Barton off as Canaries fly high

Barton rifled the home side ahead from 12 yards on 11 minutes, only

to then see red after an apparent headbutt on Canaries midfielder

Bradley Johnson. Anthony Pilkington drew Norwich level just before

half-time with a fine 20-yard effort, before substitute Steve

Morison completed the turnaround with eight minutes left. Canaries

boss Paul Lambert always maintained this season would be all about

his squad, and handed a Premier League debut to former St Mirren

midfielder Simon Lappin. QPR’s defeat at Arsenal on New Year’s Eve

was a seventh in the last 10 games, with manager Neil Warnock

expected to do plenty more business in this month’s transfer window

to arrest that slide as on-loan Manchester United striker Federico

Macheda was named among the substitutes. Norwich, playing in green,

made a positive start, with Lappin’s inswinging free-kick headed

behind for an early corner. Pilkington made a determined run

through the heart of the home defence, but was eventually blocked

as was the follow-up effort from Simeon Jackson, whose

stoppage-time goal had earned a point against Fulham on Saturday.

QPR, though, took the lead with their first real attack on 11

minutes as Norwich again failed to keep a clean sheet. The ball was

pushed out to the left to Clint Hill, and his low centre travelled

straight through the visitors defence, with Rangers captain Barton

arriving on cue to fire his shot past John Ruddy from 12 yards.

Norwich had also fallen behind to an early goal against Fulham, and

looked for a response as Johnson’s 20-yard effort was deflected

safely through to fit-again keeper Paddy Kenny. Jackson failed to

make a clean connection with a low ball into the QPR six-yard box,

and stabbed his effort wide. After 36 minutes, Barton lost his cool

and following a tussle with Johnson appeared to headbutt the

Norwich midfielder and was, after consultation with the assistant,

shown a red card by referee Neil Swarbrick. The visitors

immediately went on the offensive, as Pilkington flashed a 20-yard

strike wide. On 43 minutes, the former Huddersfield winger drew

Norwich level when he was given space again on the edge of the box

– and this time drilled the ball into the bottom right corner. QPR

made a change for the second half when Shaun Wright-Phillips

replaced Jamie Mackie. The former Chelsea and Manchester City man

was soon in the thick of the action, as Ruddy had to get down

quickly to save his low shot. On 53 minutes, Norwich centre-back

Daniel Ayala upended Heidar Helguson to concede a free-kick

25-yards out. Adel Taarabt got his effort up over the wall, and

Ruddy had to make a fine reaction stop low to his right, touching

the ball onto the post. The visitors seemed happy to try to make

their advantage count on the break, as Bennett tested Kenny with a

20-yard effort. Norwich continued to look vulnerable at the back,

as Zak Whitbread deflected another QPR shot behind for corner.

Lambert had seen enough, and made a treble substitution on 65

minutes as Morison replaced Grant Holt, Wes Hoolahan came on for

Lappin and David Fox replaced full-back Adam Drury to leave just

three in the rearguard. Norwich had plenty of width as Whitbread

glanced a header wide from Pilkington’s left-wing cross. Macheda

replaced Helguson for the final 10 minutes. It was, though, the

visitors who would have the final say. On 82 minutes, Morison

blasted home from close range after Hoolahan had nodded down

Pilkington’s cross to leave Rangers just above the relegation zone

and the Canaries back up in the top 10.