QUEENS Park Rangers gave their supporters little cheer in their final home Premier League game of the season.
Newcastle United assured their safety in the process, but had to come from a goal down as Loïc Remy was composure personified to roll home a first half penalty.
Mr Probert levelled it up with an innocuous penalty decision given against the much-maligned Jose Bosingwa – Hatem Ben Arfa rifled the ball beyond Rob Green with aplomb.
Bosingwa’s cataclysmic back-pass saw Jonas Gutierrez and Green collide and the ball fell to Yoan Gouffran to roll into an empty net – cue the crowd turning on the Portugese defender.
Rob Elliott was given his second yellow for carrying the ball outside the area, but Rangers failed to test Steve Harper as they slumped to another disappointing defeat.
Harry Redknapp made two changes from the side that lost against Arsenal last weekend. Ji Sung Park dropped to the bench with the equally underwhelming Junior Hoilett taking his place in the line-up. Jose Bosingwa replaced the outgoing Tal Ben-Haim. Stephane Mbia started despite getting fined for his Twitter indiscretions during the week.
Rob Green started behind a back four of Bosingwa, Nedum Onuoha, Clint Hill and Armand Traoré. Andros Townsend, Mbia, Jermaine Jenas and Hoilett comprised the midfield quartet with Loïc Remy partnering Bobby Zamora in attack.
Newcastle United started with Rob Elliott behind a defence of Mathieu Debuchy, Mike Williamson, Fabricio Coloccini and Mapou Yanga-Mbiwa. Chiek Tiote and Yohan Cabaye were at the heart of midfield, while Yoan Gouffran, Hatem Ben Arfa and Jonas Gutierrez played off Pappis Cisse.
KICK OFF: QUEENS PARK RANGERS v NEWCASTLE UNITED
The game kicked off in blustery conditions at a wet and windy Loftus Road and pleasant at this stage of the season to play a team still fighting for their survival in the Premier League. Newcastle elected not to take the full allocation of tickets as they typically boisterous support populated the upper School End.
Jose Bosingwa and Stephane Mbia were singled out by some supporters for treatment, given their various indiscretions this season and elements of fans having a last chance to make their feelings known for the shenanigans that have gone on both on and off the field.
The game was struggling for flow and structure and despite QPR having a greater deal of possession, chances were few and far between. Indeed it took until the tenth minute for the first opportunity and it presented the first goal of the fixture.
Junior Hoilett marauded down the left and drew a swipe from full-back Mathieu Debuchy that reduced the under performing wide-man to rubble. Mr Probert had no hesitation in pointing to the spot, despite some protests from a couple of visiting players.
LOÏC REMY, having rejected Newcastle United to join QPR, stepped up and rolled home into the bottom left hand corner to hand Rangers the advantage. He has now surely put himself in the shop window for a move to a bigger club than today’s visitors.
Newcastle had very little in riposte despite having a greater deal of the ball. Yohan Cabaye rather summing up their luck at present by slamming a speculative drive into the top tier of a home support that had their end of season spirit in full flow.
Then out of nothing, Newcastle were level from the penalty spot. Jose Bosingwa penalised for holding on to the coat tails of Ben Arfa. There was not hesitation from Mr Probert for what was an extremely innocuous foul. Holding of shirts was happening throughout the opening ten minutes, but this incident had bizarrely been singled out for treatment.
HATEM BEN ARFA cared little as he strode forward with confidence and powered home a powerful penalty just inside the underside of the bar and well beyond Rob Green that hardly saw the rasping spot kick.
Some more good play from Newcastle culminated in Papiss Cisse powering a header beyond Green at his near post, but fortunately for QPR and Green, the Senegalese forward was flagged for offside by the assistant referee.
Bobby Zamora was performing admirably against the want-away defender Fabricio Coloccini knocking the ball aside for Hoilett to strike on goal – Elliot fielding the effort well at his near post and denying QPR a chance to retake the lead.
The slow, languid and lazy Bosingwa cost QPR once more however, his carefree back-pass saw Green having to race out of his area to challenge for the ball with Jonas Gutierrez. The ball rather unfortunately deflected to YOAN GOUFFRAN who rolled home comfortably from distance.
If the atmosphere for Bosingwa was sour before, it was poisonous now. Booed fiercely with every touch, the Portuguese defender would be constantly reminded of his unwillingness to appear for the club, and his role in a shambling season for Queens Park Rangers.
Cabaye chanced his arm once more with a drive from distance, again misguided. Rangers however lurched from the field with that sinking feeling once more, as a nervy Newcastle side were allowed to snatch the lead with consummate ease.
HALF TIME: QUEENS PARK RANGERS 1-2 NEWCASTLE UNITED
Harry Redknapp moved to appease supporters and ease the pressure on his side by hooking Stephane Mbia and Jose Bosingwa; Shaun Derry and Fabio da Silva came on in their stead and sparked an immediate improvement in proceedings.
Newcastle responded with a change of their own – Cheick Tiote left the field with an injury and utility player James Perch came on in his stead to sit alongside Cabaye. It took a while to register any opportunities of note however with both sides lacking the quality.
Hoilett managed to bundle his way across the field and engineer a right footed drive, it drifted aimlessly wide of the left hand upright and rather make a damp squib of what was a promising foray across from the left.
Shaun Derry was then involved heavily, first wincing as he attempted to engineer a volley on target – cutting across the ball which flew well wide of the right hand upright. He then had to be at his best to deny the visitors at the other end.
The ball bounced around in the heart of the area rather ominously only for Derry to be in the right place at the right time to hook the ball off the line, much to the agonising gasps of the visiting supporters that populated the away end.
Rob Elliott had been cautioned previously for time-wasting – kicking the ball away essentially – and rather foolishly carried the ball outside his area. Another of many decisions made by seemingly no-one. A referee’s long pause, no flag and still the decision was being made.
Elliott was dismissed with Steve Harper replacing Ben Arfa in a fairly predictable change. Rangers threw on Adel Taarabt for Hoilett in a last roll of the dice in this encounter, with little over five minutes remaining.
Andros Townsend cut in from the right and curled a left-footed drive inches over the bar as Mr Probert – pointing to his watch throughout a time-interrupted second period – added on a paltry three minutes for Rangers to attempt to salvage a point.
It didn’t come for QPR however who slumped to another in a seemingly endless string of disappointing defeats. The lack of quality in both teams was evident, but Newcastle have another season at the very least to put it right – time has evidently run out for Rangers.
Fans bizarrely invaded the pitch and those electing to run to the visiting supporters were treated to a chorus of ‘We’ll meet again’ from the merry travelling few – probably a good thing that Bosingwa and Mbia weren’t on the pitch after all.
FINAL WHISTLE: QUEENS PARK RANGERS 1-2 NEWCASTLE UNITED