A stunning goal from Harrison Reed ensured Norwich City picked up their first victory of the 2017-18 Sky Bet Championship season, beating QPR 2-0 at Carrow Road.
Nelson Oliveira gave City the lead early in the second half, finishing neatly after a Mario Vrancic through ball, before Reed made sure of the points with a 25-yard piledriver with 10 minutes to play.
Daniel Farke made five changes from the weekend defeat to Sunderland and altered his starting formation, deciding to go with a 4-1-4-1 setup. Ivo Pinto returned at right-back with Wes Hoolahan on the right side of midfield, Vrancic in the middle and Josh Murphy on the left. Oliveira replaced Cameron Jerome up front.
QPR remained unchanged for the third game in a row and it was their long-serving striker Jamie Mackie who had the game’s first chance, forcing Angus Gunn into action with a curling effort on seven minutes.
City had to be patient in the opening stages as their opponents were happy to keep possession but Oliveira, from a tight angle, could only hit the side netting on 13 minutes.
That sparked the Canaries into action and they dominated the next 25 minutes, first going close with Marcel Franke who had a firm header palmed away by Alex Smithies and then via Murphy, who did well to beat his man but his cross was cleared just yards from the goal line.
Vrancic had a similar opportunity to Murphy on 34 minutes but his low cross was again cleared away well by the QPR defence.
The visitors finished the half strongly without really threatening Gunn’s goal as the teams went into half-time level.
City came out firing in the second half and took the lead four minutes after the whistle. Hoolahan had time on the right to pick out Vrancic on the edge of the box and, out of the corner of his eye, the Bosnian spotted Oliveira to his right. He slid the ball through to the Canaries striker who slotted under Smithies for his second of the season.
QPR responded well to going behind when, moments later, a cross from the right was nodded by Mackie to the feet of Freeman who should have done better as he shot straight at Gunn.
City slowed the burst of QPR pressure though and had a couple of decent openings in the minutes that followed. Oliveira shot over after gaining a yard of space before Murphy slid the ball through to Hoolahan whose touch was too heavy and allowed Smithies to gather at his feet.
QPR’s best chance to level the scores came on the hour mark. Substitute and new signing Kazenga Lua Lua had a stinging effort beaten away by Gunn but only as far as Mackie who cut back to Washington. Luckily for City, Zimmermann did brilliantly to usher the ball back to the City keeper.
Both sides had their share of possession until the 82nd minute when City settled the contest in sensational fashion. He may be a defensive midfielder by trade but Reed showed he has a moment of magic in his boots in the attacking third as well – the Southampton loanee had space around 25 yards from goal and found the top corner with a beautiful strike.
The piece of brilliance from City’s defensive midfielder, coupled with a neat first-half finish by Oliveira ensured the points would be staying in Norfolk as Farke’s men bounced back from Sunday’s defeat in the best possible way.