The way that this season has gone, the expression "beggars can't be choosers" comes to mind, and this match was the perfect example. On the heels of a rather bright performance against defending champions Manchester City, there was plenty of room for optimism regarding this match from a Newcastle perspective, but it seemed clear from the first moments that a repeat of the purpose and energy brought into the last match was not going to be repeated on this rainy notheast night.
The less said about the first 75 minutes, the better, really. Newcastle looked a side without much idea and even less quality on the offensive end; QPR looked abject at best, save for Adel Taraabt, who had to have come away from this match rather frustrated. The turning point in the match really came on 60 minutes when Alan Pardew managed one of his patented (and rare, this season) masterstroke subs as he hauled off Papiss Cisse and Jonas Gutierrez in favor of Shola Ameobi and Gabriel Obertan. From the point of their introduction, it was a different energy from the Toon and it paid off in spades as the 81st minute found the ball played out to Shola wide open on the right side of the QPR box and it looked like Shola from a decade ago as he comfortably finished into the far side netting.
Reaction Bullet Points:
- Jonas needs a rest. I don't think we're at the point to call time on his Toon career, but Marveaux, Obertan or even Shane Ferguson would be better options at this point. That said, with ManU coming up next and Cheik Tiote out through yellow card suspension, there's no chance of him not starting on Boxing Day.
- Demba Ba was realllly exerting himself over his teammates today, and I'm not sure I liked it. Perhaps it is the feeling as a supporter that he's one foot out the door or that the concession to stay tied into the 4-4-2 in deference to Ba when it's not working or something else... I don't know... but the demurring to Demba, didn't sit well with me today.
- Shola could be a big loss when he goes to the ACoN. He was massive today.
- We've really got to develop a new set piece. The Williamson at the far post play has become so transparent (as we have no other play) that Rob Green was consistently jumping it and collecting as far as 16 yards from goal.
A vital three points for the Toon collected in a very unspectacular style... but as they say, it all counts the same at the end of the season.