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15:42 15th January 2012
By  @OfficialQPR


Mark Hughes' first game in charge of QPR ended in defeat against Newcastle United, despite a positive performance from the R's on Tyneside.

Former Rangers loanee Leon Best's 37th-minute strike proved decisive at the Sports Direct Arena but, on another day - and with a bit more cutting edge - the Hoops probably would have enjoyed a different result.

Hughes' side - in their changed colours of red and white quarters - dominated proceedings in the first period but were unable to turn a whole of chances into a deserved lead, before Best struck Newcastle's opener.

Nevertheless, Hughes will no doubt draw on a number of positives ahead of next weekend's visit of Wigan Athletic to W12 in the Barclays Premier League.

Hughes made six changes to the R's side that lined-up at MK Dons in the FA Cup last weekend.

Ale Faurlin's absence with a torn Anterior Cruciate Ligament - an injury that has ruled him out for the remainder of the campaign - saw Akos Buzsaky come into the side to partner Shaun Derry in central midfield.

Elsewhere, Paddy Kenny came back in for Radek Cerny, while there were also starts for Anton Ferdinand, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Jay Bothroyd and Heidar Helguson - whose late leveller earned the R's a third round replay against the Dons.

Ferdinand, incidentally, was handed the Captain's armband in the absence of the suspended Joey Barton.

Rangers set up in a 4-4-2 formation, with Kenny in goal.

In defence, Luke Young and Clint Hill occupied the full-back berths, with Ferdinand and Gabbidon in the middle.

Jamie Mackie, Derry, Buzsaky and Shaun Wright-Phillips were in midfield.

Bothroyd joined QPR's top scorer Helguson up front.

The conditions may have been sub-zero but the R's - looking to impress new boss Hughes - wasted little time in stamping their authority on this contest.

Newcastle keeper Tim Krul was called into action with under a minute gone, diving low to make a routine stop from Helguson's weak 20-yard effort.

Krul soon had to be alert once again, thwarting Wright-Phillips with another low save after the R's winger shot from just inside the box, following Young's cross from the right.

QPR had settled far the quicker. Hughes' men had appeals for a penalty waved away by referee Mr Foy on five minutes, after Helguson's blast - albeit at point-blank range - appeared to clatter against the hand of a Newcastle man in the box.

Moments later, the already impressive Buzsaky saw a 25-yard blast parried by Krul, before the ball eventually went out for a goal kick

Rangers nearly had a goal that their encouraging start warranted on 16 minutes - striking the woodwork in the process.

Hill won possession on the edge of the Magpies box and, when Wright-Phillips subsequently let fly with a rasping drive, the ball clipped the top of the bar and went over.

This laboured start from the hosts saw the natives begin to grow restless. The R's were firmly on top and went close again when a Bothroyd shot forced a comfortable save from Krul, after Mackie stole possession.

Newcastle were second best but the introduction of crowd favourite Hatem Ben Arfa appeared to lift the mood amongst the home faithful, after the Frenchman came on to replace the injured Yohan Cabaye on 25 minutes.

The Magpies fashioned their first real attempt soon after. Jonas Gutierrez headed Ryan Taylor's out-swinging free-kick over the bar.

But Rangers continued to threaten. Bothroyd saw a 20-yard shot shave the right-hand post and go wide, after cutting in from the left.

At the other end, Newcastle went close themselves. Taylor - known for the spectacular - unleashed an effort from distance that was deflected effort wide of the left-hand post.

The opening goal arrived in the 37th minute.

After a slow start the home side got better as the half wore on but, on reflection, it was undoubtedly against the run of play.

Neat build-up play eventually ended with Taylor finding Best just inside the box, who turned Young before slotting an effort into the bottom right-hand corner of the net.

That was harsh on the R's, but they continued to press forward for the remainder of the half.

Mackie lashed an effort from 12 yards over the bar at the second attempt, after more fine build-up play from Hughes' men.

That pattern continued after the half-time break. Wright Phillips saw an effort from 25 yards held by Krul just over a minute after the interval.

Bothroyd then spurned a golden opportunity to put Rangers on terms on 51 minutes, blazing an effort over the bar from ten-yards out after Helguson's super knock-down from a Wright-Phillips cross.

But Bothroyd would go close just two minutes later, forcing a smart save from Krul with an effort from the edge of the area after Mackie's inch-perfect through pass.

Newcastle then produced their first effort of the half shortly after, with Taylor cutting in from the left before seeing his shot blocked away for a corner following Young's timely intervention.

Kenny had a scare on 70 minutes. The R's shot-stopper raced from his line out to the left-hand touchline to stop a deflected effort from going for a corner, before Newcastle took a quick throw-in.

Thereafter, Gutierrez produced an effort that appeared to be going in before Gabbidon was on hand to head the ball off the line and spare Kenny's blushes.

Newcastle went close again soon after. Ben Arfa's delicious through pass found Best and, when he rolled a centre across the face of goal, Gabbidon and Hill combined to eventually clear the danger.

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