QPR UNDER-18’S exited the FA Youth Cup at Carrow Road after suffering a 1-0 defeat at Norwich City.
Steve Gallen’s men bowed out of the competition at the first hurdle despite a battling Third Round performance against the Canaries.
Rangers ran their Barclays U18 Premier League opponents close throughout but Cameron King’s header for City shortly before half-time ensured the R’s early exit.
On a bitterly cold night in Norfolk, both sides enjoyed early possession in their own half as they looked to probe holes in the opponent’s defence.
It took until the seventh minute for either to threaten as King threaded a neat ball beyond the R’s backline looking for teammate Jacob Murphy. Goalkeeper Joe Lumley was quick off his line to smother the danger, though.
The Hoops number one reacted well again eleven minutes later as King this time tried his luck at goal. Good work by Josh Murphy – operating on the opposite wing to identical twin Jacob – slipped in King but Lumley dived low to his left to clutch the frontman’s effort.
Gallen’s young charges responded well to the early pressure and came close to breaking the deadlock in spectacular fashion two minutes before the half-hour mark.
Neat footwork from David Fitzpatrick earned the R’s winger space on the edge of the area before flashing a drive narrowly past the angle of Canaries goalkeeper Liam Sharpe’s far post.
Chances began to come at a flurry for the visitors as the R’s began to take a stranglehold on proceedings. More good work from Fitzpatrick carved out a chance for Petros Skepetas bearing down on goal, but the
R’s striker spurned his shot over.
At the other end, Josh Murphy continued to cause the Hoops backline problems on the left flank and twice forced Lumley into smart saves in quick succession ten minutes before the break.
But two chances, one at either end, proved decisive five minutes before the break.
After Emmanuel Monthe’s header from Conor Hubble’s free-kick bounced agonisingly inches past the post, Rangers were made to rue their fortune as Norwich registered moments later.
Jacob Murphy’s inch-perfect cross from the right found King, who nodded home from close range to hand City the advantage at the interval.
The second half began in similar vein to the first as both sides struggled for superiority in the middle of the park.
Lumley remained the busier of the two goalkeepers, however, beating away Cameron McGeehan’s drilled free-kick on 63 minutes.
With sights at goal proving few and far between after the re-start for the visitors, Gallen made his first change of the evening with 22 minutes left on the clock, as the industrious Fitzpatrick gave way to Dylan Carreiro.
The change handed fresh impetus to Rangers, who upped the tempo but still found clear-cut openings hard to come by.
Instead it was Norwich who looked likeliest to find the telling second goal as Josh Murphy tested Lewis’ reflexes once again with a rasping effort 25 yards out.
Tobi Adehone was brought on for Rangers with six minutes remaining for Hubble as they continued to push for an equaliser.
City’s rearguard held firm, though, and King almost doubled his tally in the final minute. The Norwich striker blasted over before the final whistle signalled the end to Rangers’ hopes soon after.