both ends, QPR should have been ahead in the 15th minute. A right-wing cross from Wright-Phillips found Jay Bothroyd completely unmarked six yard out, but the forward could only blaze a volley over the bar.

And then immediately Wright-Phillips tried to do it himself, but pulled his shot inches wide of the upright.

England international Wright-Phillips was proving to be tormentor in chief for the United rearguard and when he was fed wide on the right following an audacious piece of skill by Taarabt, Bothroyd was inches away from connecting with the subsequent delivery.

It was becoming one-way traffic, and Alejandro Faurlin saw a close-range effort deflected over the bar, before - from the resulting corner - Simpson hacked Bothroyd's header off the line.

As half-time approached Wright-Phillips once more came within inches of breaking the deadlock, only to be denied by some last-gasp defending.

Taarabt's ball dissected the Newcastle back-line and once Wright-Phillips had shaken off a challenge from Fabricio Coloccini he proceeded to send an inch-perfect lob over Krul from the edge of the area which had goal written all over it until Steven Taylor got back in the nick of time to head off the line.

Best flicked a header wide as the cock ticked away but the first half had been almost one-way traffic, with the hosts having had the lions' share of the possession and chances.

The hosts came quickly out of the blocks following the interval and Taarabt shot straight at Krul, while Wright-Phillips surprisingly fluffed his lines from a simple volley.

Shaun Derry nodded Barton's corner down into the floor and watched it bounce up inches wide on 67 minutes as Rangers continued to pile on the pressure. And the same player should have done much better with a free header from another corner five minutes later, which sailed well off target.

A rare chance fell Newcastle's way with 15 minutes remaining as a loose clearance fell to Jonas Gutierrez 20 yards out, but the Argentine international snatched at the chance and screwed a half-volley wide.

Gabriel Obertan twice failed to test Kenny with headers, but Rangers went straight back down the other end and Wright-Phillips wasn't too far away with a drive from distance.

United hopes were raised with five minutes remaining when Obertan was fouled 25 yards out, but Ryan Taylor was unable to net his third free-kick of the season - sending a curling effort into the wall.

And that was that - a performance which United won't be too pleased with, but one in which they weathered numerous storms and held firm defensively once again to come away from London with a share of the spoils.

 

Queens Park Rangers (4-3-3): Paddy Kenny; Luke Young, Danny Gabbidon, Anton Ferdinand, Armand Traore (Matthew Connolly 51); Joey Barton (c), Shaun Derry, Alejandro Faurlin; Shaun Wright-Phillips (Jason Puncheon 88), Jay Bothroyd (DJ Campbell 80), Adel Taarabt

Subs not used: Brian Murphy, Fitz Hall, Akos Buzsaky, Tommy Smith

 

Newcastle United (4-4-2): Tim Krul; Danny Simpson, Steven Taylor, Fabricio Coloccini (c), Ryan Taylor; Gabriel Obertan (Sammy Ameobi 88), Yohan Cabaye, Cheik Tiote, Jonas Gutierrez; Leon Best (Sylvain Marveaux 82), Shola Ameobi (Demba Ba 64)

Subs not used: Rob Elliot, Davide Santon, Danny Guthrie, Peter Lovenkrands

 

Referee: Phil Dowd

 

Attendance: 16, 211 (1,279 Newcastle)

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