Thrilling Forest Beat QPR

Nottingham Forest 3-1 Queens Park Rangers (EFL Championship) 16.03.22

A brilliant performance by Nottingham Forest saw the Reds come back from behind to beat fellow promotion contenders Queens Park Rangers at a soaked City Ground.

A decent start by the away side saw a couple of early opportunities go begging for Rangers, the first after seven minutes when Chris Willock found Andre Gray who shot across goal but despite hitting narrowly wide the flag went quickly up for offside, three minutes later a huge chance for QPR was wasted as Gray cut back for Amos who misfired with the ball falling to Lee Wallace only two yards out, but as it looked easier for the former Scotland International to nestle home into an empty net, he could only slide the ball into the grateful path of the goalkeeper.

Forest improved as Spence dribbled down the wing to earn a corner and the resulting set play by Garner was deep, hooked back in towards Ryan Yates but Marshall beat the Reds midfielder to the ball before Yates then missed an opportunity equal to Wallace’s earlier chance at the other end, Zinckernagel brilliantly firing in across goal and as Yates slid in just three yards out, the ball bounced harmlessly wide instead of hitting the intended target. Conditions certainly playing a part.

Chris Willock suffered injury for QPR and he was replaced by the Moroccan international Ilias Chair as Forest continued to press without really testing the visitors goalkeeper but on 39 minutes the Reds were sucker punched by counter-attacking football as Andre Gray found space in the hosts area and smashed the ball hard and low past Horvath to open the scoring.

In response, Steve Cooper’s side went straight up the other end in search of a leveller as Davis was fouled by Dunne who received a booking for his troubles, Garner struck the resulting free kick well saved by Marshall with the ball falling back to Davis who couldn’t adjust his feet to hit target.

The Reds may have gone in at the break disappointed to be losing, but they were soon level in the second half, nine minutes in as Djed Spence struck an absolute beauty from 25 yards into the top corner of Marshall’s net.

Spence then followed that up by shepherding a ball back on his own goal line, twisting out past his marker playing a one-two and carrying the ball 80 yards before finding Johnson who blasted well wide. The Middlesbrough loanee receiving raptures of applause for his athletic efforts.

Odubajo then tried his luck to go over softly inside the Forest area with a penalty claim for QPR waved away by Referee John Moss before Keinan Davis cut in and blasted powerfully wide into the Trent End stand on 64.

Spence by now causing havoc in the Rangers defence then terrorised Wallace down the right to cut in on his left and cross for Davis who headed wide, QPR finding the Forest right back unplayable at times as he continued to be a huge menace going forward.

The Reds brought on Joe Lolley and Sam Surridge as they looked for a late winner and on 82 minutes after some neat play in the attacking third Zinckernagel shot low which was saved by Marshall and out for a corner. The resulting set play found the near post as Yates nodded towards goal to net a fourth in as many games for him all be it courtesy of a deflection.

As Rangers tired, Forest then made it three when Lolley broke to play in Cafu who’s shot was well saved but the ball fell back to Johnson who powerfully smashed home.

Marshall injured in the process then had to come off and be replaced by an outfield player in Dickie as QPR already used up their subs quota, the final few minutes a procession as the Reds played out the game two goals up and a with their opponents a man light.

A huge win takes Forest to within a point of the playoff places whilst QPR in that last important sixth spot, drop two places having played a game more than Steve Cooper’s irrepressible men.

Next stop Liverpool and a nice side distraction of the FA Cup where the City Ground will be no doubt rocking again.

Nottingham Forest: Horvath, Worrall, Figueiredo, McKenna (Lolley 79), Spence, Yates, Garner, Colback, Zinckernagel (Cafu 84), Johnson, Davis (Surridge 79).

Queens Park Rangers: Marshall, Dunne, Dickie, Sanderson, Odubajo, Field, Amos (Hendrick 61), Wallace, Willock (Chair 30), Dozzell (Johansen 61), Gray.

Venue: City Ground (27,872)

*Main image @NFFC Djed Spence was in superb form against QPR.

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