Norwich City 0 QPR 1: Tireless Rowlands rewards Dowie's faith

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The Independent Football

Queen's Park Rangers enhanced their promotion credentials as Martin Rowland's first-half free-kick earned Iain Dowie's 10-men all three points against Norwich at Carrow Road.

Rowlands' goal came when his ferocious 30th-minute free-kick from 20 yards evaded everyone, including the helpless Canaries goalkeeper David Marshall to give the visitors an unexpected lead. The goal came just five minutes after Dowie's men had been reduced to 10 men after Matthew Connolly had been dismissed for a second bookable offence.

The hosts dominated the second period, but the visitors withstood late pressure to hang on for a hard-fought three points.

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 the referee Rob Shoebridge's wrath as Connolly was dismissed for a second bookable offence. The defender had been booked 15 minutes earlier and, after a reckless lunge on Matty Pattison, Shoebridge had little hesitation in giving Connolly his marching orders.

Dowie left the 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.

Norwich: Marshall; Omozusi, Kennedy (Grounds, 62), Stefanovic, Pattison, Fotheringham, Russell, Bertrand, Hoolahan (Cureton, 66), Sibierski, Lupoli (Croft, 46). Substitutes not used: Nelson (gk), Koroma.

Queen's Park Rangers: Cerny; Ramage, Stewart, Connolly, Delaney, Rowlands, Mahon, Leigertwood, Cook (Gorkss, 30), Blackstock (Agyemang, 77), Ledesma (Buzsaky, 82). Substitutes not used: Camp, Parejo, Agyemang.

Referee: R Shoebridge (Derbyshire)