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Sunday, January 02, 2011

QPR Report Sunday: Norwich Reports and Comments...QPR Signing Flashbacks

Enlarged Photo - The Allen Axing Announcement - Forty Years Ago: Les Allen's Final Game in Charge Before The Axe
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- Barnet Axe Manager Mark Stimson

- Birthday For Gavin Mahon

- Ainsworth Says Not Interested in Managing Yet

- Two Year Flashback: Borrowdale, Helguson and Routledge Sign for QPR

- Three Year Flashback: Buzsaky, Ephraim and Connolly Sign for QPR

- Amulya Loan and Caliendo Loan Payment Deadlines Approaching

- Nice Retrospect of QPR's 1982/83 Promotion Team

- An Old Report "Fan Power and Democracy in Football"

- Raheem Sterling one of 11 Youngsters to Watch in 2011

- Forty Years Since Ibrox Disaster

- 100 Football Blogs to Follow (Not including QPR Report!)

QPR Official Site

Neil Warnock was at a loss to explain how the officials failed to spot a 'blatant' handball in the build-up to the eventual dismissal of R's defender Matt Connolly.

Connolly saw red for a professional foul early in the second half, but only after Grant Holy had cleverly handled the ball to get clear of the former Arsenal man.

Speaking exclusively to www.qpr.co.uk following the 1-0 loss at Carrow Road, Warnock said: "One or two things went against us like they always do at places like Carrow Road.

"It was a blatant handball and you expect the referee to spot incidents like that.

"It was a free-kick our way before Connolly took him down, which is why Matt was so devastated when he was sent off."

Despite the dismissal and the loss, Warnock was proud in defeat, commenting: "It's been a good Christmas for us really - six points from nine is a good return.

"I can't fault the lads' efforts in the second half when we went down to ten.

"We could've nicked a point with Pat's chance, but Paddy made some great saves at the other end too."

Warnock added: "We need to pick ourselves up now for Bristol City.

"They'll be in great spirits after their result today, so it promises to be another cracker."


'Miracle' win by Norwich City puts brakes on QPR's title pursuit

Anna Kessel at Carrow Road

QPR suffered their third defeat of the season – in as many weeks – after Paul Lambert's in-form Norwich dominated at Carrow Road to win 1-0. Norwich took the lead early on through a lovely exchange between Wes Hoolahan and Chris Martin, setting up Russell Martin who – catching the end of a blocked shot – struck home. From thereon in QPR struggled to mount a convincing comeback, an effort that became more difficult still after their defender Matt Connolly was sent off for a professional foul early in the second half.

"It's a miracle, honestly," said Lambert after beating Neil Warnock's top of the table side, now only four points clear. "It makes it even more remarkable the amount of players we've got out," he said, citing the fact that Norwich were missing six players through injury and suspension and were forced to rely on a rarely tested pairing of centre-backs. "We played strongly. We were brilliant, I can't ask for any more.Their desire was fantastic."

Norwich move up to third with their fifth win from six games, confirming their status as promotion candidates. But even after such a convincing display Lambert continued to insist that avoiding relegation remains the aim. "Still is," said the Scotsman who took over 18 months ago, leading Norwich to promotion from League One in a single season. Surely now, being third in their first season back in the Championship, he must reconsider? "No. No," he said, shaking his head, "Just survive. I'm just hanging in." What if the club get above 50 points? "Ask me on the last day of May and if we're still up there we might have a chance."

Norwich played attractive attacking football, Hoolahan – mainly a bit part player until his hat-trick against Sheffield United last week – and Chris Martin ran riot through QPR's midfield, while Richard Martin was a marauding presence at right-back. There were chances galore – debutant Aaron Wilbraham thought he had doubled the deficit early on but the linesman blew for offside, while Grant Holt could have had several goals in the first half alone. In truth Norwich should have scored many more, testimony to the QPR keeper Paddy Kenny's vital saves that kept the visitors in with a chance of equalising right up until the whistle.

QPR, meanwhile, looked distinctly average. Going forward, Adel Taarabt failed to dazzle, struggling even to get free-kicks on target, while Heider Helguson hardly touched the ball. As Taarabt grew agitated, earning a yellow card early in the second half, Warnock brought on Patrick Agyemang to add firepower up front. The substitute striker almost equalised with 15 minutes to play, in what was QPR's best chance of the game, after Leon Clarke set him up – unchallenged – in front of goal, but his headed effort flew inches wide.

Connolly's sending-off occurred as Holt raced away, the last defender tripping the Norwich captain on the edge of the area. Chris Martin kept Kenny on his toes, and the 22-year-old midfielder could have scored a sackful of chances in the second half but for the keeper's saves.

That QPR failed to score against Norwich, a side who had not recorded a clean sheet in 10 games, spoke volumes. Still, Warnock would not scold his players, instead criticising the referee for failing to spot a handball from Holt – "it's the little sneaky ones that the referees should be looking at," he said. Overall he was pleased, though. "I can't fault it, I thought the effort was super. I thought we were in the ascendancy in the second half. With 11 men we might have had a few more chances.

"But six points out of three games – I'm quite happy about that over Christmas."


By Neil Trainis 5:49PM GMT 01 Jan 2011

A sheen which has set Queens 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 vitality. 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. Telegraph

Eastern Daily Press The Pink Un

Norwich City 1, Queens Park Rangers 0
David Cuffley
Saturday, 1 January, 2011
17:15 PM

Russell Martin’s third goal of the season was enough to give Norwich City victory over Championship leaders Queens Park Rangers in a barnstorming match at Carrow Road.

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It was a thrilling start to the New Year for the Canaries and their supporters as they served up some tremendous entertainment for a near full house.

Full-back Martin struck after nine minutes, shooting home after a shot by Chris Martin had been blocked by Rangers defender Clint Hill.

In front of a crowd of more than 26,000, the Canaries went on to produce certainly their best home performance of the season, but despite hammering away at the leaders for long periods, they were unable to add to their lead.

New signing Aaron Wilbraham had a first-half goal disallowed for handling and, after Rangers were reduced to 10 men by a red card for defender Matt Connolly early in the second half, City were repeatedly thwarted by goalkeeper Paddy Kenny and some desperate defending.

Kenny made three outstanding saves from Chris Martin and another from Wes Hoolahan in stoppage time to keep his side in contention.

The City line-up showed three changes from the team that started the

4-2 defeat of Sheffield United on Tuesday.

Adam Drury made his first appearance for 11 weeks – since the goalless draw at Loftus Road in October - replacing the suspended Simon Lappin at left-back.

With Leon Barnett completing a two-match ban and Elliott Ward still sidelined by a calf injury, Zak Whitbread was preferred to Jens Berthel Askou as Michael Nelson’s partner in central defence.

Whitbread, who made a late appearance as substitute against the Blades, was starting a match for the first time since Easter Monday, with Askou relegated to the bench.

And 31-year-old striker Aaron Wilbraham was handed his debut two days after signing from Milton Keynes Dons, with midfielder David Fox the other absentee from Tuesday’s side because of injury.

Midfielder Matthew Gill returned to the squad as one of seven substitutes after being sidelined with a calf injury.

Rangers boss Neil Warnock made one change with Leon Clarke replacing Tommy Smith in attack. Smith was not available because of a technicality in the terms of his loan from Portsmouth.

City reverted to a diamond formation in midfield with Wes Hoolahan on the left and Chris Martin playing behind skipper Grant Holt and Wilbraham.

Rangers forced a free-kick in the third minute when Nelson fouled Taarabt, but Faurlin’s shot was charged down.

With nine minutes gone, City took the lead with Russell Martin scoring his third goal of the season.

Hoolahan fed Chris Martin, who did well to creat space for a powerful right-foot shot that was blocked by the sliding Hill but Russell Martin reacted first, following up to drill the rebound past goalkeeper Kenny.

Rangers were almost level immediately when Ruddy made a fine stop from Helguson after a poor header from Whitbread dropped to the striker.

With 16 minutes gone, Wilbraham had his first attempt on goal, getting on the end of Ruddy’s long ball forward and striking a left-foot half-volley over the top.

Hoolahan’s inswinging corner reached the head of Whitbread but his effort was sliced across goal.

City had the ball in the net again in the 22nd minute but Wilbraham’s goal was disallowed for handball. Nelson’s header from Hoolahan’s free-kick was parried by Kenny and Chris Martin miscued with his attempt to poke in the rebound, but as Mackie tried to hammer the ball clear, it struck Wilbraham and rebounded into the net, but the ball had come off his left arm.

The Canaries were well on top and a superb cross from Korey Smith found Hoolahan unmarked eight yards out, but he tried to feed the ball back to Chris Martin rather than shoot, and it was eventually worked to Crofts, who fired over from just outside the penalty area.

A foul by Russell Martin on Taarabt gave Rangers a free-kick wide on the left but when it was played short to Connolly, he blazed his shot over the bar.

A promising move ended with Holt moving on to Hoolahan’s pass and his shot being blocked by Kenny at the near post, but the flag was up for offside.

Holt got in a header from a Korey Smith cross but it lacked power and Kenny saved comfortably.

Taarabt won a free-kick when he was fouled by Drury but it was wasted as he thumped it straight at the wall, and moments later the Rangers skipper appeared to be struggling as he clutched his groin after pulling up sharply.

Four minutes before the break, Hill stopped Russell Martin in full flight and was shown the first yellow card of the afternoon.

City were putting together some flowing moves and when Holt’s flick from Russell Martin fell to Chris Martin, he did superbly to set up Hoolahan for a low cross that Holt touched just the wrong side of the post.

Half-time: Norwich City 1, Queens Park Rangers 0 Rangers made two changes at the break, with Orr replacing Hill and Agyemang sent on for Helguson.

The visitors forced two free-kicks in the opening minutes of the second half.

Taarabt fired over the top from the first, and the second free-kick was perilously close to a penalty as Crofts brought down Agyemang on the corner of the penalty area. This time Taarabt’s powerful effort flattened Drury in the wall, catching him full in the face, and the full-back needed attention before being able to continue.

There was drama as Rangers were reduced to 10 men six minutes after the break when defender Connolly clipped Holt’s heels just outside the penalty area and was immediately shown the red card.

It was the seventh time in the last 10 City matches that one side or the other had had a player sent off.

From the resulting free-kick, Kenny made a diving save from Chris Martin and Hoolahan’s follow-up was brilliantly blocked by Walker.

Chris Martin’s long-range effort from Hoolahan’s pass whistled just past the angle of post and crossbar as City kept up the assault.

Nelson took a knock and appeared to be struggling a little as Askou began warming up on the touchline.

The Rangers bench were protesting after skipper Taarabt went down following a challenge by Chris Martin, but the referee was unconcerned and the frustrated Taarabt went into the book after 61 minutes for a wild kick at Hoolahan. That was his last involvement as he made way for Tofas in Warnock’s final change.

Another superb move almost brought the second goal 20 minute into the half when Hoolahan was sent racing away on the left and his cross reached Chris Martin, who looked certain to score but didn’t quite find the power was denied by a fine save from Kenny.

Kenny was kept busy and after a Holt shot was blocked by Faurlin, the keeper made another vital block as Wilbraham tried to force the ball home from a tight angle.

Whitbread fired into the crowd after another concerted attack as Rangers struggled to get out of their own penalty area.

There was a chance, however, after 74 minutes when Clarke flicked on Faurlin’s cross and Agyemang headed just the wrong side of the post.

Russell Martin very nearly had a second goal when Korey Smith’s neat pass put him into the area but his shot was blocked by Gorkss.

City made their first change with eight minutes left when Wilbraham made way for midfielder Gill.

One minute from time, a mad goalmouth scramble ended with Agyemang sticking out a leg to get in a shot that Ruddy was grateful to hold on to.

In stoppage time, a swift counter-attack looked set to provide City’s second goal as Hoolahan sent Chris Martin clear but after sprinting the length of the field, he was foiled by another brilliant Kenny save.

In the final minute of time added on, Kenny did it again with a great save to deny Hoolahan after Holt put him clear.

Norwich City – Ruddy; Russell Martin, Nelson, Whitbread, Drury; Crofts; Korey Smith, Hoolahan; Chris Martin; Wilbraham (Gill, 82 min), Holt. Subs (not used): Rudd, Askou, Tudur Jones, McNamee, Johnson, Jackson.

Queens Park Rangers – Kenny; Walker, Connolly, Gorkss, Hill (Orr, 45 min); Derry, Faurlin; Taarabt (Tofas, 62 min); Mackie, Helguson (Agyemang, 45 min), Clarke. Subs (not used): Cerny, Borrowdale, Rowlands, Hulse.
Referee – Jon Moss (West Yorkshire).
Attendance – 26,273.

QPR Official SIte
Russell Martin's ninth-minute strike was the difference between Norwich City and ten-man QPR at Carrow Road.

The defender struck from 18 yards at the second attempt, after Clint Hill's initial block.

The R's faced an uphill struggle when Matt Connolly was shown his marching orders on 51 minutes.

Connolly - who was the last man - felled Grant Holt, leaving the referee with no option but to produce a red card.

However, despite being a man down, the R's pressed late on - and they almost grabbed a late leveller.

Substitute Patrick Agyemang's got on the end of a Leon Clarke flick-on, before seeing his glancing header hit the left-hand post before going out of play.

Neil Warnock made one change to the QPR side that won at Coventry City in midweek.

Clarke replaced Tommy Smith, who missed out owing to the terms of his loan deal.

Paddy Kenny was in goal for Rangers, behind a back four of Kyle Walker, Connolly, Kaspars Gorkss and Hill.

Shaun Derry and Alejandro Faurlin were in defensive midfield, behind the attacking trio of Clarke, Adel Taarabt and Jamie Mackie.

Heidar Helguson led the R's attack.

There was little to write about in the opening minutes, as both sides battled for territorial possession.

The R's, however, would find themselves behind on nine minutes.

Martin's rasping shot was superbly blocked by Hill and, as the ball rolled back out to the Canaries full-back, he unleashed a stinging low drive from 18 yards that sailed into the bottom right-hand corner.

Moments later, QPR almost drew level.

Mackie's crossfield pass wasn't properly dealt with by the Norwich defence, before Helguson forced a smart save from John Ruddy following the striker's half-volley from the edge of the box.

The tie continued to swing from end-to-end and, midway through the first half, the hosts almost added a second.

Wes Hoolahan - who was proving to be a constant thorn in the R's side - tricked his way past a number of challenges before laying the ball back to Andrew Crofts on 18 yards, who drilled a thunderbolt of shot just inches wide of the right-hand post.

Norwich, in truth, were the better side in the first period.

And they almost doubled their lead just before the break.

Hoolahan went on another mazy run and, when he pulled the ball back for Holt on six yards, he could only drag his effort wide - albeit on the stretch.

The R's decided to mix things up at the break, with Bradley Orr and Agyemang replacing Hill and Helguson respectively.

But QPR's task was made all the harder when they were reduced to ten men on 51 minutes.

Holt's strength proved to be the key, as he broke free of last man Connolly, forcing the R's defender to send the Norwich striker tumbling to ground.

Referee Mr Moss was left with a simple decision to show the former Arsenal stopper a red card.

And, with Norwich now a man - as well as a goal - to the good, they looked intent on exploiting the extra space left by Connolly's dismissal.

Kenny had to be forced into a simply stunning save to keep the R's in the match.

Hoolahan once again broke away down the left, before the midfielder squared for the unmarked Chris Martin.

The Canaries front-man looked certain to score from close range, before his prodded effort was fantastically blocked away from the target by Kenny.

The R's almost snatched a late equaliser.

Orr's high ball was flicked on by Clarke, before Agyemang rose highest to nod an effort agonisingly off the foot of the left-hand post.

Norwich City: Ruddy, Martin, Drury, Nelson, Whitbread, Crofts, Holt, Hoolahan, Martin, Smith, Wilbraham (Gill 82).

Subs: Rudd, Jackson, Johnson, McNamee, Tudor Jones, Askou.

Goals: R. Martin (9)

QPR: Kenny, Hill (Orr 46), Derry, Taarabt (Tofas 62), Clarke, Helguson (Agyemang 46), Faurlin, Mackie, Gorkss, Walker, Connolly.

Subs: Cerny, Rowlands, Hulse, Borrowdale, Tofas.

Bookings: Hill (41)

Red Cards: Connolly (51)

Referee: Mr J Moss

Attendance: 26, 273



Posted on: Sat 01 Jan 2011

CITY powered up to third in the npower Championship table thanks to a 1-0 win over league leaders QPR in an absorbing New Year's Day fixture at Carrow Road.

Russell Martin grabbed the all-important goal in the ninth minute, rifling home from 18 yards after Chris Martin's initial effort was blocked.

Rangers were reduced to ten men in the 52nd minute when Matt Connolly was shown a straight red for tripping Grant Holt when the City skipper was the last man, but Neil Warnock's side continued to battle and press for the equaliser.
Article continues
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They were indebted to some superb saves from Paddy Kenny for keeping the scoreline down to 1-0 however, the Irish stopper denying Chris Martin twice and Hoolahan as City held firm for a vital win.

After the game City boss Paul Lambert told Canaries Player: "To come here today and play the way they did against the team which is the best team in the league at the minute was excellent.

"Look at the players we were missing, that's what makes it all the more remarkable. But the crowd and the players bounced of each other and it's always a great thing when that happens.

"Russell took his goal really well, I thought it was an excellent strike. But the whole squad has worked really hard today."

Lambert paid tribute to players like Zak Whitbread and Adam Drury, who returned to action after months out with injury and worked their socks off to help the team record a clean sheet:

"You're looking at the best part of a year in which Zak has not had a game, so come in to a game of this magnitude and perform the way he did for 90 minutes...I thought he was colossal. I thought all of them were great - Adam (Drury) coming back after a couple of months out, Aaron (Wilbraham) on his debut, all of them, they've shown an extraordinary work-rate and desire today which is only what I've come to expect from them."

Before the game Lambert made four changes to the team that started in Tuesday's 4-2 win over Sheffield United. In defence Adam Drury replaced the suspended Simon Lappin on the left and in the centre Zak Whitbread made his first competitive start of the season in place of Jens Berthel Askou.

In midfield Tuesday's hat-trick hero Wes Hoolahan came in for David Fox, thought to be the un-named injured player Lambert mentioned in yesterday's pre-match press conference. Meanwhile up fron Simeon Jackson made way for new signing Aaron Wilbraham, who joined from MK Dons on Thursday and lined up alongside Holt and Chris Martin in an attacking City line-up.

Russell Martin scores the winner against QPR

Both sides started the match brightly but it was City who got their noses in front after just nine minutes thanks to great play by the two Martins in the Canary line-up. First Chris Martin showed great footwork to make space for himself on the edge of the area and when his fierce drive was desperately blocked by Gorkss, Russell Martin returned it with interest with a low first-time effort which flew past Kenny for the opener.

Rangers tried to hit back immediately through Helguson but after he found spoace to shoot from the edge of the area Ruddy got down well to make an excellent save to keep his side in front.

The Canaries' vibrant start continued and new boy Wilbraham thought he had marked his debut with a goal in the 22nd minute after he bundled home following a goalmouth scramble, but the effort was ruled out for offside.

Play was frantic but even for the next 20 minutes, a Clint Hill foul on Russell Martin which earned him the game's first yellow card the only incident of note as both sides worked hard.

As the first-half drew to a close a lovely flowing move saw Chris Martin play in Hoolahan, but Holt just couldn't connect cleanly with the Irishman's cut-back and side-footed wide of the far post from eight yards.

Half-time: Norwich City 1, Queen's Park Rangers 0

Rangers boss Neil Warnock made a double substitution at the break, Bradley Orr replacing Hill and Patrick Agyemang coming on for Helguson.

And the visitors posed the early threat as play resumed, Taraabt blasting one free-kick narrowly over and then another one straight into the face of Drury after he was brought down right on the edge of the area by Crofts.

But the wind was taken out of the leaders' sails on 52 minutes when as Holt sprinted clear through on goal Matt Connolly tripped him two yards from the edge of the area. Referee Jonathan Moss had no option other than to show last man Connolly the red card and QPR were reduced to ten men.

Chris Martin took the resulting free-kick and forced a fine save from Kenny, Hoolahan's follow-up denied by a desperate block from the defender on the line.

Four minutes later Chris Martin fired a couple of feet over the bar from long range as City looked to make their numerical advantage count.

The home crowd enjoyed a moment at the expense of mercurial Rangers star Adel Taraabt in the 61st minute as he was booked for a foul on Hoolahan - and then promptly subbed off by Warnock, Tofas coming on.

In the 65th minute Chris Martin could and perhaps should have doubled City's advantage as he was picked out by Hoolahan, but Kenny spread himself well to make an important save.

Two minutes later only last-ditch defending from Rangers kept City out as Chris Martin, Hoolahan and Wilbraham just couldn't find the space to get shots away.

Rangers were battling with spirit as we've come to expect from them this season and were very close to grabbing an equaliser when Agyemang headed inches wide in the 74th minute.

Play switched to the other end where Russell Martin looked to notch a second as he cut in on to his left foot inside the area, but once again his shot was blocked by the defence.

In the 82nd minute Aaron Wilbraham was applauded as he left the field to be freplaced by Matt Gill.

A frantic finale saw Rangers pumping the ball into City's area time and time again but Whitbread, Nelson, Drury and Russell Martin repelled everything thrown at them.

Deep into four minutes of allotted injury City twice had the chance to add a second, Kenny first denying Chris Martin with a superb one-handed save low to his left and then standing tall to thwart Hoolahan's attempted chip.

Final score: Norwich City 1, Queen's Park Rangers 0

Norwich City: Ruddy, R Martin, Drury, Whitbread, Nelson, Crofts, K Smith, Hoolahan, C Martin, Wilbraham (Gill 82), Holt. Subs not used: Rudd, Jackson, Johnson, McNamee, Tudur Jones, Askou.

QPR: Kenny, Hill (Orr 46), Derry, Taarabt (Tofas 61), Clarke, Helguson (Agyemang 46), Faurlin, Mackie, Gorkss, Walker, Connolly. Subs not used: Cerny, Rowlands, Hulse, Borrowdale.

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