This certainly feels like two points dropped, doesn’t it?
The way that QPR stood up to City’s second half barrage was to their credit. Not just that they only conceded one goal, from a hotly disputed penalty, but that that they scored one of their own and should’ve won the game in stoppage time when Bright Osayi-Samuel somehow skied Albert Adomah’s cross high over the bar from about two yards out.
It was a truly incredible miss and a let off for Norwich, who could so easily have been staring at all three points lost this morning and wondering how it happened.
There was just one change to the side that lost at Watford on Boxing Day, with Mario Vrancic replacing Kieran Dowell in the number 10 position. Other than that it was as you were for Norwich.
Mark Warburton is under real pressure from the QPR fans after no wins in the previous eight games but to his credit, he told his men to go out and play, to try to press City high up the pitch and to not just sit back and park the bus. As the half wore on though, Norwich started to exert their superior technical skills and force the visitors back to their own 18-yard line but chances were at a premium. It was, as it always seems to be, so congested that finding space for a shot was tough. Emi Buendia managed a decent shot from a close tight angle, stinging the hands of Seny Dieng in the QPR goal and Vrancic later fired straight at him but that was about it in the first half in terms of real chances.
Rangers occasionally looked dangerous on the break but nothing too serious and then, on the cusp of half-time, Michael McGovern went down clutching his hamstring after a straight forward enough looking pass out to Max Aarons.
He managed to complete the half but was clearly in trouble and could only watch Lyndon Dykes’ late header go wide before the whistle blew for the break.
At half-time, Daniel Barden came out and started to warm up, preparing for the biggest moment of his young career so far. Barden had started the season playing City’s Carabao Cup match at Luton in September when both McGovern and Tim Krul were away on international duty but this was his Championship debut.
The Daniel Farke team talk at the break though, meant that he had very little to do in the next 50 minutes as most of the action took place at the QPR end. The pressure built and built but Rangers stood firm until Teemu Pukki sprung the offside trap and squared for Todd Cantwell to score, only for the lino to rule it out with Todd having been adjudged to be offside.
The reaction from the Norwich bench, once they’d watched a replay, was furious and could be heard on iFollow quite clearly. It went on a bit too, with Farke having to be told to calm down by referee, Oliver Langford.
Dieng denied Pukki twice and then Rob Dickie cleared Jacob Sorenson’s goal bound shot off the line with his keeper beaten until finally, Norwich took the lead on 75 minutes.
Cantwell went down a little easily in the QPR area under pressure from Dominic Ball and Pukki coolly slotted the resulting penalty. At the other end, young Barden had only one save to make, a header from a Rangers corner that he held onto on the line but he was soon picking the ball out of his own net.
Mario Vrancic was weak in the tackle in the centre of the pitch and the ball found it’s way to Bright Osayi-Samuel, who went down in the Norwich area when he felt Christoph Zimmermann’s hand on his shoulder. That pen was about as soft as the first and Osayi-Samuel managed to pick himself up to score past Barden.
Then, at the death, the same player skied over the bar. On any other day I’m sure he scores and wins the game for QPR but being honest and even taking my yellow and green spectacles off, Norwich should’ve had the game well won by that point.
It’s a point but it should’ve been all three. After the game, Farke told the media that Cantwell was a yard onside for his disallowed goal but I haven’t had the luxury of seeing it back again.
By the time the final whistle blew, Norwich had managed 23 shots at goal to the visitors’ 12 and 9 on target to QPR’s 3. They also managed a possession stat of 64%, which is a fairly standard percentage for Norwich this season.
It was crucial not to lose two in a row though and the performance, as you’d expect showed the response we were after.
Let’s hope that the visit of Barnsley on Saturday will see us back to winning ways and that Tim Krul is back before too much longer…