After a barren January transfer window, Rafa Benitez and his team were looking for the right performance to blow away the disappointment of a feeble FA Cup defeat at Oxford four days earlier.

Making nine changes to his team, an abysmal first half surely couldn’t have been any worse if he’d kept the same 11 from Saturday.

Ironically, Newcastle got the ideal start, Jonjo Shelvey scoring a fine volley from just outside the box without even a full minute played.

However, rather than inspiring the players, it appeared to inhibit them, and we saw a first half littered with mistakes and ponderous passing that got the team nowhere.

Deservedly equalising just before half-time, QPR then found themselves once again via a well worked goal, Hayden crossing for Ritchie to head home.

Newcastle did play better in the second half but still looked fragile at the back and so it came to pass, a last minute cross saw a lack of communication between Darlow & Clark and the defender glanced a header over the top of the keeper.

After the game, Newcastle’s poor display ensured that questions would be asked about the failure to strengthen the squad last month.

Asked if he was surprised no signings were made, Rafa Benitez said ‘Yes’.

Then the United boss was asked if he had an explanation about what had happened yesterday (deadline day) and why no signings happened, Rafa replying ‘No – because I don’t know’.

Clearly disappointed about the failure to strengthen and especially in not bringing in a wide player, Rafa Benitez was left to try and put a positive spin on the upcoming matches and the rest of the season.

Rafa Benitez:

“We knew what we needed and we knew what we have so we have to bring the best from the players we have.

“I can’t change things now so I have to concentrate on bringing the best from my players.

“I said before I am disappointed but I have to concentrate on the players we have and try to improve them.

“Hopefully we can get three points in the next game and start doing things in the same way we did in the first half of the season.”

Stats from BBC Sport:

Newcastle 2 QPR 2

Goals:

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)

Newcastle United:

Darlow, Yedlin, Lascelles, Clark, Dummett, Ritchie, Hayden, Shelvey, Gouffran, Perez (Diame 86), Murphy (Ameobi 66)

Unused Subs:

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)