Team: Kenny, Hill, Walker, Connolly, Gorkss, Derry, Taarabt (Smith), Buzsaky (Leigertwood), Mackie, Ephraim (Agyemang), Helguson.
Subs Not Used: Cerny, Orr, Faurlin, Clarke.
Attendance: 18,059 (including 3,122 Norwich fans)
It was a frustrating game although we started brightly and full of confidence. No doubt, it was a loss to lose Buzsaky, but Leigertwood to replace him ??? I give in, he was so off the pace and what was Faurlin on the bench for if he wasn’t fit ? Two weeks off for the majority of the players, yet we looked jaded as the game went on. Once again we looked solid at the back with the centre backs hardly putting a foot wrong, but we didn’t have enough craft to break them down, we simply ran out of ideas. One or two players were just not at it and a penalty given that never was. Kyle Walker was outstanding…our best attacking forward ! Shaun Derry was solid once again. As for Norwich, there was nothing very clever about them, but they did a job and must of been delighted.
Wes Hoolahan missed a first-half penalty for Norwich City as the Canaries held Championship leaders QPR in an engrossing goalless draw. Hoolahan pulled his spot-kick wide after Clint Hill had felled Grant Holt in the penalty area. Adel Taarabt was central to QPR’s threat, but was wayward with two promising efforts for the home side. QPR’s Kaspars Gorkss was denied by a goal-line clearance from Andrew Crofts late on to ensure it remained goalless. It preserved QPR’s record of having not conceded a goal at Loftus Road this season, but it was the first time that Norwich had failed to score away from home in the league under Paul Lambert.
Norwich went close to scoring in the opening stages when home keeper Paddy Kenny saved well to deny Holt’s toe-poke finish. City were handed their golden opportunity to open the scoring from the spot in the 28th minutes, but Hoolahan spurned it with a tame effort that he dragged wide. Holt was proving a menace to the home side at both ends – blocking well to deny Heidar Helguson and then forcing Kenny into another neat save with an angled drive. As so often so far this season, Taarabt was proving to be QPR’s chief creative force. Loftus Road held its breath on the hour mark when Helguson ‘s header fell invitingly for the Moroccan on the edge of the area, but the midfielder’s aim was wayward. With 10 minutes remaining Gorkss’ header was looping into the Canaries’ net until Crofts flung out a boot as QPR were forced to settle for a point that sees their league-lead cut to four points.
The stats reveal that we had 50% of the possession, 5 shots on target and the visitors managed just 4 plus a penalty miss of course. Helguson headed wide from 10 yards and a corner from Taarabt found Mackie, who then knocked the ball back to Gorkss who thumped it just wide of the post. Norwich should of taken the lead but Kenny somehow saved a powerful shot, I think with his knees. Then the visitors had an even better opportunity to go in front in the 27th minute when Mr Penn pointed to the spot after Clint Hill got into a tangle with Grant Holt and they both went down in a heap. However, justice was done when Hoolahan screwed his penalty kick about a foot wide of the post. Midway or so through the half and Buzsaky was replaced by Leigertwood and I have to say that he struggled to keep pace with the game and his passing was atrocious !
Rangers probably edged the second half, although Norwich looked dangerous when they counter-attacked and on one occasion in particular, a quick move resulted in a good opportunity being wasted. Walker was superb again and he certainly enjoys going forward. He belted the ball from at least 25 yards, but unfortunately it hit Mackie before going just over the bar. An unmarked Helguson headed over and later Gorkss was denied a late winner when his header was stopped on the line by Andrew Crofts. Elsewhere, Cardiff had recovered from being 0-2 down at home to Bristol City, but fought back to nail a win and therefore cut our lead at the top to 4 points.