QPR 0 Norwich City 1
By Ben Kosky QPR S slim play-off hopes are fading fast after they crashed to their second straight home defeat against struggling Norwich. Paulo Sousa s side are now seven points adrift of the top six and have taken only three points from their last six C
By Ben Kosky
QPR'S slim play-off hopes are fading fast after they crashed to their second straight home defeat against struggling Norwich.
Paulo Sousa's side are now seven points adrift of the top six and have taken only three points from their last six Championship games - their poorest run of the season.
With Lee Cook out injured, Sousa reverted to his diamond formation on Tuesday but, while Jordi Lopez measured up well in the defensive midfield role, there was a complete dearth of attacking threat out wide.
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Heidar Helguson should have put the Rs ahead when he ran on to Wayne Routledge's through ball in the opening minute, but dragged the chance wide with the goal at his mercy.
Lopez's free-kick grazed the outside of the post, then Liam Miller surged forward and found Dexter Blackstock, whose effort looped off Jonathan Grounds and behind.
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But Rangers' early exuberance appeared to fade and Norwich's hopes were raised 13 minutes before the break when Croft went flying under a Lopez challenge and the referee pointed to the spot - only to change his mind after consulting the linesman and awarded a corner instead.
It was Rangers' turn to think the deadlock had been broken when David Marshall flapped at a corner and Helguson headed the ball over him, only for Grounds to block it on the line.
Only seconds had elapsed after the restart when the Canaries goalkeeper produced another unconvincing punch and Miller's lob from the edge of the box dropped just over.
Mikele Leigertwood finally forced Marshall into serious action with a swirling drive from the edge of the box that the goalkeeper leapt to tip over.
But it was Norwich who finally made the breakthrough midway through the second half as Wes Hoolahan got away from Kaspars Gorkss and cut the ball back for Darel Russell, whose low effort squirmed through the hands of Radek Cerny.
With Norwich hanging on grimly, Gorkss had an opportunity to redeem himself when Routledge's cross reached him at the far post, but the centre-back's header was snapped up by Marshall.
QPR: Cerny; Connolly, Stewart, Gorkss (Hall 87), Delaney; Miller (Ephraim 69), LOPEZ*, Leigertwood; Routledge; Blackstock, Helguson (Di Carmine 74). Subs not used: Mahon, Alberti.