Penalty save from City stopper earns point at QPR
A MARK Bunn penalty save helped earn City a valuable away point against QPR in the Barclays Premier League.
The game proved to be a tale of two 'keepers as Bunn and his Rangers' counterpart, Brazilian Julio Cesar, produced outstanding saves to keep the scoresheet blank.
City's best chances fell to Robert Snodgrass and Wes Hoolahan but Cesar produced spectacular saves to deny both of them.
Bottom club QPR, desperate for a win to ease their relegation fears, were awarded a penalty in the second half when 'keeper Bunn brought down Jamie mackie. But Bunn fully redeemed himself, flinging himself to his left to palm away Adel Taarabt's low spot kick.
After the game Hughton told Canaries Player: "I think that's a really good point. For me QPR are a side in very good form at the moment and have bought very well in the transfer market and have a strong squad.
"They're at home and every game in this league is difficult away from home and I think you have to look at it as a good point that we deserved.
"Mark Bunn's save is a big moment and I think had they scored at that time it would've been a really disappointing one for us I think because we had chances before that."
The Canaries were unchanged from their 1-1 draw with Spurs in midweek, with new signing Luciano Becchio named on the bench.
QPR gave debuts to central defender Christopher Samba and midfielder Andros Townsend, while Jamie Mackie led their line having recovered from a recent bout of tonsilitus.
In the opening minute Taarabt sliced a shot well wide of City's goal and then the Canaries had some good passing movement - which saw Hoolahan almost capitalise on a Snodgrass cross, but although he connected the ball went over Rangers' bar and the Irishman was also deemed offside.
On 10 minutes Taarabt wriggled through two tackles and dragged a shot across goal to the relief of the Yellow Army behind the goal.
Four minutes later and the Moroccan was in the thick of it again working his away into the penalty area and placing a neat pass to Mackie, who under pressure from Turner put the ball just beyond the far post.
City overcame this period of pressure from Rangers and Snodgrass met a Garrido cross but was unable to control it under a good challenge from a defender.
An early substitution for the Canaries came on 24 minutes with Pilkington picking up an injury and Elliott Bennett replaced him.
Three minutes later and Snodgrass again ha a headed opportunity, stooping to meet Hoolahan's cross but unfortunately it was straight at Cesar who got down to claim.
The Canaries were getting more into their running through midfield and putting the Londoners under pressure with crosses into their box.
With 10 minutes of the half to play Wright-Phillips shot wide under pressure from Garrido.
City were awarded a free-kick centrally 25 yards out after Elliott Bennett was held back from breaking through - but unfortunately Snodgrass couldn't get enough bend on it and it went wide.
Centre-back Michael Turner had to receive treatment after picking up a bloody nose - City forced to defend a free-kick without him which they did successfully before the big defender returned to action.
A Taarabt corner clipped the top of the crossbar a minute before half-time.
Half-time: QPR 0, Norwich City 0
Two minutes in and QPR had a great chance to take the lead. Having been awarded a free-kick far right Taarabt delivered a ball straight across the box but amongst a number of bodies both home and away no one could get that final touch to see it in to the back of the net.
Javier Garrido picked up the first caution of the game from referee Jon Moss for a foul on Shaun Wright-Phillips.
On 53 minutes Julio Cesar pulled off a wonder save to deny Hoolahan giving City the lead - the Dubliner connecting well with Snodgrass' right-wing cross. From the resulting corner Holt was first denied with a block, then Turner from another flag-kick.
Wright-Phillips was replaced by Harry Redknapp with Bobby Zamora to partner Jamie Mackie up front for Rangers.
But a big talking point came with 55 minutes of the game played - Mackie winning the hosts a penalty kick after Mark Bunn clipped the Scot, with the City stopper receiving a yellow card for the challenge. Adel Taarabt stepped up and hit a low effort to the right but Bunn went the right way and denied the Moroccan with a great stop to make up for his mistake.
The Canaries were now living dangerously and Michael Turner conceded another free-kick right on the edge of the penalty area to give Taarabt yet another shooting chance - which thankfully went over the bar.
QPR continued their pressure when Bunn was forced to parry a stinging Taarabt drive.
Cesar was then called into action firstly turning away a Bradley Johnson effort from outside the area and then to parry a Snodgrass cross.
Alex Tettey picked up a booking for a foul on Traore. The resulting free-kick saw Samba glance a header and Holt concede a corner with his clearance.
Mbia came off for Jermaine Jenas for his QPR debut on 69 minutes.
Shaun Derry saw yellow for a challenge on Hoolahan in the centre of midfield.
Rangers' last change came on 74 minutes with Fabio being relaced by Tal Ben Haim.
Andros Townsend had a low shot which was a comfortable save for Bunn. QPR were having more of the ball during this period but with 12 minutes left to play Cesar kept his side in the game to deny a great curling drive from Snodgrass.
Turner received a caution for a challenge on Mackie right on the D. But the City wall did its job to block Taarabt's free-kick.
With eight minutes left Zamora met Townsend's cross at the back post but sent his header wide under pressure from Martin.
The game was opening up with both teams breaking - firstly Holt hitting a Hoolahan cross first time but it was not a problem for Cesar. Then Rangers powered forward through Mackie only to be stopped by Bassong who was booked for his challenge on the striker.
Bunn had to be alert and get across well to deny an on-target effort by debutant Townsend.
Luciano Becchio made his first apperance in a City shirt on 87 minutes replacing Hoolahan.
It was proving a nervy few final minutes with both sides still attempting to push forward but it was to be a day for defenders which saw the spoils shared.
Final score: QPR 0, Norwich City 0
QPR: Cesar, Traore, Derry, Samba, Hill, Taarabt, Wright-Phillips (Zamora 54), Mackie, Fabio (Ben Haim 74), Townsend, Mbia (Jenas 69). Subs not used: Green, Park, Granero, Bothroyd.
CITY: Bunn, Martin, Johnson, Bassong, Turner, Snodgrass, Holt (c), Pilkington (E. Bennett 24), Hoolahan (Becchio 87), Garrido, Tettey. Subs not used: Camp, Whittaker, Howson, Jackson, R. Bennett.
Attendance: 17,543 (1617 away)