Norwich City 3 QPR 0
PUBLISHED: 12:06 28 April 2008 | UPDATED: 13:14 24 August 2010
By Ben Kosky IT looked like a case of mistaken identity – and it might actually have been better for Rangers if Lee Camp, rather than Damion Stewart, had received his marching orders. Not just because an uncharacteristic Camp howler gifted Norwich their t
By Ben Kosky
IT looked like a case of mistaken identity - and it might actually have been better for Rangers if Lee Camp, rather than Damion Stewart, had received his marching orders.
Not just because an uncharacteristic Camp howler gifted Norwich their third goal late in the game, more because a run-out for rookie goalkeeper Reece Crowther could have proved valuable in the long-term.
Referee Phil Joslin inexplicably ruled that Stewart's minimal contact with Ched Evans in the fourth minute was worthy of a red card, rather than Camp's subsequent challenge on the Canaries striker (right).
Either way, Rangers' reduction to 10 men at that stage effectively ended the contest, especially once Evans had fired jubilant Norwich ahead soon afterwards.
Rs boss Luigi de Canio's observations weighed towards the diplomatic: "In certain situations, the intention of the referee has to be formulated in a split second - therefore we accept it.
"Everyone out there is trying to do their job to the best of their ability. It's not my job to judge the referee and I'll keep my thoughts to myself.
"Being a goal down and a man down so early against a team that was more determined, we did what was possible and I think the boys fought well but congratulations to the opposition."
De Canio's assessment was accurate in that the Canaries made good use of their extra man, while QPR sacrificed their width in midfield to fill the void left by Stewart and created little as a result.
The visitors were still attempting to regroup when Darren Huckerby's cross was turned back by Jamie Cureton and looped off Gavin Mahon's knee for Evans to lash in the sixth-minute opener.
Norwich should have increased their lead in the first half, but Huckerby, Evans and Matty Pattison were all off target while Ryan Bertrand's effort beat Camp but struck the far post.
Dexter Blackstock worked hard to try and maintain some presence at the other end, but a left-foot finish that bobbled wide just before half-time was as good as it got for Rangers.
Former Rs striker Cureton could have scored either side of the break, turning Matthew Connolly before firing over and then forcing a save from Camp, who also kept out the follow-up from Evans.
But the QPR keeper was helpless 10 minutes into the second half when Mark Fotheringham's skidding shot spun off Zesh Rehman and into the corner.
After that, though, Camp seemed to adopt a kamikaze approach, bringing the ball well outside his area and losing it to Cureton, but Fotheringham's chip sailed over the bar.
But Camp didn't get away with it a second time, and was utterly stranded as substitute Darel Russell gleefully clipped the ball over him from 35 yards to make certain of Norwich's survival.
The occasion demanded icing on the cake from retirement-bound Dion Dublin and the veteran almost supplied it with an audacious effort from the halfway line, but the back-pedalling Camp denied him.
QPR: Camp; Mancienne, Stewart, Connolly, Delaney; Ainsworth (Leigertwood 8), Rowlands, Mahon, Ephraim (Rehman 8); BLACKSTOCK*, Balanta. Subs not used: Crowther, Barker, Lee.