QPR 0 Newcastle Utd 1
By Ben Kosky IT hasn t exactly been a routine, humdrum season, but Rangers finished it off in what has become their traditional style. Namely: defeat by a team with something to celebrate. It s now six years since the Rs tasted victory – or had cause for
By Ben Kosky
IT hasn't exactly been a routine, humdrum season, but Rangers finished it off in what has become their traditional style.
Namely: defeat by a team with something to celebrate. It's now six years since the Rs tasted victory - or had cause for celebration themselves - in their final game of the campaign.
With that said, Neil Warnock's team can take pride from the way they matched the champions during a second half in which they were down to 10 men for all but 30 seconds.
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Lifelong Magpies fan Peter Ramage was ordered off for bringing down his former team-mate Shola Ameobi, but resolute Rangers were good value for a point even though they floundered in front of goal.
"We weren't overawed - we had some good chances and played some good football, but we weren't clinical enough and their keeper pulled off some good saves," Warnock admitted.
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"The real difference was that we brought two kids on, they had [Andy] Carroll and [Peter] Lovenkrands. I can't say I'm disappointed that the final whistle's gone."
Player of the Year Alejandro Faurlin tested Newcastle goalkeeper Tim Krul with a fiery 20-yarder during a tepid first half in which Jay Simpson fought a losing battle with the linesman's flag.
But the contest came to life after referee Darren Deadman dispatched a disconsolate Ramage to the dressing-room almost immediately after the restart.
Simpson set up Tamas Priskin, who dinked the ball over Krul - only to be stopped in his tracks by an offside call - and then Hogan Ephraim picked up a stray pass from Peter Guthrie, but fired straight at the keeper.
And the winner arrived 20 minutes from time as Newcastle stifled a run from Simpson and counter-attacked, with Joey Barton sending substitute Lovenkrands clear to chip neatly over Radek Cerny.
Simpson squandered a golden opportunity to equalise just three minutes later, galloping through as Faurlin's pass deflected into his path, only to blaze the ball at Krul.
Inevitably, QPR began to leave gaps at the back and Barton stroked a chance tamely at Cerny, while Lovenkrands met former Rangers winger Wayne Routledge's cross with a volley that worked the keeper a little harder.
In injury time, Priskin had a close-range header saved - and then ruled out for offside, not that it would have mattered other than to add a hint of respectability to his entirely forgettable QPR career.