QPR 0-0 Newcastle: Captain Joey Barton debuts against former club as Jay Bothroyd & Jonas Gutierrez spurn golden chances
West Londoners secure first home point of Premier League return after being unable to capitalise on lively debut of Wright-Phillips, as Magpies maintain unbeaten start to season
By Andrew Kennedy
Whilst the result brings the west Londoners their first point at home this season, the Premier League new boys will no doubt feel they should’ve secured their second victory of the campaign, after they squandered numerous chances in front of goal.
Neil Warnock handed the captain’s armband to Barton as the midfielder began his QPR career against his former club, whilst fellow debutants Anton Ferdinand, Armand Traore, Luke Young and Shaun Wright-Phillips all started at Loftus Road.
Shola Ameobi returned to the starting XI for Newcastle to partner Leon Best up front in an otherwise unchanged line-up from the 2-1 home victory over Fulham, with new signing Davide Santon having to settle for a place on the bench following his mid-week international duties.
Wright-Phillips should have opened his account for the R’s after nine minutes, when the winger found space in between the Newcastle centre-backs to meet Traore’s dangerous cross, only to be unable to keep his header on target.
The former Arsenal and Manchester City player looked lively in the opening exchanges, as he turned provider for Jay Bothroyd, only for the striker to somehow miss the target from six-yards out, before Wright-Phillips tested goalkeeper Tim Krul from distance.
Paddy Kenny was then forced into action, diving well to save Leon Best’s effort that looked bound for the bottom right hand corner of the goal, after the striker had turned superbly to engineer space in behind the QPR backline.
The home side continued to create opportunities in the final third, this time a sublime piece of skill from Adel Taarabt saw him unlock the Newcastle defence as he fed Wright-Phillips down the right hand side, only for Bothroyd to once again show a lack of pace as the wideman’s ball flashed across goal untouched.
Danny Simpson was then on hand to block Bothroyd’s goal bound header, whilst Wright-Phillips' well weighted chip looked to have finally opened the scoring five minutes from time, only for Steven Taylor to again clear off the line.
Different stripes | Barton makes debut as QPR captain against former side
QPR’s inability to make their first half opportunities count once again manifested itself early in the second period, as Young found himself in space in the Newcastle box only to lift his effort from the edge of the six-yard box high over the bar.
The visitor’s looked blunt in the attacking third, with Ameobi’s biggest effort of the evening directed at Phil Dowd, after the striker rightly felt he had been prevented from latching on to Gutierrez’s pass by a Ferdinand tug, only for the referee to wave away his protests.
It was then the Argentine who found himself in space inside the box, but he was unable to keep his shot down to the dismay of the travelling faithful.
Indeed the 29-year-old was duly replaced with half an hour to play by Demba Ba, but the Senegalese international was similarly unable to inspire any firm threat to the opposition goal mouth.
Barton again linked up well with Wright Phillips, but the latter’s cleverly worked cross fell just short of the waiting Bothroyd, whilst Shaun Derry headed wide from a corner after he found himself unmarked in the box, as QPR continued to squander chances in front of goal.
Wright-Phillips then once again burst into life, jinking past substitute Sylvain Marveaux and Tiote before unleashing an effort that just evaded Krul’s top right hand corner from 20-yards.
The result sees Newcastle climb above Liverpool in the early season table to fifth place, but more tellingly Alan Pardew’s side kept their third clean sheet of the campaign so far.
QPR will no doubt consider the draw two points dropped, yet despite Warnock’s side inability to take advantage of numerous openings, promising debut’s from Barton and Wright-Phillip’s in particular will ensure the R’s are not already resigned to a relegation battle this season.
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