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18:46 2nd January 2012


A LATE winner from substitute Steve Morison was enough to see the Canaries past Queens Park Rangers for a hard-fought 2-1 win at Loftus Road.

The Canaries had fallen behind through Joey Barton's 11th minute strike, the Hoops' first real effort on goal after City had had the better of the early exchanges.

But with 10 minutes of the first half remaining Barton saw red after referee Neil Swarbrick adjudged the Rangers captain to have head-butted City's Bradley Johnson.

Anthony Pilkington put the Canaries level before half-time with a great left-footed shot past Paddy Kenny.

And although QPR continued to battle and both sides had chances to take all three points, it was the visitors who made the breakthrough on 83 minutes when substitute Morison was on hand to hit home Elliott Bennett's knockdown from Pilkington's cross.

Speaking on an excellent three Barclays Premier League points, City boss Paul Lambert said: "I thought we deserved it. I thought we started the game really well and got a foothold in it and I'm delighted.

"Obviously we changed the team around today because of the two games in such a short space of time and tiredness sets in.

"The lads who came in that haven't played for a while were excellent and it was a massive team performance."

Before the game there were five changes made to the side that drew two days previously with Fulham at Carrow Road.

Adam Drury returned to the defence, Kyle Naughton dropping to the bench. Simeon Jackson, who scored City's late equaliser on Saturday, also started partnering Grant Holt up front.

In midfield Anthony Pilkington was joined by Elliott Bennett and Simon Lappin, the Scot making his first league appearance of the season. Wes Hoolahan and David Fox were both on the bench.

QPR also made changes to their side that narrowly lost to Arsenal last time out, with new loan signing Federico Macheda from Man Utd starting on the bench.

The Canaries kicked the game off in the green and white of their away kit and it was a positive start for the visitors, Lappin winning and then taking a free-kick in the first minute of the game, which forced QPR to concede the first corner of the match.

City maintained good possession in the opening exchanges but it was the home side that opened the scoring with effectively their first attack of the game. Clint Hill made a burst down the left and his cross evaded the City defence but not

Hoops'captain Joey Barton, who was on hand to drive the ball into the back of the net to make it 1-0 on 11 minutes.

It was becoming quite a strong physical game with both sides looking to win the ball.

On 23 minutes the Canaries won another free-kick when Luke Young was accused of blocking Elliott Bennett. But unfortunately the Canaries couldn't make enough of Lappin's deep delivery into the box.

Just after the half-hour City had their best chance Pilkington on the right finding Jackson in the area but the Canadian took it first time and couldn't get a clean connection and the ball dribbled harmlessly past Paddy Kenny's near post.

Then on 35 minutes an important turning point arrived when QPR captain Joey Barton was dismissed for violent conduct - the midfielder was adjudged to have head-butted Bradley Johnson and referee Neil Swarbrick felt he had no choice but to dismiss the former Newcastle man.

On 42 minutes the Canaries were level through Anthony Pilkington, the winger picked the ball up and just outside the area let fly for the ball to nestle sweetly in the corner of the net for his fifth goal of the season.

Just before the break Heidar Helguson picked up a yellow card for a late challenge on Adam Drury.

QPR 1, Norwich City 1

Rangers made the first change of the game, Jamie Mackie replaced with Shaun Wright-Phillips and he looked to make an impact straight away with a low shot which Ruddy had to get down to smother.

On 50 minutes the Canaries won the first corner of the game after good work from Jackson far left and Wright-Phillips was proving a handful as he made a run two minutes later but Taarabt couldn't turn his searching ball into anything and the ball drifted out for a goal kick.

QPR had a great opportunity moments later when Ayala fouled Helguson about 20 yards from goal, the Spaniard picking up a booking. Taarabt stepped up and sent a curling effort goalwards, which Ruddy did well to turn onto the post and Drury mopped up the danger.

The game was opening up with Bennett hitting a low shot which Kenny had to save after the Canaries had built-up good pressure around the Rangers penalty area.

On 65 minutes Rangers pressed forward and Faurlin's strike was well-blocked by Zak Whitbread.

This was swiftly followed by a triple substitution by Paul Lambert. Holt, Lappin and Drury were replaced by Morison, Hoolahan and Fox - and City were now playing with three at the back.

The danger of a Faurlin drive which shaved the bar then saw City reply with pressure at the other end, Kenny having to be alert to gather a dangerous ball in into the box.

With 15 minutes left Morison glanced a Pilkington cross just past the post.

On 79 minutes there was a great moment of skill from Taarabt to set himself free in the box was only cut short by a well-executed defensive block by Ayala.

Macheda came on for Helguson and he looked to attack a ball into the box which Ruddy did well to punch clear before the striker could make contact.

But with eight minutes left the Canaries took the lead as a Pilkington cross was knocked on by Bennett and Steve Morison hit home his seventh of the season.

QPR made a late change DJ Campbell replacing Taarabt in the 84th minute.

Wes Hoolahan made a break in injury time racing through the middle but his final ball to Jackson was just too strong and Kenny sprinted out to clear. But the Canaries saw the rest of the game out and claimed the three points on offer at Loftus Road.

Final score
: QPR 1, Norwich City 2

Kenny, Hill, Derry, Gabbidon, Taarabt (Campbell 84), Faurlin, Mackie (Wright-Phillips 46), Barton (c), Young, Helguson (Macheda 81), Ferdinand. Subs not used: Cerny, Orr, Connolly, Hulse.
Ruddy, Martin, Drury (Fox 66), Johnson, Whitbread, Holt (c) (Morison 66), Jackson, Pilkington, Bennett, Lappin (Hoolahan 66), Ayala. Subs not used: Rudd, Surman, Wilbraham, Naughton.

    Data provided by Press Association


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