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17:48 2nd January 2012
By  @OfficialQPR


Norwich City came from behind to defeat ten-man QPR in a fiercely-fought encounter at Loftus Road.

In a Barclays Premier League contest crammed full of drama, Rangers opened the scoring after only 11 minutes when Joey Barton smashed home Clint Hill's low cross from the left.

Controversy struck on 36 minutes, after Barton - QPR's opening goalscorer - was shown a straight red card after an off-the-ball incident with Bradley Johnson.

And Norwich would go on to make the numerical advantage count.

Anthony Pilkington struck a Canaries leveller just six minutes after Barton's dismissal, firing home a beautifully-struck effort from fully 25-yards out.

City substitute Steve Morison clinched all three points for the visitors seven minutes from time, lashing home from close range after Elliott Bennett's controlled ball into the Wales striker.

Neil Warnock made five changes to his R's side for the visit of Norwich - and also named new loan signing Federico Macheda from Manchester United on the bench.

Paddy Kenny came back into the starting XI at the expense of Radek Cerny, while Anton Ferdinand and Hill replaced Matt Connolly and Armand Traore respectively in defence.

Shaun Derry, meanwhile, started ahead of Shaun Wright-Phillips, while Heidar Helguson came in for Jay Bothroyd.

Kenny was in goal for Rangers, who lined up in an accustomed 4-2-3-1 formation.

Luke Young, Ferdinand, Danny Gabbidon and Hill made up the R's back four.

Derry and Ale Faurlin were in defensive midfield, behind the more advanced trio of Jamie Mackie, Adel Taarabt and skipper Barton.

Helguson led the line for Rangers in attack.

Rangers were looking to improve on a home league record of just one win this season prior to kick-off, while Norwich had enjoyed similar form away from Carrow Road, with just a single victory.

The visitors probably enjoyed the greater possession in the opening ten minutes, although neither side threatened in front of goal.

The first real opportunity of the contest arrived on 11 minutes - and it yielded the opening goal of the contest.

It was QPR who drew first blood, and what a well-worked effort it proved to be.

Faurlin picked up possession on halfway before clipping a delightful ball over the top of Canaries right-back Russell Martin for Hill.

Thereafter, the R's defender sent over a low cross that evaded everyone but the onrushing Barton at the back post, who stole in to fire Rangers into the lead from just inside the box.

A super start for the Hoops - although Norwich continued to impress, even after going a goal down.

Johnson produced an effort for the Canaries on 18 minutes, skipping past one challenge before seeing his deflected drive from 20-yards out comfortably held by Kenny.

The first half was one of few chances but what it lacked in goalmouth action, it more than made up for in the manner that this now highly-charged affair was being contested. Strong tackles were aplenty.

Norwich's best chance of the half to date arrived on 33 minutes. Bennett's ball from the right found an unmarked Simeon Jackson on ten yards, but he could only scuff an effort wide of the target.

It was matters away from goal that continued to hit the headlines - especially when Barton, scorer of the R's first, was dismissed after an off-the-ball altercation nine minutes before the break.

Barton and Johnson went chest-to-chest away from play, before the latter indicated that he'd received a blow to the face - despite neither the referee nor his assistant signalling this to be the case in real time.

It took Bennett's late challenge on Barton, moments later, for Mr Swarbrick to bring the action to a halt, where Barton was shown his marching orders - and the former was not penalised.

Now holding a numerical advantage, Norwich put themselves on terms just three minutes before the break.

It was a goal worthy to grace the top-flight - that cannot be doubted. Pilkington received possession before unleashing a fierce drive from 25 yards that flew into bottom right-hand corner of net, giving Kenny no chance.

The sending off of Barton meant that Warnock was forced to think heavily about how he'd approach the second half.

The R's gaffer opted for a change at the interval, with Wright-Phillips brought on to replace Mackie.

The tricky winger almost made an instant impact - dragging a shot just wide of the left-hand post from 20 yards.

Apart from a Johnson effort that cleared the bar, Rangers made the greater inroads in front of goal at the start of the second period.

Taarabt went exceptionally close to notching his first strike of the season on 53 minutes.

Daniel Ayala was penalised - and subsequently booked - for a foul on Helguson and, when the Moroccan playmaker stepped up to fire in a free-kick from 25 yards, John Ruddy flung himself fantastically well to tip the effort on to his right-hand post and wide.

The visitors went close four minutes later. Bennett's drive from just outside the box forced a smart save from Kenny.

Despite being a man light, the R's continued to threaten. Faurlin's 20-yard effort on 68 minutes went just inches past the upright.

Norwich substitute Morison, meanwhile, went close for Paul Lambert's men just seven minutes later, seeing his header from 12 yards go marginally past the right-hand post.

Loanee Macheda's time arrived on 81 minutes, brought on to replace the tireless Helguson.

His impact was almost instantaneous, with only a fine two-fisted clearance from Ruddy preventing the Italian from getting on the end of a Wright-Phillips cross just seconds after his arrival.

But Macheda's introduction couldn't halt a Canaries winner.

A ball from the left was cushioned down superbly by Bennett for Morison, before the former Millwall forward blasted home from eight-yards out.

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