Shola Ameobi came off the bench to inflict a first defeat on Harry Redknapp as QPR manager to hand Newcastle a priceless three points at St James’ Park.

The Magpies stalwart struck with 10 minutes left as Alan Pardew’s men won for only the second time in their last nine league games to move five points clear of the relegation zone.

It meant Rangers would spend Christmas firmly stranded in the bottom three as their revival under Redknapp came to a shuddering half in a rain sodden North East after a four game unbeaten run.

For 80 minutes the visitors looked good value for a point with a sturdy defensive performance, led by Ryan Nelsen, making life extremely difficult for Demba Ba and Papiss Cisse as the Senegalese duo hit another bum note in attack.

Clear goalscoring opportunities were sparse in an uninspiring first half and the one time Ba and Cisse managed to engineer a feasible link up the latter was denied by an excellent last ditch tackle from Fabio.

Ba then fired two free kicks well over the bar in quick succession just before the break as the St James’ crowd began to get restless watching their side fail to break down the visiting rearguard.

Their mood didn’t improve in the second half as Djibril Cisse went close after being set up by Adel Taarabt before voicing their displeasure with Alan Pardew’s decision to withdraw Cisse in place of Ameobi on the hour mark.

And the droves of supporters that booed their managers decision were tucking into large slices of humble pie 20 minutes later when Ameobi turned in the penalty area and fired past Robert Green for his first league goal in nine months.

Fellow sub Sylvain Marveaux went close to sealing the vicorty with two efforts that were saved by Green as Newcastle climbed to 14th ahead of a Boxing Day trip to Manchester United without midfield enforcer Cheick Tiote who picked up his fifth booking of the season.

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