Ian Holloway was understandably buoyant after QPR came away from St James Park with a draw and arguably they could have felt hard done by that they didn’t get all three points.
With a barren transfer window and feeble FA Cup exit on Saturday when Rafa put out a reserve team, Newcastle needed a performance and result that was a statement of intent for the rest of the season.
Wednesday night certainly didn’t deliver that.
Newcastle fans had hoped that the failure to strengthen in January was down to Rafa Benitez basically being happy with his current squad and seeing no desperate need to bring in new players. The United boss’ words (read HERE) after this 2-2 draw told everybody the exact opposite, Rafa desperately disappointed that the club hadn’t brought in the players he had targeted.
With Newcastle in need of a boost from the bench, apart from Diame coming on for the last four minutes to try and help see the game out, Rafa only felt able to call on Sammy Ameobi who was given the final 25 minutes and was predictably at least as poor as the others already struggling on the pitch.
The difference couldn’t have been more marked for Ian Holloway, as he brought on three of his half dozen January signings as substitutes to give his team a lift.
The QPR boss wasn’t able to involve some of his other transfer window recruits because of their late arrival but Sean Goss (signed from Manchester United, Luke Freeman (brought in from Bristol City) and Kazenga LuaLua (from Brighton).
Ian Holloway described the feeling the January signings have given him as ‘I feel like a golfer with a whole new set of clubs’.
The script was written and after putting in a number of dangerous crosses from the left, it was January signing LuaLua who put in the excellent ball that led to Darlow & Clark combining to gift the visitors a point.
Difficult not to compare that with Sammy Ameobi who didn’t put in a decent cross in his 25 minutes on the pitch, as indeed was the case with Yoan Gouffran who he replaced on the wing.
Not a case of suggesting that any or indeed all of QPR’s signings would have been good enough to improve Newcastle’s team/squad but undoubtedly the new players have given Rangers a lift and freshened up the squad with new options. Difficult to claim on last night’s performance and indeed a number of other recent ones, that Newcastle didn’t need the same.
“I think we are a much better side than we’re actually looking believe it or not and that encourages me so so much, especially when I look at what I’ve got coming into the group after the transfer window.
“I feel like a golfer with a whole new set of clubs.
“Every player wants to be here for the right reasons and you could see that in our performance tonight.
“Gossy summed it up. That would have been his first touch in a senior game and it could have gone in as he tripped on it.
“But straight after, he’s pinged a great ball out to the left.”
Stats from BBC Sport:
Newcastle 2 QPR 2
Newcastle: Shelvey 1, Ritchie 54
QPR: Washington 44, OG Clark 90
Possession was QPR 50% Newcastle 50%
Total shots were QPR 9 Newcastle 16
Shots on target were QPR 4 Newcastle 8
Corners were QPR 4 Newcastle 4
Referee: Tim Robinson
Crowd: 47,907 (610 QPR)
Darlow, Yedlin, Lascelles, Clark, Dummett, Ritchie, Hayden, Shelvey, Gouffran, Perez (Diame 86), Murphy (Ameobi 66)
Sels, Hanley, Lazaar, Gamez, Mitrovic
(Read the instant NUFC fan/writer reaction to the draw v QPR HERE)
(To view our interactive Newcastle v QPR player ratings and to add your own go HERE)