Norwich City v QPR

Team: Kenny, Hill (Orr), Gorkss, Walker, Connolly, Derry, Taarabt (Tofas), Faurlin, Clarke, Mackie, Helguson (Agyemang).
Subs Not Used: Cerny, Borrowdale, Rowlands, Hulse.
Attendance: 26,273

The first half Rangers performance was very poor – probably on a par with the Watford game. We looked all over the place with a weak defence and no real attack to speak of. If Norwich had gone in 2-0 up at half time there would have been no reason to complain.

We started far more positively in the second half. The sending off of Connolly, for a second yellow card actually spurred the team on and we then woke up and started to have a real go at Norwich. With sharper finishing, we could have nicked a point. Overall though, Norwich deserved the win and Paddy Kenny kept us in it at times. He really is having a terrific season and has pulled off some superb saves.

Adel had a very quiet day and Tofas who replaced him, was practically invisible. Bradley Orr did pretty well after he came on for Clint Hill and ‘Dave’ was a fair replacement for Helguson, although I do think he could have put more pressure on the Norwich defence and only came close with one header. Presumably Tommy Smith was missing due to the terms of his loan deal. Fortunately that nonsense will be all over come Tuesday when the transfer finally goes through officially. Lets hope that if we plan any signings soon, loanees or otherwise, we and the FA both have fax machines that work. I hope they go into action initially with a renewal of Kyle Walker’s loan from Spurs. If not, I suspect that we will really miss him – a true future star.

Yet again, the Gods were with us and the results generally went in our favour with Leeds getting a late equaliser v Boro’ and Cardiff getting thumped at Bristol City. A few more results like that and Dave Jones will be long gone by the time of our trip to Cardiff on St George’s Day. We should not be too upset by the result. We all know that we’re going to lose occasionally and we will bounce back. I’m glad that we’ve got a tough game coming up on Monday against Bristol City.

Martin Percival

A sheen which has set Queen’s Park Rangers apart is starting to show some ring-rust. The Championship leaders have given onlookers the impression they might run away with the division but endured their own vulnerabilities once more. A six-point lead is commanding but fans expecting a procession may need to brace themselves for a grind. An effervescent Norwich City condemned them to their third defeat in five league fixtures but disrupting the London club’s surge was an afterthought.

Paul Lambert has concocted a feistiness and conviction in his players which has rooted them in promotion contention. His counterpart Neil Warnock will not feel anxiety just yet but he may ponder the short-termism the club has shrouded itself in recently with some unease. His predecessors, after all, have not been given limitless time to realise the ambitions of demanding owners. It was disconcerting for QPR followers to again witness the limpness of their side when Adel Taarabt is ineffective. When Russell Martin disarmed him there was a slump of the shoulders and drop of the head. It is unsettling and intriguing in equal measure to think QPR’s fate rests largely on such a temperamental footballer. A cynical kick on Russell Martin after half time should have brought Taarabt a red card and Warnock substituted him soon after.

Norwich, supposedly weakened by injuries, wrong-footed everyone with a dynamic performance. Russell Martin and Adam Drury rampaged forward from full-back, the latter with tremendous energy having barely featured. Zak Whitbread, with one appearance under his belt, was commanding. Through the middle, Wes Hoolahan, Crofts and Korey Smith surpassed Alejandro Faurlin and Shaun Derry. Chris Martin sped away from Faurlin but saw his shot blocked by Clint Hill. Russell Martin drove in the loose ball. “Top of the league, you’re having a laugh,” the Norwich supporters bellowed. Lambert refused to confirm his side as promotion contenders. “I’m just hanging in, floating in that water. Ask me on the last day of the season if we have a chance,” he said with a wry smile.

They penned the visitors back throughout. Chris Martin fired at Kenny with the goal gaping in the second half yet self-harm was as much a threat to QPR as Norwich’s vitallity. Matthew Connolly, the last man, was sent off for bringing down Grant Holt. “The officials should spot a deliberate handball from Holt. He’s got him sent off,” Warnock groaned. Kenny denied Chris Martin at the death but QPR could only fuel the belief of their pursuers.

Neil Trainis – The Telegraph

(The above pic were taken by Martin and used with his permission)