Norwich beats QPR as Barton is sent off

Norwich won a battle of promoted sides Monday as it rallied to

beat 10-man Queens Park Rangers 2-1 at Loftus Road in a Premier

League game marred by Joey Barton’s sending off.

QPR captain Barton opened the scoring for the home side with a

shot from 12 meters (yards) out in the 11th minute but was then

shown a red card for an apparent headbutt on Norwich midfielder

Bradley Johnson.

The visitors capitalised on their numerical advantage through

Anthony Pilkington, who equalized with a long-range shot in the

42nd minute.

A second-half strike by Wales international Steve Morison proved

to be the winner for Norwich, leaving the home side winless in

eight league matches.

Norwich had started the brighter of the sides with midfielder

Simon Lappin, who was making his debut, delivering an inswinging

free kick that was headed behind for a corner in the opening

minutes.

But it was QPR who struck first.

Barton’s finishing was clinical when he converted a low cross

from Clint Hill on the left that eluded the Norwich defenders,

beating goalkeeper John Ruddy.

But 35 minutes later, as his teammates were racing ahead after

clearing a corner, the controversial midfielder was involved in a

tussle with Zak Whitbread behind the play. Barton then tangled with

Johnson in the center circle and appeared to headbutt the Norwich

midfielder.

After consulting an assistant, referee Neil Swarbrick sent

Barton off. The midfielder was adamant in his denial of wrongdoing,

protesting his innocence as he made his was down the tunnel.

Barton’s absence was keenly felt by QPR as the visitors started

to press. Pilkington found himself in space on the edge of the box

and managed to drill ball into the bottom right corner for the

sides to finish an eventful first half on even terms.

Despite playing with 10 men, QPR manager Neil Warnock opted to

inject attacking pace to his side, replacing Jamie Mackie with

Shaun Wright-Phillips to start the second half.

The former Chelsea and Manchester City midfielder made an

instant impact on the game 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 managed

to send his effort over the wall, and Ruddy was again forced into a

reaction stop low to his right, deflecting the ball on to the

post.

Norwich manager Paul Lambert responded to QPR’s resurgence with

a triple substitution on 65 minutes as Morison replaced Grant Holt,

Wes Hoolahan came on for Lappin and David Fox replaced fullback

Adam Drury to leave just three at the back.

The changes eventually paid off in the 83rd when Morison scored

from close range after Hoolahan had nodded down Pilkington’s cross

to leave Rangers just above the relegation zone and Norwich back up

in the top 10.