Norwich City 0 QPR 1
PUBLISHED: 14:38 18 September 2008 | UPDATED: 13:21 24 August 2010
2008 Getty Images
By Ben Kosky MARTIN Rowlands first goal of the season earned 10-man Rangers their second win in three days and lifted them back to fourth place in the Championship. The QPR skipper s 32nd-minute free-kick proved to be a sufficient safety net in Wednesday
By Ben Kosky
MARTIN Rowlands' first goal of the season earned 10-man Rangers their second win in three days and lifted them back to fourth place in the Championship.
The QPR skipper's 32nd-minute free-kick proved to be a sufficient safety net in Wednesday's war of attrition at Carrow Road after Matthew Connolly had been sent off midway through the first half.
Ironically, the loss of Connolly probably helped to secure the Rs' victory as Kaspars Gorkss, brought on in the ensuing reshuffle, looked rock-solid in the face of Norwich pressure.
Rangers struggled to make headway against a Norwich defence tidily marshalled by Dejan Stefanovic, and the closest they got to goal was an Emmanuel Ledesma effort that sizzled just past the goalframe.
But, for the second time in a matter of months, the Rs found themselves down to 10 men at Carrow Road, with Connolly's 24th-minute lunge on Matty Pattison resulting in his second yellow card of the evening.
Yet it was the visitors who snatched the lead eight minutes later as City skipper Mark Fotheringham handled Ledesma's free-kick and the referee moved the ball forward to the edge of the area, where Rowlands stepped up to drill home.
Dexter Blackstock had a golden opportunity to double his side's advantage, but headed Ledesma's free-kick over the bar, and Rangers settled down to soak up the pressure in the second half.
Pattison's drive was deflected behind and Gorkss' challenge denied Antoine Sibierski an equaliser, but Norwich - who brought on former QPR striker Jamie Cureton to try and break the deadlock - struggled to forge any clear openings.
Fotheringham went close with a curling free-kick that Radek Cerny palmed behind and the keeper then dived to smother a Ryan Bertrand cross-cum-shot as Rangers dug in to preserve their lead.
In a tense finish, Cureton's effort was scrambled clear after Cerny flapped at a cross, Sibierski's attempt at a spectacular volley found thin air, and Stefanovic headed wide at the far post.
But it was not enough to save Norwich and Rangers - who ended a horrendous run of seven defeats in nine at Carrow Road - now find themselves in the unusual position of breathing heavily down the necks of the Championship pacemakers.
QPR: Cerny; Ramage, Connolly, Stewart, Delaney; Mahon, Leigertwood; Ledesma (Buzsaky 82), Rowlands, Cook (GORKSS* 30); Blackstock (Agyemang 78). Subs not used: Camp, Parejo.