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Saturday, December 30, 2006

Another Defeat: Norwich 1 QPR 0

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Norwich 1 QPR 0 (HT 0-0) Dublin in the 69th minute.

John Gregory bemoaned the lack of fighting spirit, as the R's succumbed to a 1-0 defeat at Norwich.
"Generally it was a good performance, but not good enough.
"We've lost by the odd goal again and that seems to be the story since I've been at this club.''
Gregory continued: "To keep the likes of Huckerby, Earnshaw and Dublin at bay for 90 minues is a huge ask, and we just came up short today.
"Sometimes defenders make the odd rick and today is cost us.''
Despite the loss, the gaffer heaped praise on Steve Lomas, adding: "Steve Lomas set the standards by which the rest should follow.
"He was outstanding today, but too many of his team-mates went missing.
"Unfortunately that's been the case lately and Stevie is absolutely gutted.''
Gregory is looking forward to the opening of the January transfer window, commenting: "The transfer window will be very beneficial to us.
"I'm hoping that it will enable us to do a few deals, but we'll have to wait and see.'' QPR

Norwich Official Site - GRANT PRAISE FOR PLAYERS
CITY boss Peter Grant was delighted with the performance of his players in the 1-0 win over QPR - with his only criticism being the narrow margin of victory.
Grant felt the Canaries were good value for the points over John Gregory's men and felt his side should have been more comfortable winners on an afternoon when City bossed possession for long spells.
In the end a single second half goal from Dion Dublin was all it took, and Grant said the win was just reward for their efforts.
"I thought it was thoroughly deserved," said Grant, speaking to CanariesWorld at the final whistle.
"We should have won more convincingly I felt. We had a lot of chances and felt we weren't clinical in the final third with the amount of ball we had. But everything else I'm delighted with.
"We were competitive and played most of the game in the QPR half. We were closer to the opposition than we have been in the last few home games.
"Today they thoroughly deserved their victory and I only wish it was by more goals."
Grant also had words of praise for 37-year-old match-winner Dublin, who pushed Youssef Safri hard for the Anglian Man of the Match honours.
"He has been outstanding for us from the day I arrived here, whether he's been played at the back or up front" added Grant.
"For the last 10 minutes I had to play him in central midfield because his legs had gone with the amount of effort he had put in.
"He's a great example to our players, to the younger boys in the squad and down at the training ground. I'm delighted for him." Norwich

League Table - Table
Luton 30
QPR 27
Barnsley 26
Hull 24
Leeds 21
Southend 18

QPR: Royce, Bignot, Milanese, Gallen, Rowlands, Lomas, Cook, Stewart, Furlong, Jones, Mancienne. Subs: Cole, Ward, Baidoo, Kanyuka, Blackstock.
Norwich: Gallacher, Drury, Shackell, Huckerby, Croft, Dublin, Earnshaw, Safri, Etuhu, Colin, Doherty. Subs: Lewis, Fleming, Hughes, McVeigh, Jarvis.

Dion Dublin scored the only goal as Norwich ended their five-match winless streak in the Coca-Cola Championship and extended struggling QPR's miserable record at Carrow Road.
Veteran Dublin struck for the third time this season when he provided the finishing touch to an excellent piece of play from strike partner Rob Earnshaw.
Earnshaw broke free down the left channel and his low cross picked out Dublin, who coolly steered the ball beyond Simon Royce from 12 yards.
The 69th-minute goal condemned Rangers, who have not won at Carrow Road since beating City in the Premiership in March 1994, to their seventh defeat in eight matches and puts them firmly in relegation danger.
Norwich manager Peter Grant made two changes following the goalless Boxing Day draw against Southend.
Skipper Adam Drury missed out against the Shrimpers after injuring his hip in the warm-up but returned at the expense of Andy Hughes, who dropped to the bench.
Moroccan international Youssef Safri was also restored to the starting line-up with Carl Robinson suspended after picking up his fifth booking of the season against Wolves last week.
John Gregory made four changes to his QPR side as he reverted to a 4-4-2 formation.
One enforced change saw Rowlands replace on-loan midfielder Jimmy Smith who, despite extending his loan spell from Chelsea, must remain at Stamford Bridge before re-signing in the new year.
Elsewhere in midfield Steve Lomas stepped in for the injured Marc Bircham while Kevin Gallen came in for Milanese, who slotted into the back four in the absence of Zesh Rehman. Ray Jones replaced Dexter Blackstock up front.
A free-flowing encounter produced its first effort when Martin Rowlands unleashed a swerving shot from the right side of penalty area which flashed narrowly wide of the far post after 12 minutes.
Norwich responded with a similar effort from Dublin soon after before Paul Furlong forced Paul Gallacher into the first save of the afternoon when he headed Rowlands' cross goalwards, but the Norwich goalkeeper was equal to it and parried the ball to safety.
Mauro Milanese went close again for Rangers midway through the half before Kevin Gallen's volley from the edge of the area stung the palms of Gallacher.
Earnshaw, the Championship's leading scorer, was denied his 17th goal of the season by a fine 39th-minute save from Simon Royce.
Earnshaw connected superbly with Jurgen Colin's cross and crashed an angled drive towards the bottom corner but Royce got a strong arm to the ball to keep it out.
Norwich made a bright start to the second half and almost opened the scoring after forcing an early corner.
Jason Shackell met Safri's outswinging corner but the young defender was unable to guide his header underneath the crossbar.
Colin curled an effort past the post and Drury went close with a fiercely-driven shot before Shackell and Safri combined again, but the outcome was the same as previous corner.
The hosts continued to pile the pressure on Rangers and Gary Doherty headed another Safri corner wide before Dublin finally made City's dominance count.
QPR searched for the equaliser but were unable to create a telling chance. Nick Ward's 20-yard drive which was blocked on the six-yard line by Shackell was the closest they came - Sporting Life

Dion Dublin bagged the winner, as Rangers' poor form on their travels continued at a rain-soaked Carrow Road.
The evergreen striker notched the only goal of the game midway through the second half, as the R's succumbed to a sixth defeat in seven Championship outings.
Defeat was perhaps a little harsh on Rangers, who did more than enough throughout the 90 minutes to warrant a share of the spoils.
In a first half of few clear-cut chances, Rangers carved open the Norwich defence on 16 minutes, only for Paul Furlong to head straight at Paul Gallacher.
Norwich were by no means second best though, with Robert Earnshaw stinging the palms of Simon Royce as the half drew to a conclusion.
The second period followed a similar pattern, but it was the Canaries who clinched maximum points, thanks to Dublin's textbook finish.
With one eye on the hectic New Year schedule, John Gregory made three changes to the starting XI and also opted for a return to the tried and tested 4-4-2 formation.
Kevin Gallen, Steve Lomas and Ray Jones all returned to the side, as the R's went gunning for their first away victory since the 1-0 win at Ninian Park on November 17th.
Despite their poor form on the road, the R's made an encouraging start at Carrow Road, with the experienced duo of Gallen and Lomas orchestrating proceedings from the middle of the park.
But it was Norwich who created the first opportunity of note on eight minutes, when Darren Huckerby's inviting cross was nodded down by Dion Dublin into the path of Earnshaw.
Thankfully for the R's back four, Earnshaw was adjudged to be in an offside position, as the Welshman's header fell inches wide of the post.
Play soon switched to the other end, with Martin Rowlands firing a yard or so wide after he capitalised on a poor defensive clearance, cut in from the right flank and let fly from fully 25-yards.
Rangers were enjoying the lion's share of possession and when Rowlands' cross found Furlong at the back post on 16 minutes, his downward header was expertly saved by Gallacher.
The rebound fell invitingly for Lee Cook, but he could only thrash the ball into the path of Jones, whose shot on the turn was blocked.
Gallen arrived bang on cue to smash the resultant clearance on target, but yet again Norwich's defence dealt with the danger, this time clearing the ball for a corner.

Mauro Milanese and Cook were combining to good effect down the left flank and when the latter's cross fell at the feet of the Italian full-back midway through the half, the former Inter Milan defender thrashed his left footed effort wide for a throw-in.
The otherwise quiet Earnshaw forced Royce into a fine save on 37 minutes.
Arriving on to Dublin's knockdown, the Welsh striker fired a first time effort on target, but Royce flung himself to his right to tip the ball round the post.
Rangers were dealt a blow five minutes before the break, when the effective Rowlands was forced from the fray and replaced by Nicky Ward.
But the R's held firm until half-time, with Damion Stewart and Michael Mancienne inspirational at the heart of the new-look back four.
Light rain made way for a heavy downpour at the start of the second half, with both sets of players finding it increasingly difficult to keep their feet in the inclement conditions.
Jason Shackell signalled the hosts second half intentions inside 60 seconds, but after leaping like a salmon to meet Youssef Safri's corner, the defender headed over the bar from eight yards.
With the R's faithful doing their best to spark the visitors into life, Lomas drilled a right footed 20-yard effort inches wide of the right hand post, after fine build-up play involving Gallen and Cook.
But it was Norwich who opened the scoring midway through the second half when Earnshaw capitalised on a weak defensive header from Stewart to find Dublin.
The veteran front-man made no mistake thereafter, firing past Royce on the half-volley from 12-yards to hand the Canaries the lead, albeit slightly against the run of play.
Sensing the points were slipping away from his side, Gregory reverted to an attacking 4-3-3 formation for the final quarter of an hour, with Dexter Blackstock replacing Gallen.

It mattered little though and but for a last ditch tackle from Stewart late on, Earnshaw would've made it two in stoppage time.
After evading the R's offside trap with ease, the Welsh striker bore down on goal, only to be thwarted by a stunning goal-saving tackle from the Jamaican international.
Norwich City: Gallacher, Drury, Shackell, Huckerby, Croft (Hughes 77), Dublin, Earnshaw, Safri (McVeigh 87), Etuhu, Colin, Doherty.
Subs: Lewis, Fleming, Jarvis.
Goals: Dublin 69
QPR: Royce, Bignot, Milanese, Gallen (Blackstock 77), Rowlands (Ward 40), Lomas, Cook, Stewart, Furlong, Jones, Mancienne.
Subs: Cole, Baidoo, Kanyuka.
Bookings: Bignot 27
Attendance: 25, 113

Norwich Official Site NORWICH CITY 1-0 QPR
THE Canaries got back to winning ways at Carrow Road, ending 2006 with a win over QPR thanks to a single goal from Dion Dublin.
Dublin pounced midway through the second half to end City's festive blues, latching onto a great ball from Robert Earnshaw to slot home from 12-yards.
It was no more than the Canaries deserved for a vastly improved display after the bore-draw against Southend on Boxing Day, and their victory could have been greater had it not been from a combination of wasteful finishing and good defending.
As expected, Youssef Safri was restored to the starting line-up in the absence of the suspended Carl Robinson.
Also returning to the line-up was skipper Adam Drury, passed fit after missing the draw with Southend due to a hip injury. Jurgen Colin also returned to the side at the expense of Andy Hughes, who was given a place on the bench.
In attack manager Peter Grant kept faith with the partnership of Dion Dublin and Robert Earnshaw.
City got off to a lively start, enjoying the bulk of possession inside the first five minutes without creating a clear-cut chance.
Indeed, the first clear chance arrived on nine minutes. Huckerby's cross from the left was headed back across goal to the unmarked Earnshaw by strike partner Dublin.
And even though the Welshman missed from just six yards out with his stooping header, the assistant referee had already flagged for offside.

QPR registered their first shot on target three minutes later. Croft's attempted cross-field ball was easily cut-out by Martin Rowlands, and with Drury back-peddling furiously, he shaped to bend a left foot shot inside Gallacher's right post.
But he miscued his effort, with the ball bobbling well wide.
But they came closer to grabbing the first goal on 17 minutes, with only the alertness of Norwich 'keeper Gallacher denying them.
Rowlands flighted a ball over to the far post from the right and found veteran striker Furlong unmarked.
He connected well with his downward header, but the Scottish international did well to push the ball away at his near post, with his defenders eventually hacking the ball to safety.
On 26 minutes City came within inches of winning a penalty. Defender Damion Stewart - sporting a protective face mask - dallied on the by-line as he tried to shield the ball and allow it to run behind for a goal kick.
But Earnshaw had not given up on it, scooting round the big defender, leaving the Rangers man with little choice but to haul him down. Earnshaw fell in the box, but referee Phil Dowd awarded a free kick just outside, which promptly came to nothing.
Stewart's clumsiness should have earned him a booking, but his skipper Marcus Bignott was not so fortunate a minute later, given a yellow for dragging down Huckerby in full flight on the left.
On 34 minutes there was a stoppage after Drury took a boot to the face stretching for a 50-50 ball with Rowlands down on the left 20 yards inside the Rangers' half.
He certainly looked to be in some discomfort, but after treatment from physio Neal Reynolds was able to continue.
On 38 minutes visiting goalkeeper Simon Royce was forced into action for the first time in the half.

Croft swung a cross over from the right which was brilliantly headed back into Earnshaw's path just inside the area by Dubling.

Earnshaw's shot was struck sweetly, but Royce was able to parry the ball up and away and over the line for a corner.
And as the rain began to fall at Carrow Road, that was to be the last of the action of the first half as both sides entered the break honours even.
Half time: Norwich City 0-0 QPR
There were no changes for either side at the break, with City returning to the pitch looking to turn their possession into clear scoring chances.
And City had a clear site of goal within the first two minutes of the second period.
Norwich won a corner in front of the N&P Stand, and Safri delivered an excellent out-swinging ball which found Shackell's head.
Unfortunately the young defender could not keep his effort down, powering his attempt yards over.
Seconds later and City were behind the QPR defence once more. This time Colin played a nice one-two with Croft before darting into the area at an angle.
But his final product was found wanting, shooting wastefully into the side-netting at the near post when a pass or a shot across goal might have reaped more reward.
City were competing well, but were still lacking the kind of invention needed to break the stubborn visitors down as the game went past the hour mark.
Of course, QPR were also looking for three points to arrest their own recent slump, and on 66 minutes midfielder Steve Lomas gave Norwich a warning when he flashing a right foot shot just wide of Gallacher's left post from 25 yards out.
But any nerves were finally settled on 69 minutes when Norwich took the lead.

QPR were slack at the back, gifting the ball to Earnshaw just outside the area. And he showed great vision to loft a ball into the box to find Dublin completely unmarked to side-foot past the exposed Royce from 12 yards out.
It was a cool finish and a deserved goal for the 37-year-old, who had been outstanding all game once again.
On 75 minutes City had a great chance to double their lead amid the downpour.
A good positive run from Colin took him deep into QPR territory before sliding a pass into Huckerby's stride in the area.
But the winger could not sort out his feet in time, taking too heavy a touch and allowing Royce to gather comfortably at his feet.
Two minutes later and Grant made his first chance of the match, replacing Croft with Andy Hughes on the right side of midfield.
With the game in the final 10 minutes, City were good value for their lead, with only good defending from Mancienne preventing Earnshaw connecting with a great ball from Dublin.
With five minutes left City should have put the game out of the visitors' reach. Hughes played a great one-two with Dublin just outside the area before finding Huckerby unmarked on the far side of the area. But the winger could only slice his shot horribly over the bar.
And with the game in stoppage time City again had a clear chance to end matters - Earnshaw put in the clear by Hughes' astute through-ball. But as the Weldshman pulled the trigger just inside the area, Stewart did brilliantly to recover his ground and divert his goalbound shot over the bar.
Full time: Norwich City 1-0 QPR
Norwich City: Gallacher, Drury (c), Shackell, Huckerby, Croft (78), Dublin, Earnshaw, Safri (McVeigh 88), Etuhu, Colin, Doherty. Subs: Lewis, Fleming, Ryan Jarvis.
QPR: Royce, Bignott (c), Milanese, Gallen (Blackstock 78), Rowlands (Ward 42), Lomas, Cook, Stewart, Furlong, Jones, Mancienne. Subs: Cole, Baidoo, Kanyuka, Blackstock. Norwich


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