With the need for three points high on the agenda, and with time running out, Ameobi skinned Adel Taarabt before unleashing an unstoppable left-foot effort past Rob Green and into the back of the Leazes End net to lift at least a small amount of the doom and gloom that has been hanging around St James’ Park.
That’s not to say that this win changes anything. We’re still too close to the wrong end of the table and we still have games against Manchester United, Arsenal and Everton to consider, but at least we took points off a team who is in and around the same spots in the league as us and at least we have a five point cushion on the bottom three. If you want to be optimistic then by the same token we are just five points off eighth place…
Newcastle struggled to create much in the first half as you could see that this run of results has started to take it’s toll on confidence. There was lots of effort and some decent spells of possession but we rarely got close enough to Rob Green’s goal to really threaten. In fact the best we mustered in the first period was a header from Cisse that went wide, a header from Ba that went wide, two free-kicks from Ba which are probably still stuck in the Gallowgate somewhere and an effort from James Perch which also went wide.
There wasn’t much to talk about in terms of goalmouth action in the second period either although the home side did suffer an early scare when Djibril Cisse fired low at goal forcing Tim Krul to push his effort wide. At the other end our Cisse nodded over while James Perch tried to be a bit ambitious from something like 35 yards only to see Rob Green claim the ball easily.
Papiss Cisse was withdrawn and replaced by Shola Ameobi in a move that angered both the home crowd and Cisse who trudged off the field chuntering away to himself, clearly unhappy with being hooked. You can see his point after the shift he put in, working for the team in what is in no way, shape, or form his favoured position. However it was that substitution, and the introduction of Gabriel Obertan, that eventually swung the game in our favour.
Up until then the QPR defence had been dealing with anything we tried. Ryan Nelson was excellent whilst Clint Hill battled away beside him, but as soon as Shola came on and we switcedh to the outdated 4-4-2 which never works (according to some) we started to get some change from their defence. The were worried and had more to deal with, both in terms of numbers and physical presence, and with the pace of Obertan looking to exploit tired legs we finally looked a bit more potent.
Sylvain Mareaux was our third and final sub of the game and nine minutes from all three of them combined to finally put the home side ahead. First it was Gabriel Obertan in the spotlight as he chased back 50 yards towards his own goal to rob the ball back from Junior Hoilett. Then it was Sylvain Marveaux’s turn to take a starring role as he played the ball inside for Shola Ameobi who cut inside Adel Taarabt and finished brilliantly. 1-0 finally!
That goal lifted the mood at St James’ Park and it also seemed to lift the spirits of the players as they went in search of a second. Demba Ba had to be chapped down by Clint Hill or else he would have been clean through on goal although I guess the QPR defender was spared a red card on the basis that there were covering defenders coming across. However the same player then gave away a free-kick in a dangerous area which Marveaux drove just wide of the post.
QPR had one last chance to equalise as Mike Williamson conceded a free-kick close to our goal, but Tim Krul dealt with Taarabt’s effort and thankfully we managed to see the game out.
Howay the lads!
Newcastle: Tim Krul, Danny Simpson, Mike Williamson, Fabricio Coloccini, Davide Santon; James Perch, Cheik Tiote, Vurnon Anita; Papiss Cisse, Demba Ba, Jonas Gutierrez
Subs: Steve Harper, Shane Ferguson, Gael Bigirimana, Sylvain Marveaux, Gabriel Obertan, Sammy Ameobi, Shola Ameobi
QPR: Robert Green; Fabio Da Silva, Anton Ferdinand, Clint Hill, Ryan Nelsen; Jamie Mackie, Esteban Granero, Stephane Mbia, Alejandro Faurlin, Adel Taarabt; Djibril Cisse
Subs: Brian Murphy, Samba Diakite, Armand Traore, Nedum Onuoha, Shaun Derry, Shaun Wright-Phillips, Junior Hoilett