Paddy super show not quite enough.
The R's looked to extend their unbeaten festive run of results against a Norwich side that were missing a number of first team regulars. So could Rangers' make it three out of three?
Our designated driver for the day, Jenson, had to pull out due to unforeseen circumstances so the gang took to the road in three cars as PK and Lofty drove themselves and in my car I was joined by Sam, Luke and Matt.
After a clear run to our meeting point the gang were united at "The World Famous Comfort Cafe. After Lofty and PK has eaten their cooked breakfasts we set off in convoy fashion with me leading the way followed by Lofty and PK. Shortly after leaving the cafe Sam declared that she had a bad feeling about today and that we were gonna lose, the rest of us in the car scoffed at the idea and tried to put some positive vibes back into our journey. After nearly losing PK at a few sets of traffic lights we all arrived safely in the County Hall car park and took the short walk to the ground and once we got there Matt went off to do his work for the official website report whilst the rest of us went off to brave the cold air and warmed up with a nice beer. PK was a bit adventurous and decided to try one of Delia's pork, apple and cider pies whilst Lofty and myself took the sensible route by opting for the cornish pasty. After having a chat to Michael on the concourse whilst watching the WBA v Man United game about our thoughts on the game, we made our way up to our seats to be greeted with the team news.
Neil Warnock was forced into one change with Tommy Smith unable to play due to his loan conditions, the transfer is due to be made permanent for 3rd January, it was the shock inclusion of Leon Clarke that got everyone talking and not many positive words were said.
The opening exchanges were fairly even but disaster struck on nine minutes when Chris Martin was allowed to run through the R's midfield and get a shot in which was blocked by Clint Hill but the rebound rolled into the path of Russell Martin and with all the space to control and then hit a sweet drive into the back of the net. We could've twice denied this opportunity if we had closed down Chris Martin earlier on before allowing him to dance through everyone and then secondly Leon Clarke could've closed down Russell Martin a lot quicker and possibly blocked his shot also.
The goal gave Norwich the confidence to go on and create further chances and also played a lot of keep ball to frustrate the R's in the chase. Too much time was given to Norwich in the midfield and Wes Hoolahan was proving to be a menace when attacking us and it was he that set up a glorious chance for Holt to score a second for Norwich as he danced down the R's right and centred to an unmarked Holt but he couldn't get a good contact on it and fluffed his side foot wide.
Rangers' were lucky to go in at the break just one down and in fairness in could've been two or three.
Lofty and PK made their way downstairs for a half time cuppa whilst me, Sam and Luke stayed in our seats to check out the latest scores and we were delighted to hear that Leeds had drawn with Middlesborough and Cardiff were losing at Bristol City, results were going our way so we needed to wake up and try to capitalise.
Rangers' made two half time substitutions with Clint Hill and Heidar Helguson making way for Bradley Orr and Patrick Agyemang.
Just five minutes into the half and the R's were dealt with another massive blow.
Holt broke clear, albeit with a lot of help with his hand, and as Matt Connolly got close the pair tangled, well Holt is well known for going down easily as well, and unfortunately for the R's defender the handball by Holt was not seen but instead he was the one on the receiving end of being penalised and was given a red card as he was the last man.
Despite the sending off Warnock decided to keep the faith and the final substitution was made on 62 minutes when Taarabt, who was started to get kicked around, came off just after receiving a yellow card and Georgios Tofas replaced him.
The space left by Connolly's departure was being exploited on a number of occasions and if it wasn't for Paddy Kenny on a number of occasions then we could've been on the end of a cricket score.
However in the last 15 minutes the R's began to find their feet and put plenty of pressure on the home side despite their numerical advantage.
Agyemang came the closest when he rose to head a cross from the left onto the bottom of the Norwich post and saw the ball go wide.
All in all having finished the game so strongly you can only be proud of the Rangers' side that battled away during the second half and the difference that Agyemang made when he came on was there to see. I, along with many other R's fans are wondering what Leon Clarke brings to the table as today he turned in another shocking performance yet still managed to stay on the pitch for 90 minutes whilst we have Rob Hulse sat on the bench.
Today's Man of the Match was an easy one to pick for us and the unanimous vote goes to...... Paddy Kenny for the number of times he saved us today and if it wasn't for him then we would've lost by six or seven.
Norwich City: Ruddy, Martin, Drury, Nelson, Whitbread, Crofts, Holt, Hoolahan, Martin, Smith, Wilbraham (Gill 82).
Subs: Rudd, Jackson, Johnson, McNamee, Tudor Jones, Askou.
Goals: R. Martin (9)
QPR: Kenny, Hill (Orr 46), Derry, Taarabt (Tofas 62), Clarke, Helguson (Agyemang 46), Faurlin, Mackie, Gorkss, Walker, Connolly.
Subs: Cerny, Rowlands, Hulse, Borrowdale.
Bookings: Hill (41)
Red Cards: Connolly (51)
Referee: Mr J Moss
Attendance: 26, 273
Having left the ground we waited for a good 25 minutes for Matt to re-emerge from the press box so we could take the walk up the hill to join the masses of traffic trying to get out of the car park. After a good 20 minutes of further chatting we then decided to brave it and try to escape and alas we did 10 minutes later!
Once we reached the A11 the convoy was broken as Lofty zoomed off into the distance and I was quick to follow him as we left PK to enjoy his drive home. After a few overtaking exchanges it was lofty that narrowly beat us to the checkpoint as he filtered off to go home, a fun way to end the day.