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18:45 26th November 2011


SUPERSUBS Grant Holt and Wes Hoolahan combined to grab three priceless Barclays Premier League points against Neil Warnock's Queens Park Rangers at Carrow Road.

Captain for the day Russel Martin had fired City into the lead after 14 minutes but Rangers levelled after the break through Luke Young to leave the game finely poised.

But on 70 minutes the talismanic pairing of Holt and Hoolahan came off the bench - and within just three minutes they had linked up to provide the winner.

Steve Morison's first ball in was headed goalwards by Holt but blocked on the line by a defender - but when it came out again to Hoolahan on the right his excellent cross was side-footed home by Holt to secure the win.

City Manager Paul Lambert said after the match: "It's a massive win after getting beaten by Arsenal, and to bounce back again and to show the character we did when they got the equaliser was great.

"To be fair to QPR, I thought for the first 15 minutes [of the second-half] they put us on the back foot, and then they scored the goal. But after that I thought we regrouped, and I think we deserved to win the game.

"Overall I think we were the better side."

Before the game Lambert rang the changes following last Saturday's narrow defeat to Arsenal, with changes in every outfield department. Simeon Jackson was handed his first start of the season to partner Morison up front as Norwich employed a 4-4-2 formation. Andrew Surman and Anthony Pilkington started on left and right flanks respectively, with Andrew Crofts and Bradley Johnson in the centre of midfield.

Meanwhile in defence Kyle Naughton dropped to the bench to be replaced at right-back by on-loan Manchester United defender Ritchie De Laet.

City started the game brightly, with Jackson firing a seventh-minute effort straight at Cerny in the Rangers goal and Morison getting in behind only to be denied by the Czech keeper three minutes later.

But there was no stopping the Canaries and they duly took the lead in the 14th minute when Russell Martin pounced to fire home the loose ball after Surman's corner from the left was not cleared by the QPR defence.

QPR tried to respond and felt they might have had a penalty when Shaun Wright-Phillips tumbled over the out-stretched arms of John Ruddy in the City box, but referee Mark Clattenburg was well positioned and firmly waved away the appeals.

City were pressing well and after a spell of pressure Morison curled a useful effort from the edge of the area narrowly over the bar.

Rangers were still finding it hard to get into their stride, a Wright-Phillips free kick from the corner of City's box hit straight at Ruddy in the 37th minute - their best effort up to that point of the match.

Just before the break another Wright-Phillips free-kick flashed across the six-yard box and eluded both sets of players before dropping narrowly wide of the far post. Then in their next attack the City defence and midfield were caught in possession by the England winger as he raced clear, but Ruddy got down well to push his low drive away and Mackie slammed the rebound into the side-netting from an acute angle.

Norwich City 1, Queens Park Rangers 0

Five minutes after the break De Laet did really well to get back and force Traore to put the ball behind for a goal-kick, the QPR player taking a nasty-looking tumble over the digital ad boards in front of the Barclay in the process, though thankfully he was soon able to continue.

At the other end Jackson made space for himself to get a shot away but he dragged his low effort well wide of the post from 22 yards.

Both sides made substitutions in the 58th minute, Bothroyd replacing Hill for the visitors and Kyle Naughton coming on for De Laet for the Canaries.

But within a minute the game was level. Barnett's clearance fell straight to Mackie and although his powerful drive cannoned off the foot of the post, the loose ball fell to Luke Young, who showed good composure to drill it home from a tight angle and level the match.

In the 70th minute a big roar from the home crowd greeted the arrival of Grant Holt and Wes Hoolahan as they came on for Jackson and Pilkington.

And the two subs almost immediately combined to put the Canaries back in front. Morison's initial cross was met with a close-range header from Holt which a QPR defender blocked on the line but the ball fell for Irishman Hoolahan and his super left-foot cross from the right was fired into the back of the net by the Club captain.

In the 83rd minute there was a close shave for City as Luke Young's cross from the right bounced off the top of the crossbar but in general City coped well with QPR's efforts to find a late equaliser and gained a deserved victory for their efforts.

Final score:
Norwich City 2, Queens Park Rangers 1

Ruddy, Martin (c), Johnson, Morison, Crofts, Jackson (Holt 70), Surman, Pilkington (Hoolahan 70), Barnett, Tierney, De Laet (Naughton 58). Subs not used: Rudd, Fox, Bennett, Wilbraham.
Cerny, Hill (Bothroyd 58), Derry (Buzsaky 78), Gabbidon, Faurlin, Mackie, Traore, Young, Helguson, Wright-Phillips (Smith 79), Ferdinand (c). Subs not used: Putnins, Orr, Hall, Puncheon.

Mark Clattenburg

    Data provided by Press Association


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