Defeat gives Hughes food for thought

Newcastle 1 QPR 0

Leon Best’s first-half goal condemned QPR to a losing start to Mark Hughes’ reign as manager.

Rangers had their chances – Jay Bothroyd missed two of their best – and were unlucky when Shaun Wright-Phillips hit the woodwork.

But their disjointed performance nevertheless highlighted the fact that Hughes has a sizeable task on his hands if he is to keep them in the Premier League.

Newcastle’s 37th-minute winner came when Rangers failed to clear their lines and the ball ran to Best, who tricked his way past Luke Young and coolly picked his spot.

QPR had been the more dangerous side and went close to going ahead when Wright-Phillips – still awaiting his first goal for the club – saw his right-footed volley from the edge of the area strike the top of the bar.

Akos Buzsaky, playing because of Alejandro Faurlin’s knee injury, tested Tim Krul with a swerving shot the Magpies keeper pushed away.

And Krul was given another anxious moment when Bothroyd’s effort flashed wide of the post.

Newcastle looked troubled, and their midfielder Yohan Cabaye was stretchered off after a challenge from Shaun Derry, but Best’s first goal since September swung the match in their favour.

Rangers battled on in the second half but their cause was not helped by Bothroyd’s failure to take two decent opportunities.

He fired over after Heidar Helguson had nodded down Buzsaky’s left-wing cross, and was then denied by Krul’s near-post save after being put through by Jamie Mackie’s clever pass.

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