Grant Holt scored within three minutes of coming off the bench to hand Norwich a well deserved win over fellow promoted side QPR at Carrow Road.
The Canaries captain had proved to be a useful impact sub in the last couple of weeks and was thrown into the action by manager Paul Lambert with the game poised at 1-1. It proved to be a shrewd decision as Holt bundled home Wes Hoolahan’s cross to secure victory and settle a entertaining encounter in Norfolk. Both sides are enjoying mid-table positions going into the festive period and it was the hosts who drew first blood when Russell Martin fired home the opener after 15 minutes. That lead was held until the hour mark with Rangers defender Luke Young slotting home his second goal in as many games to level the contest before Holt’s winner.
It was harsh on Neil Warnock’s side who deserved to take at least a point back to West London after they played their part in a thrilling game for the neutral supporter. The R’s went into the game full of confidence after beating Stoke at the Britannia Stadium last week whilst Norwich were desperate to get back to winning ways after losing to Arsenal at Carrow Road.
From the first whistle both sides displayed their intent with Steve Morison’s closing down forcing Anton Ferdinand into a mistake with the Welsh striker proving to be a nuisance throughout the game. The host’s soon began to take hold of the game and they deservedly took the lead when Martin hooked Andrew Surman’s cross past Radek Cerny and into the net.
That goal seemed to wake QPR up and they soon began to dominate but struggled to break down a solid Canaries back four that rebuffed anything thrown at them. Shaun Wright-Phillips was arguably the away side’s biggest threat and he had a penalty shout turned down after tumbling in the area under the challenge of goalkeeper John Ruddy. Despite the winger’s vehement appeals referee Mark Clattenburg was well placed and instantly waved away as the R’s continued to threaten. It was Wright-Phillips who was behind much of the visitors attacks and it was his free kick that caused panic in the Norwich penalty area with Shaun Derry inches away from getting a decisive touch.
The former Mancheser City man was again in the thick of it ghosting into a shooting position before stinging Ruddy’s palms with Jamie Mackie lashing the rebound wide as the home side went into the break ahead by the skin of their teeth.
Rangers had a goal in them and it was no surprise when they did equalise on the hour with Young slotting home after Mackie’s long range drive hit the post and fell kindly for the right back. It was the 12th consecutive game in which Norwich had conceded and Lambert response to the equaliser by throwing Holt and Hoolahaninto the mix with the objective of winning the game. It worked a treat as the former made an instant impact forcing Derry to hack his header off the line after being found by Morison’s cross. He wasn’t to be denied though and within minutes he had put the Canaries back in front forcing the ball across the line following Hoolahan’s whipped delivery.
Rangers weren’t out of it just yet and should have levelled for the second time but Heidar Helguson could only head Young’s right wing delivery over the bar as the home side held on to secure all three points and move up to ninth.
Jak Penny for FootballFanCast.com
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