TEN-MAN Norwich City were beaten 2-1 by Queens Park Rangers despite a spirited late fightback.
Martin Olsson saw red inside the first two minutes after handballing on the line, but Tjaronn Chery screwed his penalty wide as Rangers initially failed to take advantage.
The depleted Canaries held their own until their defence was breached on 21 minutes, Sebastian Polter nodding down a corner for Conor Washington to guide home from close range.
Polter himself then got on the scoresheet six minutes later, racing behind Norwich's defence before sliding his finish underneath John Ruddy as any hopes of grinding a result out with ten men looked to fade fast for the visitors.
QPR continued on the ascendancy after the break and City have Ruddy to thank when he got down superbly to his right to keep out Washington's effort with half an hour left.
City edged back into it and Jacob Murphy found the frame of the goal by curling a shot past Alex Smithies - Alex Neil followed this up by bringing on fresh legs in the shape of Cameron Jerome.
It was Steven Naismith who pulled the goal back though, the Scot guiding a header deftly into the corner after Murphy had supplied the cross - but QPR held on to ultimately extend Norwich's barren run.
HOW THEY LINED UP
With the Canaries winless in five in all competitions, Neil rung the changes as six new faces came into his starting eleven.
Ruddy returned in goal, with Sebastien Bassong replacing Timm Klose in central defence. Alex Tettey returned from suspension, while Murphy returned on the right wing.
City's two other switches saw Steven Naismith replace Wes Hoolahan and Nelson Oliveira lead the line in place of Jerome, the Portuguese striker's first league start since joining the Club.
Neil had spoken of renewed optimism after the international break but his side got off to the worst possible start in front of the travelling supporters.
A goalmouth scramble with not even a minute on the clock saw Olsson allegedly use the his arm to stop the ball from going over the line, and the Swedish full-back was shown a straight red card by Scott Duncan.
Even though Chery spurned the opportunity to put his side ahead from the spot, the reality of playing the next 89 minutes a man down hit with Neil's men two goals down at the interval.
WHAT IT MEANS
It's now six matches without a victory for the Canaries, but heart can be taken with the way they dug in and pushed QPR all the way in this one.
That fight is what will eventually turn this poor run of results around, with Derby their next opponents in a week's time.
At the end of play on Saturday, City dropped down to sixth place in the division below Birmingham City, who had edged out Bristol City at St Andrew's.
Conor Washington (21), Sebastian Polter (27) - Canaries
: Steven Naismith (78)
QUEENS PARK RANGERS
: Smithies; Hall, Onouha (c), Lynch, Cousins, Washington, Chery, Polter (Sylla 82), Robinson (Sandro 45), Luongo (Shodipo 66), Perch
. Subs not used
: Ingram (GK), Borysiuk, El Khayati, Ngbakoto
: Ruddy; Martin (c), Bennett, Bassong, Olsson; Tettey, Dorrans; Ja. Murphy, Naismith (Jo. Murphy 88), Brady; Oliveira (Jerome 75). Subs not used
: McGovern (GK), Whittaker, Hoolahan, Klose, Lafferty.
: Scott Duncan
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