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Season 2016-17
Queens Park Rangers (h) Championship

In association 

Wednesday 1st February 2017, 7.45pm
Live on Sky Sports

 St. James' Park

Conditions: Exasperating

Newcastle United

Queens Park Rangers

2 - 2




38 secs Jonjo Shelvey hit a diagonal ball from the halfway line that found Yoan Gouffran in space down the left. He turned by the byline and played it into Isaac Hayden who did well to cross. The headed clearance landed at Shelvey's feet and he lashed the ball in from the edge of the box. 1-0

44 mins 
A corner from the right was headed away but fired goalwards by Jake Bidwell. Conor Washington took a touch on the six yard box before prodded home ahead of Ciaran Clark. 1-1

Half time: United 1 R's 1

54 mins DeAndre Yedlin cut inside from the right and passed to Hayden who clipped a cross to the far post, where Matt Ritchie leapt and headed past Alex Smithies into the Gallowgate goal. 2-1

90 mins A hopeful cross was curled in by Kazenga LuaLua and with no QPR player near him, Clark tried to head the ball but only succeeded in flicking it over the stranded Karl Darlow who had presumably shouted to claim it. 2-2

Full time: United 2 R's 2

We Said


Rafa said:


Asked if he knew why a deadline day deal for Andros Townsend wasn't concluded:

"No, because I don't know.

"I said before, I’m disappointed but at the same time I have to concentrate on the players we have and try have to improve them as much as I can.

"I was in communication with Lee (Charnley) all the time so I know more or less what we have done. 

"Still, I don't know what happened.

“We knew what we needed. We knew what we have. 

"We have to bring the best from the players that we have.”

Asked if he was disappointed not to have made any signings in the January window:


“We have to stick together. We have the fans. They have to realise they have to support the team. 

"The players have to realise they are the players we have. 

"They can be very important players for this club. If we are promoted, they will be famous, heroes, stick together.”

On Clark's own goal:

"It was very difficult because it was a flat ball and you have to decide quickly if you head the ball or leave the for the keeper. Sometimes it can happen.

"The main thing is we did not take the chances we had. We didn't need to be thinking about if we concede in the last minute.

"We needed to score the third goal and finish the game and we didn't do it and we couldn’t get the three points.

"You have to be disappointed. At the same time we have to be sure we are ready for the next game which will be in a few days.”

They Said

Rangers boss Ian Holloway said when asked if a point was deserved:

We took one on the chin with a ridiculously early goal, Jonjo Shelvey smashed it in and they might have been smelling blood, thinking they beat us by six before.

"But this group has come together, we made a lot of changes and we showed it and stuck to what we wanted to do. If I'm going to be critical it's just in that final finish, but that comes with a bit of confidence.

"I thought we were absolutely terrific and we implemented [our plan] against a very, very good side. I like young players, I want to influence and help them and I want my senior ones to help them," he said. "I thought they were brilliant tonight.

"It's all about believing in yourself, we've had a rough time for quite awhile and I want to get a new atmosphere here, and it's starting to come. We know we can start to trust each other.

"I feel like a golfer with a new set of clubs. I've got some choices in there. Big Matt Smith is vital, Ravel Morrison I'm taking under my wing and see if I can help him because he's got that maverick about him.

(Sean) Goss summed it up tonight. His first touch in a big game almost cost us but he goes and gets the ball again and pings a 40-yard ball straight to where he wants it. That's what I want - a bit of belief.

It's a marathon not a sprint and everyone is improving all the time. Some of their fans turned up expecting to win, you could sense that tonight. That shouldn’t be the case. 

"They have to play their part, support the team, not just turn up.

PS: Holloway also addressed the situation at SJP - some significant comments, given the fact he'd spoken to Rafa moments earlier, and in his guise as a Sky pundit had interviewed him ahead of this season:

"The man himself
(Rafa Benitez) is different class. You've attracted him here with the love that you showed him away at Tottenham and it's all going brilliantly. 

"A draw tonight's not the end of the world, you keep building you keep going and it matters about being there in that top two the last game of the season. If I was a betting man - which I'm not - I wouldn't look any(where) other than up here to be one of those two.

"So you have to take the knocks, you have do that, you have to believe, you have to keep helping your team, the minute you turn on them you're in trouble.

"I think your club's in brilliant shape, in fantastic hands - as good as some of the other people I've seen around here. Mr Robson on the wall over there, you know what I mean.

"Hail to your man, you all know how good he is and I'm delighted he's still with you. I think your club's in fantastic shape." 


United remain the top scorers in the Championship with 56 from 28 games (Scunthorpe in League One have the same stats, while Doncaster Rovers in League Two have 58 from 28).  

NUFC in the Championship after 28 games:

2009/10 59 points (W17, D8, L3) F48, A17 1st
2016/17 59 points (W19, D2, L7) F56 A23 2nd

Jonjo Shelvey's strike was the quickest by a Magpie player this season, his effort on 38 seconds beating the one scored by Ayoze Perez at the same end against Ipswich Town in 59 seconds

We think Shelvey's goal is the quickest since Alan Shearer's 11 second strike against Manchester City here in January 2003 (also at the Leazes End). Wor Al was also quick off the mark against Charlton Athletic at SJP in March 2004, scoring after 57 seconds.

Shearer's two both came in the Premier League - in terms of second tier games, Robert Lee's strike at the Gallowgate End during the opening minute of what turned out to be a 2-2 draw against Charlton Athletic on a Wednesday evening in March 1993. 

Matt Ritchie
made it 11 goals this season - seven Championship, two FA Cup and two EFL Cup. 

Jonjo Shelvey netted his fourth competitive goal for the Magpies, ending a 20 game barren run since he bagged a brace against....QPR.

United played their first home draw in 20 games, since a 1-1 with Manchester City in April.

Newcastle have now conceded 23 league goals this season - and scored four of those. Ciaran Clark's OG added to one from Chancel Mbemba (Wolves h) and two from Jamaal Lascelles (Preston a & Forest a).

United lost their 100% winning record in the league this season when Dwight Gayle didn't play - before tonight's draw, he'd missed QPR away (won 6-0), Preston away (won 2-1), Cardiff home (won 2-1) and Rotherham home (won 4-0). 

Goals conceded at the end of each half tonight mean that no less than 11 of the 29 we've given away in league and cup games were within the last five minutes of the half time or final whistle (based on 45 minute halves):


R's in Toon - all time:

2016/17 drew 2-2 Shelvey, Ritchie
2014/15 won 1-0 Sissoko
2012/13 won 1-0 Sh.Ameobi
2011/12 won 1-0 Best
2009/10 drew 1-1 Harewood
1995/96 won 2-1 Beardsley 2
1994/95 won 2-1 Kitson, Beardsley
1993/94 lost 1-2 Allen
1988/89 lost 1-2 Ranson
1987/88 drew 1-1 O'Neill
1986/87 lost 0-2
1985/86 won 3-1 Beardsley, Reilly, McDonald
1984/85 won 1-0 Reilly
1982/83 won 1-0 Keegan
1981/82 lost 0-4
1980/81 won 1-0 Waddle
1979/80 won 4-2 Shoulder, Withe 2, Cassidy
1977/78 lost 0-3
1976/77 won 2-0 Burns, Cannell
1975/76 lost 1-2 Gowling
1975/76 won 2-1 T.Craig, Gowling (FAC)
1974/75 drew 2-2 Tudor, Macdonald
1973/74 lost 2-3 Tudor 2
1968/69 won 3-2 Burton, Dyson, Gibb




Ciaran Clark's last minute own goal robbed his side of victory at St. James' Park on Wednesday evening, as Ian Holloway's side twice came from behind to take a point back to London.

Clark had a night to forget as he left the field with physical and mental scars having played for 70 minutes with a bad cut over his left eye after an accidental clash of heads with Jamie Mackie.

But he appeared to have battled through the injury before inadvertently flicking Kazenga LuaLua's deep cross over Karl Darlow into the Leazes End net.

However the frustration of seeing his side turn three points into one wasn't all that was clearly vexing Rafa Benitez afterwards: an uninspiring display from his side on the field adding to evident frustration with events off it in the closing hours of the transfer window.  

Retaining only Isaac Hayden and Ayoze Perez from the side humbled by League One Oxford on Saturday, this lethargic performance did nothing to placate punters and pundits who had been critical of fielding that weakened XI in the FA Cup. 

Newcastle began the game in the best possible fashion, Jonjo Shelvey's pile-driver putting United ahead just 38 seconds from the first whistle. However that was the prelude to....very little.

A lack of penetration down either flank, the absence of service or support to Daryl Murphy and the sight of Shelvey dropping deeper to pick up the ball provided little reassurance to an anxious home support - and every encouragement to the visiting side.

Rangers found pickings down the left flank and had already come close to equalising before a 44th minute close-range effort from Conor Washington sent the teams in level at 1-1.

Despite spending much of the half being treated for that head injury and its bloody aftermath, Clark was probably our best player - indicative of QPR's threat and our lack of attacking creativity.

Normal service appeared to have been restored when Matt Ritchie headed in a Hayden centre on 54 minutes, but the reassurance that a third home goal would have brought was never to arrive. 

Ayoze Perez had two great chances to seal the victory but shot straight at Alex Smithies when a square ball to Ritchie was on. Clearly unnerved, the Spaniard then raced forward again, but chose not to shoot and instead crossed wildly to no-one. 

Moving up front to replace Murphy as Sammy Ameobi arrived from the bench (and Aleksandar Mitrovic was conspicuously overlooked despite warming up on several occasions), Yoan Gouffran was denied from close range by a double save from Smithies.

The visiting 'keeper also denied Ritchie and Gouffran in added time, the latter diverting the ball into the path of Mo Diame, just back from the African Nations Cup. Defender Jake Bidwell got there first and cleared behind although referee Robinson gave a goalkick. 

The sucker punch had arrived in the closing seconds of normal time, when former Magpie LuaLua lofted in a hopeful ball from the left. 

Clark's late intervention gave the R's a point they probably merited overall, but Newcastle's own shortcomings ultimately cost them a victory may have papered over some of the cracks emerging.

That they didn't collect three points increases the pressure on them and inevitably leads to speculation that boardroom issues are affecting the players. And even if that's not the case and they really do just exist in a headphones-wearing bubble, then the apprehension and doubt that seeps out of supporters during home games has a debilitating effect. 

Identifying the inadequacies of his squad after half a season of working with them, there was at least a reasonable expectation that Benitez would receive reinforcements in January - even if the main expenditure had been committed in the last window.

Instead though he's looked on helplessly as the teams in pursuit who already had momentum were able to freshen their squads for the remaining games. As was the case in 2012 when a fifth-place finish led only to some laurel-resting and the arrival of Vurnon Anita, the concept of adding to the squad at a position of strength doesn't occur to this lot.

And as for refusing to sign players because of perceived question marks over Rafa's judgment based on the last window; these are the people responsible for Cabella, Thauvin, De Jong, Marveaux etc.
Promotion should still be achieved, but an avoidable element of doubt now intrudes on proceedings 

Given the owner's evident dislike for one-off matches, he'd probably rather settle the third promotion spot by a game of scissors, paper, stone than a Wembley final....

And at the end of a desperately disappointing week when we bowed out of the FA Cup, were left high and dry on transfer deadline day and let two precious points slip away comes a first return for Steve McClaren - now rehabilitated at Pride Park as his ill-fated spell here recedes from view.

Just as a timid Rangers side have toughened up substantially under new management since our Shepherds Bush stroll, United will face a decidedly more combative Derby lineup than at Pride Park.

A convincing performance from Newcastle then seems just as important as a victory, providing reassurance that our promotion bid isn't on the verge of imploding. However they'll need to do something meaningful without the services of top scorer, Dwight Gayle.

Given the daunting away schedule we face in the coming weeks, the character of this team will be tested. Tonight didn't augur particularly well.  


Page last updated 15 June, 2017