QPR 2 Norwich City 1
- Credit: Paul Chesterton/Focus Images Ltd
Norwich City slumped to a fourth straight Championship defeat at QPR, after playing all bar the first two minutes with 10 men following Martin Olsson's red card.
The Swedish defender was dismissed for handling the ball on his own goal line in a last-ditch attempt to claw the ball out but QPR's Tjaronn Chery missed the spot kick. Conor Washington opened the scoring before Sebastian Polter added a second prior to the interval.
Steven Naismith glanced home a late header after Jacob Murphy had rattled the cross bar minutes earlier but City's late salvo was in vain with Alex Neil's men now picking up just one point from their last five league games.
Neil signalled his intent with six changes from the line up that lost 3-2 at home to Leeds prior to the international break. John Ruddy was back for his first Championship appearance since August 13 with Michael McGovern dropping to the bench. Big-money January signing Timm Klose made way for Seb Bassong to partner Ryan Bennett in his first league outing since September 28, with Alex Tettey restored to central midfield after suspension. Wes Hoolahan was among the substitutes with Alex Pritchard not included in the matchday squad. Naismith made his first league start since the 3-0 Championship defeat at Birmingham and Nelson Oliveira led the line in his first Championship start for the club as Cameron Jerome made way.
City made a disastrous start with Olsson red-carded inside the opening seconds for denying QPR a goalscoring opportunity in trying desperately to claw out a deep throw, while lying on the pitch across his own goal line after City failed to clear an initial throw-in. Referee Duncan had no hesitation in awarding the hosts a spot kick and dismissing Olsson but Chery dragged the penalty wide of Ruddy's left-hand post.
Norwich conceded from a deep corner in the 21st minute, when the unmarked Washington swept home four yards out after Polter rose unchallenged.
Polter then made it two in the 27th minute when he burst onto a long clearance to race beyond the flat-footed Norwich defence and slot a low angled finish between Ruddy's legs.
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Ruddy denied the same player just past the hour mark with Rangers in total control and Norwich struggling to get beyond the halfway line, bar the odd sporadic counter.
Murphy's long range curling effort in the 72nd minute had Alex Smithies beaten but cannoned back into play off the top of his bar.
Oliveira then had genuine penalty claims turned down when he appeared to be shoved at the near post trying to attack Robbie Brady's centre.
Naismith dragged City back into the contest when he glanced home Jacob Murphy's cross six yards out in the 78th minute following good retrieval work from Jerome.
• QPR: Smithies, Hall, Onuoha, Lynch, Cousins, Washington, Chery, Polter (Sylla 82), Robinson (Sandro 45), Luongo (Shodipo 66), Perch. Subs (not used): Ingram, Borysiuk, El Khayati, Ngbakoto.
• Booking: Lynch (foul on Brady, 80)
• Goals: Washington (21), Polter (27)
• Norwich: Ruddy, Martin, Bennett, Bassong, Olsson, Tettey, Dorrans, Jacob Murphy (Josh Murphy 88), Naismith, Brady, Oliveira (Jerome 75). Subs (not used): McGovern, Whittaker, Hoolahan, Klose, Lafferty.
• Goal: Naismith (78)
• Bookings: Tettey (dissent, 2); Naismith (ungentlemanly conduct, 37); Dorrans (foul on Lynch, 45)
• Sending off: Olsson (2)
• Time added on: 4 minutes / 3 minutes
• Referee: Scott Duncan (Northumberland)
• Attendance: 17,187 (3,214 away fans)