PREMIER LEAGUE: Newcastle see it through against QPR
Mark Hughes' first game in charge did not go as planned for the West Londoners who had a lot of scoring chances throughout but were in the end wasteful as the Magpies scored in the first half and managed to hold on to their slender lead to make it three wins from their past four outings.
Newcastle broke the deadlock in the 37th minute when Leon Best received a deflected ball from Ryan Taylor on the left side of the area to take two brilliant touches enabling him to get past Luke Young before firing a right-footed shot into the far corner past Paddy Kenny.
QPR began very brightly with five attempts on goal in the opening six or so minutes, the best coming from Akos Buzsaky whose long range attempt tested Tim Krul, with the R's forwards doing everything in their power to close down Newcastle's defence and it almost came to fruition when Shaun Wright-Phillips received a misplaced pass at the top of the area only to see his fierce shot skim off the crossbar with Krul well beaten in the 16th minute.
Just after the 20-minute mark, Magpies midfielder Yohan Cabaye required a stretcher off the pitch after what seemed a fairly straightforward challenge from Shaun Derry although he did receive a yellow card for his actions with the Frenchman sustaining an ankle injury.
Jay Bothroyd was desperately unlucky with his curling attempt from outside the box on the left side which hit Krul's far upright a couple of minutes before Taylor forced Kenny to make save with his whipped goalbound shot from 25 yards.
Bothroyd had a great chance to level early in the second half but his right foot abilities let him down as he blasted over the crossbar from close range before he forced a quality save from Krul from an angled attempt.
The 70th minute saw R's keeper Kenny come right out of his area to force a ball to the boundary and whilst he was making his way back, Jonas Gutierrez swung in a left-footer from the right which was goalbound but the visiting defence got back to help their stranded gloveman.
Newcastle were able to hold onto possession in the final 15 or so minutes to see off a QPR outfit who were perhaps unlucky not to score but nevertheless could not breach the Toon goal as Alan Pardew's men went above Liverpool to sixth and equal on points with Arsenal who take on Swansea City next.
The R's will have to go back to the drawing board as they have now lost six of their past eight and have not won since November 19.
TRIBAL ASKS: Another solid win for Newcastle. Are they capable of regaining that early-season form to produce a top-five finish?
Sports Direct Arena, Newcastle