Belfast Telegraph

Best strike enough for Newcastle

Leon Best's first goal since September fired Newcastle into sixth place in the Barclays Premier League as Mark Hughes' first game as QPR boss ended in a narrow 1-0 defeat.

The Republic of Ireland striker took his tally for the campaign to four with a neat finish eight minutes before the break to win a fiercely contested game.

Hughes arrived on Tyneside having inherited a side which had not won in nine games in all competitions and had taken just two of the last 24 points on offer, and faced the task of overcoming a team which had comprehensively beaten champions Manchester United last time out.

However, QPR enjoyed much the better of the opening stages with Tim Krul saving from Heidar Helguson and Akos Buzsaky inside the opening six minutes.

Newcastle were unable to get out of their own half and Krul's goal came under repeated threat. Indeed, Shaun Wright-Phillips clipped the crossbar after capitalising on a 16th-minute mistake by Danny Simpson.

Krul was then sent sprawling across his line when Jay Bothroyd curled a 33rd-minute effort just wide. At the other end, Ryan Taylor forced a fingertip save from Paddy Kenny seconds later as the home side belatedly built up a head of steam.

They made the pressure tell eight minutes before the break when Jonas Gutierrez set off towards the penalty area to feed striker Shola Ameobi, who laid the ball off to Taylor.

The midfielder managed to stab a pass out to Best before the covering tackle arrived and the frontman stepped inside full-back Luke Young before side-footing calmly into the far corner to end a four-month wait for a goal.

Wright-Phillips tested Krul from distance within two minutes of the second half starting.

QPR could have been back on terms twice within as many minutes with Bothroyd blasting wastefully over from Helguson's knockdown and then forcing a solid save from Krul after being played in by Jamie Mackie.


From Belfast Telegraph