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Barton dons the captain's armband as QPR fail to find finishing touch

Far from strangers in the night, Neil Warnock's new-look Queens Park Rangers combined well enough at a raucous Loftus Road, lacking only a finishing touch and Jay Bothroyd was largely responsible for such profligacy.

Of Rangers' new boys, Shaun Wright-Phillips impressed most, twice setting up the ponderous Bothroyd in the first half. Warnock's new captain, Joey Barton, had a quiet debut, seemingly content to allow Adel Taarabt, the excellent Alejandro Faurlin and Wright-Phillips to lead Rangers' raiding parties.

By contrast, Newcastle were deeply disappointing, seemingly short of ambition, eventually eliciting chants of "attack, attack, attack" from their loyal supporters, who had made such a long journey on a working night. Shola Ameobi was particularly poor.

Rangers deserved more than a point, although Warnock and the club's well-received new owner Tony Fernandes will take heart from a promising performance.


Barton's subdued mood in the first half was hardly noticed such was the adventure flowing from the quick feet of Wright-Phillips and quick mind of Taarabt.

Bothroyd did eventually connect properly with a Wright-Phillips cross only to be thwarted by Danny Simpson on the line. Steven Taylor then matched such defiance, speeding back to clear Wright-Phillips' chip from under the bar after Tim Krul had gone walkabout.

Newcastle rarely threatened before the break.

The second half meandered along, scarred by the occasional foul, such as Cheik Tiote's rather obvious clattering of a former team-mate. "One Joey Barton,'' chorused the Rangers fans, who stood in expectation as their new captain lifted in a corner that the Shaun Derry headed wide.

Alan Pardew sought to inject some life into his attack, removing Ameobi and sending on Demba Ba after 63 minutes.

But the force remained largely with Rangers. Taarabt was going through his repertoire of tricks, adding a Thierry Henry pirouette on the ball to a first-half Cruyff turn. Yet Wright-Phillips seemed the main source of hope, clipping in a cross that caused chaos.

With 18 minutes left, Derry was presented with another sight of goal, this time created by Taarabt's corner. Again, the midfielder missed, as Loftus Road sighed.

The game gradually fizzled out, although the players departed to a standing ovation. Rangers, and particularly Wright-Phillips and Faurlin, certainly deserved the salute. (© Daily Telegraph, London)

Irish Independent