Elvijs had left the building at Carrow Road on Saturday and Neil Warnock, the Queen's Park Rangers manager, was not a happy man. That the Premier League fortunes of his team could yet hinge on Elvijs Putnins, his raw fourth-choice goalkeeper, had left Warnock all shook up.
Putnins, a 20-year-old Latvian whose most recent playing experience amounts to a loan spell with Boreham Wood in the Conference South, remained on the bench, observing Radek Cerny, QPR's No 3 custodian.
But with Paddy Kenny out for weeks with a side strain, Brian Murphy, his deputy, suffering from a calf problem and Cerny plagued by a long-standing back complaint, Putnins could conceivably get a mid-match call.
The Premier League has denied Warnock an emergency keeper on loan and he is not happy: "They said it was because we had other professionals," Warnock said. "We gave Elvijs a free transfer but he didn't want to go, he wanted to train and stay. So, being nice, we said 'Carry on, son. You won't play, but we'll carry on paying you until the end of your contract'.
"We've been told we can't have an emergency keeper unless Cerny gets injured. But there should be some sort of common sense. It's not as though the injuries are false, is it?"
Cerny was hardly at fault as Norwich ended a four-match sequence without a win with goals from Russell Martin and substitute Grant Holt. Luke Young had raised hopes of salvaging a draw, when guiding home the QPR equaliser, but Wes Hoolahan and Holt, the 70th-minute substitutes, combined to secure the victory. "That's why the manager has built a squad," Holt said. "It's a squad game, no one ever plays 11 men for the whole season."
QPR suffered another storm in cyberspace, in which striker Jay Bothroyd was the target for alleged racist abuse. "Racist people are shameful," Bothroyd tweeted back. "I will report this incident."
Scorers: Norwich City R Martin 15, Holt 73. Queen's Park Rangers Young 59.
Substitutes: Norwich Naughton 5 (De Laet, 58), Hoolahan 7 (Pilkington, 70), Holt 6 (Jackson, 70). QPR Bothroyd 5 (Hill, 57), Buzsaky (Derry, 77), Smith (Wright-Phillips, 79).
Booked: Norwich Naughton.
Man of the match Wright-Phillips. Match rating 6/10.
Possession: Norwich 49% QPR 51%.
Attempts on target: Norwich 8 QPR 4.
Referee M Clattenburg (Co Durham). Attendance 26,781.Reuse content