(0) vs NEWCASTLE (0)
QPR manager Neil Warnock heralded the start of a new era after his overhauled side outclassed Newcastle but failed to crown their dominance with a winning goal.
Controversial recent signing Joey Barton captained Rangers on his debut and Shaun Wright-Phillips stole the show with a dazzling display.
His and Adel Taarabt’s trickery deserved better finishing than that provided by the wasteful Jay Bothroyd, but Warnock was delighted with the improvement nonetheless.
“This is the first game of our season for me,” he said. “I couldn’t have asked any more. You don’t normally dominate for 90 mins in the Premier League and we weren’t far off that tonight. I think we can go anywhere home and away and try and win the game – and thats a step in the right direction.”
An improbable stalemate lifts QPR to 11th in the top flight, while Newcastle climb to a heady fourth.
Warnock handed debuts to five signings from last month’s deadline-busting trolley-dash, including Barton, given him the armband against the team who discarded him.
But the midfielder was quickly overshadowed by Wright-Phillips and Taarabt, who created chance after chance in a first half of near-total QPR dominance – only for Bothroyd to repeatedly fail to finish.
First Bothroyd volleyed over, next he was unable to meet a teasing delivery across the six-yard box, and finally he got the ball caught under his feet from the former Manchester City star’s cut-back.
No wonder, then, that Wright-Phillips had a go himself next time, beating Fabricio Coloccini to the ball and chipping Tim Krul beautifully. But this time Steven Taylor denied him under the crossbar.
Rangers looked certain to score and after the break Shaun Derry headed down and inches wide from a corner.
Wright-Phillips almost capped a fine debut with an exquisite winning goal with seven minutes left but, after slaloming past three defenders he swerved a shot narrowly wide.
Fernandes’ AirAsia signs sponsor deal
QPR have filled their vacancy for a shirt sponsor by signing a two-year deal with Air Asia and Malaysia Airlines. AirAsia was founded by Tony Fernandes, who completed a takeover of Rangers just weeks ago, and last month agreed an alliance with Malaysia Airlines, the national flag-carrier and a long-time rival. Malaysia Airlines appears on QPR’s home shirt – it was debuted last night – and AirAsia on away jerseys.