All the talk before this game had been about Joey Barton after the controversial midfielder made the move from Newcastle to the Rs and Neil Warnock didn’t disappoint the fans as he put Barton straight into the starting line-up and surprisingly handed him the captain’s armband. Anton Ferdinand, Luke Young, Armand Traore and Shaun Wright-Phillips were all also handed their debuts on a breezy night in London.
Alan Pardew continued with Leon Best and Shola Ameobi up front after the former had scored twice on his last outing for Newcastle. Ryan Taylor continued in the unfamiliar left-back territory as new signing Davide Santon looked on from the bench.
The first chance of the game fell to Leon Best as he showed some brilliant technique to spin Gabbidon and get his shot on target but he was denied by an absolutely outstanding save by Paddy Kenny when it looked for all the world like the ball was headed for the back of the net.
At the other end, Adel Taarabt was giving Newcastle a headache. He isn’t the most consistent player in the league but on his night, you cannot fail to be entertained by his dazzling skills. And this was his night. First he showed some great close control and set Wright-Phillips off but his cross was volleyed over by Bothroyd.
Ten minutes later, the same three players combined for QPR. Taraabt turned Coloccini in midfield and then nutmegged Tiote and set Wright-Phillips down the right wing again and this time his cross went right across goal as Bothroyd dived in vain to reach it.
Wright-Phillips was certainly enjoying his debut as he continued to give Ryan Taylor twisted blood in the first half and he almost opened the scoring five minutes before half time when he chipped the ball over Tim Krul only to see his effort cleared off the line by Steven Taylor.
QPR continued to dominate in the second half and went close again twenty minutes into the second half when Taarabt’s corner was headed inches wide of Tim Krul’s right-hand post by Shaun Derry. Minutes later, Wright-Phillips got in behind Newcastle’s back line again and yet again his cross was defiantly defended by Newcastle.
Derry got another headed chance from a corner but yet again he failed to capitalise on some poor Newcastle marking as he sent a woeful header well wide of the target. Minutes later, Newcastle managed to get a free-kick in a dangerous position from a very rare break forward but Ryan Taylor, usually so clinical from dead ball situations, failed to clear the QPR wall which summed up the second half from either side.
QPR continued to pass and probe in the Newcastle half but the second half failed to live up to the tempo and intensity of the first half and a game which never looked like finishing goalless fizzled out to a tame conclusion.