Ten-man Rangers shock Norwich
Hoops hang on after Connolly dismissal
Last Updated: 17/09/08 11:25pm
Rowlands: Free-kick proved enough
Queens Park Rangers hung on for a 1-0 win at Norwich despite spending most of the game with 10 men.
Martin Rowland's 33rd-minute free-kick gave the Hoops a surprise lead just eight minutes after they had Matthew Connolly dismissed for a second bookable offence.
The hosts dominated the second period but Iain Dowie's men withstood a barrage of late pressure to claim their fourth league win of the season and go back into fourth place.
Both teams came into the game on the back of encouraging weekend victories and Norwich boss Glenn Roeder opted to keep faith with the attacking partnership of Antoine Sibierski and Arturo Lupoli, which put Plymouth to the sword on Saturday.
The Canaries finally recorded their first three points of the season as the on-loan duo both struck to see off Plymouth 2-1 at Home Park, and they appeared determined to continue where they left off as on-loan Fiorentina striker Lupoli lashed a 20-yard volley inches over the crossbar after just 13 seconds.
The home team continued to press with Roeder clearly instructing his men to use Sibierski as the target up front.
Darel Russell and Matthew Pattison were the providers, constantly feeding the on-loan Wigan striker with lofted balls.
QPR have started to live up to the expectations created by their Flavio Briatore-funded summer spending spree, but after 25 minutes they found themselves on the receiving end of referee Rob Shoebridge's wrath as Connolly was dismissed for a second bookable offence.
DismissalThe QPR defender had been booked 15 minutes earlier and, after a reckless lunge on Pattison, Shoebridge had little hesitation in giving Connolly his marching orders.
Dowie left Real Madrid loanee Daniel Parejo on the bench in favour of the tireless Rowlands and, five minutes after the red card, his decision was vindicated as Rowlands smashed home the opener with a free-kick from 20 yards after Emmanuel Jorge Ledesma's free-kick had been handled in the wall.
The scoreline could have been increased before the interval as lively Argentinian midfielder Ledesma latched onto a loose ball and unleashed a close-range drive which was courageously blocked by Ryan Bertrand.
From the resulting corner in-form striker Dexter Blackstock rose above the static Norwich defence, but his header went over to leave the home side begging for the half-time whistle.
Roeder introduced winger Lee Croft in place of Lupoli after the break, leaving Sibierski in a lone striking role.
SwitchThe tactical switch had the desired effect as the home side proceeded to control possession.
Midfielder Pattison tried to lead by example but his two speculative efforts failed to trouble Radek Cerny.
Former Manchester City striker Sibierski also did his best to break the visitors resistance but his clipped 68th-minute effort from the edge of the area was well gathered by Cerny.
The home crowd began to let their frustrations be known but their team were unable to respond and Rowlands almost doubled the visitors' lead as his delightful chip only found the roof of the net.
QPR continued to absorbed the Norwich pressure as Mark Fotheringham had his 30-yard free-kick tipped round the post by former Tottenham keeper Cerny but they were unable to penetrate the stubborn away defence.
Sky Bet Championship
|4||Queens Park Rangers||42||73|
|6||Brighton and Hove Albion||43||65|