Newcastle Utd 2 QPR 2: Holloway says Londoners were well worth their point

QPR denied Newcastle United the chance to regain top spot in the Championship last night.

Thursday, 2nd February 2017, 7:00 am
Conor Washington races away to celebrate hitting QPRs first equaliser at Newcastle last night. Picture by Frank Reid

And boss Ian Holloway felt the late equaliser was the least his side deserved.

“Truthfully, (we deserved) three (points),” he said after Newcastle defender Ciaran Clark’s stoppage-time own goal earned QPR a 2-2 draw at St James’s Park.

“Would I have taken this after 45 seconds? Yeah.

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“We took a punch on the chin, shook ourselves down and managed to go. We’ve got to learn to be a bit more clinical but I’m delighted for everybody.”

Jonjo Shelvey gave Newcastle a first-minute lead, powering home a shot after Jake Bidwell only headed an Isaac Hayden cross as far as the edge of the box.

But Conor Washington equalised before the break, poking home from close range after Bidwell fired an effort goalwards.

Matt Ritchie restored the home lead, doing well to head home a right-wing Hayden cross towards the far post.

But Clark’s own goal, trying to deal with Kazenga LuaLua’s 90th-minute cross, made it all square.

Holloway was able to introduce new signings Luke Freeman and Sean Goss from the bench in the second half, with fellow January arrivals Ravel Morrison and Matt Smith unable to play.

Holloway, whose side have lost just one of their last six league games, said: “I’ve brought a whole load of new people in. That group has done us all proud.

“I’ve got some choices in there. Big Matt Smith is vital, Ravel Morrison I’m taking under my wing.

“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.”

Newcastle remain a point behind leaders Brighton, whose game in hand is at Huddersfield tonight. The Magpies, with a game in hand, are four points clear of third-top Reading, with Leeds a point further back.

Magpie boss Rafa Benitez, disappointed by the failure to make a deadline-day signing, was asked if it was the worst week of the season. He said: “I don’t know.

“It is a long season. Hopefully, if that is the worst it means the others will be better. What we have to do now and I have to be clear, also, is stick together. Stick together, work hard together and see we can achieve what we want to achieve.”

Asked if he had enough to see the job through and get the club back in the Premier League, Benitez said: “Yes, I think so. Obviously, we need to do better and to win games. We have to make sure against Derby (on Saturday)the team will be ready and focus with the confidence we have all season.”

Meanwhile, QPR manager Ian Holloway defended Joel Lynch, who stamped on a prone Sammy Ameobi in front of the linesman but was not even booked. Holloway said: “I don’t think Lynch did it deliberately.”

Newcastle: Darlow, Yedlin, Lascelles, Clark, Dummett, Ritchie, Shelvey, Hayden, Gouffran, Perez (Diame 86), Murphy (Ameobi 66). Subs not used: Hanley, Lazaar, Jesus Gamez, Mitrovic, Sels. Booked: Ritchie. Goals: Shelvey 1, Ritchie 54.

QPR: Smithies, Onuoha, Perch, Lynch, Furlong (Goss 81), Wszolek, Luongo, Manning (Freeman 66), Bidwell, Washington, Mackie (LuaLua 74). Subs: Cousins, Ingram, Doughty, Petrasso. Booked: Perch. Goals: Washington 44, Clark 90 og.

Att: 47,907. Ref: Tim Robinson (West Sussex)