QPR 0, Norwich City 1

Chris Lakey QPR 0 Norwich 1Darel Russell was the hero as Norwich City gave their chances of avoiding relegation a timely boost with a hard-fought win at Loftus Road.

Chris Lakey

QPR 0 Norwich 1

Darel Russell was the hero as Norwich City gave their chances of avoiding relegation a timely boost with a hard-fought win at Loftus Road.

Russell notched the winner midway through the second half after being set up by Wes Hoolahan, who capitalised on a mix-up between Rangers defenders Kaspars Gorkss and Damion Stewart.

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The Canaries also felt aggrieved not to have awarded a penalty in the first half after referee Graham Scott pointed to the spot when Lee Croft was upended by Jordi Lopez, only to change his decision to a corner after consulting the linesman.

Rangers dominated for much of the game but were made to pay for some wasteful finishing as Norwich registered their first win since Bryan Gunn was named manager.

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QPR have been out of sorts in recent weeks but they should have been in front in the first minute when Liam Miller found Heidar Helguson, whose shot flashed across the face of David Marshall's goal.

Jordi Lopez almost marked his first appearance at Loftus Road with a goal, but his free-kick fizzed wide of the post after nine minutes.

The home side were dominant, and Dexter Blackstock's shot was deflected over the bar after good work from Miller.

But there was a moment of controversy after 32 minutes when Croft went down in the penalty area under a challenge from Lopez, and the referee pointed to the spot - before changing his decision to a corner.

The home side continued to ask questions of the Norwich defence early in the second half, Miller shooting over the bar from 20 yards.

Helguson spurned another chance to open the scoring when he headed over the bar from close range five minutes after the break.

Rangers midfielder Mikele Leigertwood tried his luck from distance, but Marshall made a comfortable save.

Sammy Clingan's long-range strike flashed wide at the other end, before Helguson missed another opportunity - heading wide from 12 yards out.

Norwich were in front after 68 minutes courtesy of some charitable defending from the home side.

Gorkss and Stewart were indecisive, and Hoolahan nipped in to dispossess the former - before squaring the ball for the onrushing Russell, who finished from 12 yards out.

Rangers threw everything at the visitors in the closing stages, Blackstock off target from close range after a scramble in the penalty area but Norwich held on.

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