Team: Green (McCarthy), Onuoha, Dunne, Caulker (Suk-Young), Hill, Phillips, Barton, Henry, Hoilett (Grego-Cox), Fer, Austin
Subs Not Used: Furlong, Wright-Phillips, Comley, Doughty
Attendance: 17,608 (including 1,845 away fans)
The dullard’s derby duly lived down to reputation, since Newcastle neglected to accept Queen’s Park Rangers’ generous offer of a free pass for another season of lucrative mediocrity.
Yet underserved survival somehow remains in their hands. They will stay up if they equal or better Hull City’s result against Manchester United when West Ham visit St James’ Park next Sunday. Since a basic level of competence seems beyond them, this is not as straightforward as it sounds.
Newcastle have accumulated a single point in 10 games, having squandered a simple opportunity to earn the victory at Loftus Road which would have inadvertently justified owner Mike Ashley’s behaviour and confirmed the ruinous logic of his business plan.
Rangers, soothed by the certainty of relegation, roused themselves to stage a second-half comeback, but their first home win in 11 matches hardly merited a desultory lap of honour. It was undertaken once stewards had cleared a post-match pitch invasion, in which a QPR fan was prevented from unveiling a home-made banner which read “Mercenaries Out” and a small group of Newcastle fans threw a variety of missiles.
The locals are such connoisseurs of calamity they chose to glorify failure by serenading Newcastle fans with the prediction: “You’re going down with the Rangers”. No one should be surprised if such taunts are borne out, because statistically these are the two worst Premier League teams of this calendar year.
Matt Phillips equalised for QPR in the 54th minute, towering above Daryl Janmaat, who gave his best impression of a doormat as the winger converted Austin’s far-post cross with an untroubled header.
He also played a pivotal role in the winner eight minutes later, exploiting a poor clearance by Newcastle’s keeper, Tim Krul. The ball fell to Leroy Fer, whose 30-yard, right-footed drive sailed past a wincing Fabricio Coloccini and into the roof of the net.
Newcastle should have had sufficient insurance to counter such unexpected setbacks. They had ample opportunity to build on a lead established midway through the first-half, in a manner which would have disgraced a Sunday League side.
Krul’s long kick was misjudged by Steven Caulker who allowed Emmanuel Riviere to control it, before scoring his first Premier League goal. His subsequent somersault was extravagant, since he slipped as he hit his shot, which cannoned off his standing leg, but at least it signalled the end of Newcastle’s 558-minute wait for an away goal.
Robert Green, inadvertently kneed in the head by Joey Barton, was led off to a standing ovation in the 34th minute. Alex McCarthy, his replacement in the QPR goal, made several anxious saves as Newcastle pressed.
Afterwards, John Carver, Newcastle’s head coach, understood another defining challenge awaits. “Let’s get the next week out of the way,” he said. “Then we can have a post-mortem.”
Michael Calvin – The Independent
Good meet-up in the Crown & Sceptre pre-match, with Alan (QPRDEE) and his son Liam, from Dundee, JOHN22 and Dubliner. I was also pleased to see Pat and Tom Harrison in there too.
As for the game, Steven Caulker was getting some flack from various quarters and it was no surprise when Emmanuel Riviere scored his first goal after 18 hours of trying!
Then Rob Green collided with Joey Barton which left our keeper bloodied and concussed. Eventually Alex McCarthy came on to replace him.
Trevor Sinclair and Darren Peacock were interviewed on the pitch at half-time.
As Newcastle got worse, Rangers got better (or visa versa?). I was really pleased to see Reece Grego-Cox come off the bench.
Matt Phillips nodded in the equaliser and as I muttered to myself “pass it”, Leroy Fer absolutely belted the ball into the back of the net from at least 25 yards.
As we entered that period of the match ‘when Ranges often concede’, there were one or two moments from the visitors, which included a shout for a penalty, Rangers got through it to secure the three points.
There was a pitch invasion at the final whistle, which was followed by an announcement calling for fans to clear the pitch before the players would return to show their appreciation.
As they trooped round to applaud the fans, Shaun Wright-Phillips’s body language said it all. He obviously didn’t want to be out there!
Chris Ramsey said: “The fans have been absolutely fantastic all season. It’s important we got those two goals. It gets us back to thinking good things in the summer.”
“There was plenty of effort in the first-half, but lacked that bit of quality. Leroy Fer has got that in his locker – he brings a little bit of extra flavour to our team.”
“I think fans can see we will try our best and that we will try to put the club on an even footing. It’s not up to me who stays and who doesn’t stay.”