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
The visitors capitalised on their numerical advantage through
Anthony Pilkington, who equalized with a long-range shot in the
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
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
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
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.