LONDON, England, September 13 – Colourful midfielder Joey Barton was handed the captain’s armband by QPR manager Neil Warnock on his debut against his former club Newcastle United here on Monday but was unable to deliver them victory in a 0-0 draw.
The 29-year-old Englishman – capped once for his country – signed for QPR on a free transfer last month after falling out with the Newcastle management and board.
However, while he along with gifted Moroccan Adel Taraabt produced sparkling performances in a match that the hosts largely dominated they were unable to find the finishing touch to give them the three points but it at least ended a run of three home defeats.
The draw also allowed Newcastle to maintain their unbeaten start to the season – it sees them go to fourth in the table – which is their best since the 1995-96 season when they ended up finishing second.
QPR had some great chances to put their opponents away with another of Warnock’s astute transfer window signings Shaun Wright-Phillips going closest with a chip on 39 minutes but Steven Taylor did brilliantly to hook the ball away off the line.
Indeed Taylor had had to do that earlier in the half this time from as he nicked the ball off Alejandro Faurlin when he was sizing up knocking the ball home from close range.
However, other missed chances from Jay Bothroyd and veteran midfielder Shaun Derry, whose two missed headers illustrated why he hasn’t found the net in the past five years, could have been costly against a more ambitious team.
Barton, though he was booed throughout the match by the Newcastle fans when he touched the ball was rewarded at the end as the away fans applauded him off the pitch and he saluted them back.