Newcastle vs QPR match report: Moussa Sissoko strikes late to give Magpies sixth straight victory and continue resurgence

Newcastle 1 QPR 0: Magpies have won six in a row in all competitions as Alan Pardew has reason to smile

Click to follow

Newcastle are fourth. There was a need for a double-take yesterday, at ten to five, when the team embroiled in crisis for much of the campaign sat in a Champions League qualification place.

This sixth successive victory embellishes a run that no one, not even the most wildly optimistic supporter or biggest Mike Ashley sympathiser, could have seen coming.

Moussa Sissoko is the captain in waiting of this team according to Alan Pardew. That may take a while, given Fabricio Coloccini’s unexpected return to form this season, though in his absence through injury, it was Sissoko who drove an injury-ravaged side to victory against one of the worst opponents to turn up at St James’ Park in recent seasons.

The trucks taking the endless TV cables and production equipment will have turned quicker into Barrack Road than the front pairing of Bobby Zamora and Charlie Austin, and the defensive duo of Richard Dunne and Stephen Caulker. Queens Park Rangers were awful in their seventh defeat from seven games away from Loftus Road this season.

Yet the trundling visitors or the rampaging Sissoko were still not the story. Ryan Taylor is only playing football because of a dead man’s patellar tendon that he had put into his knee after his second major injury. In 32 months he had damaged ligaments and then his anterior cruciate ligament. They were long, lonely and dark months out of the game.

Yesterday was his first start in the Premier League in nearly three years and it had promised much: accurate corners, a shot saved by Robert Green and a lob tipped over by the QPR goalkeeper.

Karl Henry tackles Sammy Ameobi

Then, in the 32nd minute, he went to ground in the penalty area at the Gallowgate End and the tears he fought back immediately pointed towards another knee problem.

He was substituted after treatment and there were consoling hugs from former team-mate Joey Barton and from his manager Alan Pardew, who has done his utmost to keep the player’s spirits up during his recuperation. He was undergoing an MRI scan last night.

“When you’re a manager you live through some of that pain,” said Pardew. “He has to come in my office and we had many chats trying to keep his spirits up. I don’t want to go down that line with him again. I want him to come in and say, ‘It was a bit of a scare, I’m okay.’

Jack Colback and Bobby Zamora collide as they contest a high ball

“We’re sweating on Ryan. Fortunately, his surgeon was here from America. He’s gone to hospital with him for a scan. He’s felt an uncomfortableness in his knee. The win was tinged with sadness. He’s a person who does not deserve the trauma he’s had already, let along another trauma. Fingers crossed he’s okay.”

Newcastle just about deserved victory and could have wrapped it up in the closing moments when Papiss Cisse was denied by Joey Barton.

“I felt we played very well,” added Pardew. “The attitude of the players was first class. Ryan was pulling the strings early on. We carried a threat. Sammy (Ameobi) had his best game for us. Ayoze was terrific again and Moussa was the best player on the pitch by some distance.”

Harry Redknapp bore the look of a frustrated man all day.  “It looked like it was going to drift away to 0-0 and the goal came and we couldn’t get back into it,” he said. “Maybe we weren’t quite creative enough.”

Pardew celebrates with his team after Moussa Sissoko scores against QPR

That was phenomenally generous to his faltering side, who fell to the foot of the Premier League table.

Newcastle Utd: (4-2-3-1) Krul; Janmaat, Williamson, Dummett, Haïdara; Colback, R Taylor (Gouffran, 34); Cabella (Cissé, 68), Sissoko, Ameobi; Perez (Armstrong, 90)

QPR: (4-4-2) Green; Onuoha, Dunne, Caulker, Yun; Barton, Sandro (Kranjcar, 61), Henry (Hoilett, 82), Fer; Zamora, Austin

Referee: Chris Foy

Man of the match: Sissoko (Newcastle)

Match rating: 6/10