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Ten man Forest fight back to deny QPR – full match report
Ten man Forest fight back to deny QPR – full match report
Monday, 14th Feb 2011 01:35 by Clive Whittingham

QPR were held to a draw at Loftus Road by Nottingham Forest on Sunday despite the visitors conceding first and then having a man sent off.

For the second time in as many home matches I was drawn to the reaction of the visiting team’s goalkeeper at the full time whistle.

Last time out at Loftus Road we had Jamie Ashdown, the Portsmouth custodian, attempting to hoof the ball over the main stand as an expression of his own frustration having lost his team the game. On Sunday we saw our former charge Lee Camp with his fists pumping, slapping high fives with anybody he could get within touching distance of, celebrating this result with a smile as wide as the goal he’d protected very comfortably through the second half.

It was the Forest fans who could be heard at the full time whistle – cheering loudly as Mark Clattenburg brought proceedings to a close and then giving their heroes a standing ovation as they walked to the School End to receive the acclaim of a sizeable travelling support. Manager Billy Davies was happy too, delighted even, and it occurred to me that anybody tuning in to Sky Sports early for the Bolton v Everton game and witnessing those scenes must have surely thought that in form Forest had made it eight wins in a row, closing the gap still further on QPR and indeed taking the title race out of Rangers’ hands for the first time this season.

When you go a goal down away from home against the league leaders, and then have a man sent off, it’s perfectly understandable that escaping with a draw is a cause for some celebration. By contrast having lead the game and enjoyed more than an hour with a numerical advantage in a home match it’s to be assumed that the majority connected with QPR would be disappointed with this result.

But for me this was just as much of a missed opportunity for Forest as it was for QPR, and their attitude to the second half here where they didn’t so much park the bus as stack it on bricks in front of their goal, betrayed a lack of self belief.

Last week at Reading, a match against a team with one defeat in 15 matches on a ground where QPR have never won, Rangers went down to ten men before half time themselves. Neil Warnock’s response was to continue attacking and trying to maintain possession of the ball. He threw on Ishmael Miller, a striker, safe in the belief that even with a player less QPR had it within themselves to win the game. He was rewarded with three points.

Faced with a similar situation here Billy Davies did the opposite. Forest were actually better with ten men than they had been with eleven at the end of the first half and to be honest it was QPR who were more grateful to hear the half time whistle. Marcus Tudgay and particularly David McGoldrick had absolutely dominated Kaspars Gorkss and Matt Connolly from the tenth second onwards and despite the dismissal of Radowslaw Majewski for an evil hack at Adel Taarabt Forest had continued to threaten and look dangerous. By removing Tudgay at half time, surrendering all attacking intent, and settling for a point Forest passed off a terrific opportunity to win this match – not something to celebrate with any great gusto.

Prior to kick off Neil Warnock was forced to change his starting 11 because of a suspension for Hogan Ephraim, the man sent off at the Madejski Stadium just over a week ago. The three match ban for the former West Ham man wasn’t a total disaster as the man he replaced in the side originally, Tommy Smith, was fit and ready to return to the attack alongside Adel Taarabt and Wayne Routledge. Rob Hulse was surprisingly preferred in the lone striker role rather than Ishmael Miller who was on the bench along with Heidar Helguson.

Further back things had a more familiar look about them with Shaun Derry and Alejandro Faurlin an in form holding midfield partnership and Bradley Orr, Connolly, Gorkss and Clint Hill the regular back four in front of Paddy Kenny.

Forest spent much of the pre-match lamenting the loss of their midfield enforcer Guy Moussi to a thigh injury which is likely to rule him out for the rest of the season. He was replaced by former Preston man Paul McKenna, a man with a history of good performances against QPR to his name and, following in the footsteps of Graham Alexander, Liam Lawrence, Jem Karacan, Matthew Milles, the latest player to come to Loftus Road with the intention of both playing and refereeing the match. Fortunately Premiership referee Mark Clattenburg, who has twice refereed crucial QPR promotion games with positive outcomes against Oldham and Sheff Wed, was on hand to ignore McKenna’s constant (and I mean constant) volleys of abuse and advice and keep a firm grip on the game.

Rangers would no doubt have been glad to see the names of Robert Earnshaw and Dele Adebola missing from the Forest line up – Earnshaw scored a hat trick on this ground in his Cardiff days while Adebola has goals against Rangers for four different clubs and presents the type of physical challenge that our centre halves have struggled with this season. As it was they had more than they could handle in the former of McGoldrick and Tudgay. That became apparent within the opening ten seconds as Forest kicked off, quickly lobbed the ball up to the edge of the box and won it, and then struck the inside of Paddy Kenny’s post with a low shot on the turn by Tudgay. The flag had been raised and the goal would not have counted had it gone in, although in all the confusion it appeared to be Matt Connolly rather than a Forest player who poked the ball into his path. This gave McKenna his first opportunity to scream in the referee’s face.

Forest quickly forced two corners, delivered right to the heart of the six yard box, and had clearly come with the intention of seizing the initiative early on. QPR’s first threat came from a free kick after Wayne Routledge had combined nicely with Hulse and then been fouled. Taarabt drilled the ball into the wall and Forest quickly stormed down the other end and won a third corner inside the first four minutes which Rangers did well to clear. Radowslaw Majewski, resplendent in red tights, hacked a volley high over the bar as this alarming start to the game continued.

You certainly wouldn’t have thought QPR were the pace setters judging by the early pattern of play but they got into their stride a little as the time ticked into double figures. Tight to the byline Adel Taarabt produced a brilliant cross, given the circumstances, that was just too high for Hulse in the six yard box but eventually found its way out to Faurlin on the edge of the area and although his instinctive shot was heading on target it was subsequently deflected wide by Tommy Smith. How’s your luck? Roughly 20 minutes later Forest would do the same thing and equalise.

QPR’s problems in this game were two fold. Firstly the centre half partnership of Gorkss and Connolly was poor and ineffective. I’ve felt a bit like a man looking for problems by criticising the pair of them in recent weeks, given that we had kept four clean sheets in five matches coming into this one, but they have looked a little ragged to me recently and did so again here. Too timid in the face of a physical challenge, too hesitant under a high ball, not assertive enough with each other or their opponents. A minute after the Faurlin near miss Connolly headed a ball that was destined for the safety of Paddy Kenny’s hands up in the air and straight to Paul McKenna who tried a speculative shot from distance and missed the target with the aid of a deflection that led to another corner.

There’s a secondly to come later involving Rob Hulse, but as the striker had a decent first half where he did actually hold the ball and lay it reasonably in the manner we require and indeed demand of our lone strikers I’ll leave it for now.

Any concerns that had been stacking up in the opening stages were forgotten in an explosive eight minute spell that should have turned the game well and truly in QPR’s favour. First, after a quarter of an hour, Rangers took the lead. Just as at Reading the goal owed much to the calmness, awareness and quality of Alejandro Faurlin who, when left facing a left flank devoid of QPR shirts, decided that rather than play a percentage ball in behind Chris Gunter and try to turn Forest around he would instead play a beautiful reverse pass on his blind side through considerable traffic to Tommy Smith. It changed the direction of the attack completely, wrong footed Forest, and opened up a corridor of space that Smith dashed through enthusiastically before skilfully bending a low left footed shot around Camp and into the bottom corner. Smith and Faurlin, whose return to form in the last fortnight has been a spectacular delight, were our best players in this game so it was just to see them craft our only goal.

QPR have kept a league leading 17 clean sheets this season and have never lost from a winning position. They’re not the sort of team you want to fall behind against, particularly at Loftus Road, and Forest’s situation worsened within seven minutes. Different teams have taken different approaches with Adel Taarabt this season and it was pretty clear from the first minute here that Forest believed the best way to combat the threat of the Moroccan was to kick him. Repeatedly. At the exact halfway point of the half though Radowslaw Majewski took the niggly tactic that had been well metered out by McKenna and the giant Wes Morgan to this point and went too far with it. Possibly seeking to make an impact so that QPR would remember him in future (the big screen had bizarrely listed him as Gary Majewski on the pre-match team sheet) the Pole left the ground and almost snapped Taarabt in half with a crude two footed, studs up hack that had Clattenburg producing a red card before the QPR man had even hit the ground. McKenna complained about it, but few others did – a nasty and wholly unnecessary lunge that brought the correct punishment.

How short our memories have obviously become. An atmosphere descended on Loftus Road that I’d describe as almost being arrogant. Despite Forest starting the game strongly, coming into the match on a run of seven straight wins, and QPR winning a game with ten men just a week earlier there seemed to be a belief from some that the game was now over and won.

Not so. Within two minutes of being reduced to ten men Forest were level. The goal itself was somewhat fortunate, but QPR had only themselves to blame after gifting Forest a free kick 35 yards out thanks to a mind blowingly stupid and totally needless foul by Matt Connolly on McGoldrick who had his back to goal and was going nowhere at the time. Suddenly from facing one player miles away from Paddy Kenny who wasn’t even facing the right way as he attempted to control a through ball Rangers were now defending a free kick against one of the Championship’s players of the season so far. Lewis McGugan has scored some belters this season, and although his low drilled free kick won’t feature on any coaching videos for a demonstration of good technique it achieved the desired result by striking McGoldrick in the area and bobbling agonisingly into the corner of Paddy Kenny’s net. The goal was nothing more than Forest deserved and was celebrated enthusiastically as you would expect.

You could almost see the confidence coursing through Forest now. A nice QPR move that ended with a Bradley Orr cross cleared out to Clint Hill who volleyed wide came in between two excellent chances for a second goal for the visitors. First Tudgay beat Gorkss to a header and McGoldrick ran onto the ball ahead of Connolly before volleying off target. Then McGoldrick manoeuvred Gorkss into position as if playing with a rag doll and won a corner that Morgan met powerfully having arrived late from the centre back position – Paddy Kenny denied him with a great leg save.

When McKenna then seized on yet more decent service from McGoldrick and drifted a curling shot across the face of Kenny’s goal there were one or two restless noises emanating from the home end.

Rangers subsequently rallied. Alejandro Faurlin won a header on the edge of the Forest area that set Taarabt up for a powerful drive that was blocked away bravely by Luke Chambers who flung himself in front of the shot like a bodyguard taking a bullet. Taarabt then tried a more crafted effort in the next attack, toeing an improvised shot wide of Camp’s post with the keeper scrambling about unsure of what had just happened before his very eyes. Possibly still a little confused Camp then came for a cross, flapped at it, and chased it out of the penalty area before clearing it into the main stand. Memories of Lee’s infamous walkabouts in open play while at QPR came flooding back as the Forest fans serenaded him with the “England’s number one” chant that used to ring out around this ground for him. Not on the evidence of that incident he isn’t.

Chambers was in a seriously determined mood and he produced another brave last ditch block on the edge of the area as Wayne Routledge wound himself up for a go at the goal. But it was Forest who finished the half stronger with Knonchesky working a throw in routine and accelerating into the QPR penalty area before testing Kenny at his near post.

To add to the concerns of the home side Tommy Smith, probably QPR’s best player in the first half, collapsed in the penalty area after colliding with Camp while chasing a through ball and left the field in a groggy state never to return. Ishmael Miller came on to replace him at half time.

Forest also made a change at the break, bringing on defender Joel Lynch for striker Marcus Tudgay and in doing so surrendering all attacking intent and hope of winning the game. They spent the next 45 minutes with first McGoldrick and later Tyson as a sole attacker, isolated and marooned at the top of a team that was otherwise set up with a flat back five and three protective midfielders in front of them. It was negative, and given the circumstances and league positions it was understandable, but Forest had looked just as threatening with ten as they had with 11, more so in fact, so it seemed strange that Davies didn’t continue trying to win the game, even if it was just for ten or 15 minutes at the start of the second half, before going more defensively later on. Still, by the looks of their reaction at the end it was a point that Forest wanted at this stage.

The second QPR problem on the day that I alluded to earlier was the lone striker role. Hulse had probably been better in the first half than he has been for QPR in any other game since he arrived here in August – although judging such an accolade is a bit like trying to pick the best actor from the cast of Eldorado. In the second half sadly he regressed into being a bit of a liability. Partly that was down to poor service, partly it was down to his own lack of confidence, self belief and assertiveness which is clear and obvious for all to see, and partly that was down to Forest having an extra defender in their line up for the second half to go alongside the already excellent Gunter, Morgan and Chambers.

Miller on the other hand made a great impact in an unfamiliar role down the right flank. He revelled in the chance to get the ball down and run at Joel Lynch, who looked wholly uncomfortable with him throughout the second half, and if anything QPR didn’t use him enough. Sadly the change enforced by the injury to Smith, and another substitution later on when Faurlin suffered a cut head, meant Hulse had to remain when he would surely otherwise have been replaced and so QPR weren’t as threatening in the second half as they should have been. If Helguson had played the second half here instead of Hulse I believe we would have won the game.

QPR started the second stanza as Forest had started the first – winning the kick off on the edge of the area and then getting a corner off Morgan after good work from Taarabt. The Moroccan took the set piece and found Gorkss at the back post but his downward header into the six yard box was claimed cleanly by Camp at the feet of several onrushing player.

That was the good of Taarabt, the bad came moments later as is so often the case. The QPR captain had been showing signs of descending into a sulk at the end of the first half, as he had done at Hull a few weeks ago, with frustration at the constant failure to find his feet with the ball by his team mates playing out from the back and the physical attention he was receiving from the Forest defenders etched across his face. After another clash with Morgan on halfway Taarabt foolishly aimed a kick at the impressive Forest centre half which would have resulted in a red card had it connected. Clattenburg settled for yellow and Taarabt can count himself very fortunate.

Back to his best a moment or two later Taarabt found Faurlin with an instinctive hooked pass over his shoulder and the Argentinean had time to let the ball drop before hitting a screaming volley with his unfavoured right foot that kept straight as an arrow and missed the far top corner by inches with Camp well beaten.

Despite now only facing one Forest attacker, and a very isolated one at that, QPR’s centre backs didn’t enjoy their second half any more than they did the first. Gorkss in particular was having a bit of a mare and when, for the third time in the half, he rejected the chance of playing an easy short pass in favour of an aimless long one that was inevitably headed straight back at him by Forest’s impressive defence he received a yellow card for attempting to recover the situation with a rash lunge on David McGoldrick.

Just before the hour Miller came over to the QPR left to try his luck and embarked on a barnstorming run down the touchline which Gunter just about kept pace with before conceding a corner. With Miller, Hulse, Gorkss, Hill and others all in and around the six yard box Forest could be forgiven for not noticing Faurlin lurking on the edge of the area but Taarabt spotted him, played the corner low to his feet and in the style of Paul Scholes and Teddy Sherringham from other similarly worked set pieces Faurlin struck a first time shot towards the goal that was deflected away to safety. Five minutes later the pair tried the same routine again, this time Faurlin lifted the ball high over the bar. A shame, nobody in hoops deserved a goal more than Faurlin on the day.

Still, QPR do at last look dangerous from set pieces again. Another corner later in the day from Taarabt found Bradley Orr steaming in at the back post and although his powerful header beat Camp it was headed off the line by Gunter.

In the meantime a growing tide of QPR pressure was briefly interrupted when Shaun Derry fouled Cohen in trying to retrieve his own misplaced header and was, perhaps a little harshly, booked for his troubles, McGugan took the free kick but smacked it well over the bar. He was the only Forest player who disappointed me on the day – he offered little to hint at the heights he’s reached previously this season and was replaced by Paul Anderson immediately after this.

A rare moment of decent play from Hulse in the second half won a free kick which Adel Taarabt saw deflected wide, and when the Moroccan then returned the favour with a clever cross to the back post Hulse found himself free behind Chambers but took too long bringing the ball down with his chest and the chance went begging.

I had suggested in the pub before the match that I had a horrible feeling we may miss our first penalty of the season in this game. Lee Camp saved a spot kick on his first return to Derby in a Forest shirt and having converted all eight of our penalties this season successfully it feels like we’re due a miss. I thought we may get to find out 18 minutes from time when Wayne Routledge accelerated into space in the left channel and headed straight for the penalty area. A foul inside the area looked inevitable as Routledge outpaced Gunter and reached the ball before him, but the Welsh fullback had telegraphed his opponent’s intention and did well to make sure he made no contact whatsoever. Routledge hit the deck anyway and Mark Clattenburg, five yards away, should have booked him for diving as well as waving away the appeals.

Clearly unhappy with the performance of his defence Neil Warnock took off Kapsars Gorkss and moved Clint Hill to centre half with Pascal Chimbonda coming on for a QPR debut at left back. This solved the problem of our centre halves being disorganised and not winning enough headers, but created two new issues with Forest immediately sending on Nathan Tyson for David McGoldrick to exploit Hill’s lack of pace and Chimbonda’s obvious lack of a left foot causing a few hairy moments for him at left back as he twisted and turned his way into trouble on a couple of occasions trying to work the ball onto his favoured right peg.

It also restricted our capacity to change things in attack by using up another substitute, and when Alejandro Faurlin inadvertently collided with Wayne Routledge and opened up a cut over his eye that option was removed altogether. QPR clearly didn’t have time to get Faurlin stitched up and back out there so introduced Petter Vaagan Moen in his stead and he got straight into the action by drilling a free kick into the wall – although it’s certainly a sign of how good he is with set pieces that even Taarabt stepped aside to let him have a crack with it. What an entrance it would have been.

Through no real fault of the Norwegian I felt our chances of winning the game went off with Faurlin. He was the one pulling the strings and making things happen, and having to use a final sub to replace him rather than Hulse killed us as a force in the game. When Ishmael Miller again powered to the byline and cut the ball back through the six yard area where nobody was on hand to apply a finishing touch it merely served to highlight the problem further.

Things could have got a lot worse as well with Forest showing some attacking ambition for the first time in the half in the closing five minutes. First Anderson headed over at the back post with Hill doing enough to put him off, then Tyson accelerated away from Connolly and Hill and hit a shot from a tight angle into the side netting. Seconds earlier the Forest sub had been booked for needlessly following through on Paddy Kenny as he chased down a through ball.

Clattenburg added three minutes on to the end of a game that was rather petering out. Wayne Routledge crossed for Vaagan Moen to plant a header wide but a draw was a more than fair result on the overall balance of play and although Forest celebrated it like one of their European Cup successes while QPR looked quite downbeat at the final whistle it’s not a bad result for either team.

Luke Chambers accepting Adel Taarabt’s shirt during the after match handshakes, then pretending to wipe his arse on it in front of the Forest fans was disrespectful but was probably only meant I jest and after such a good performance at centre half he had every right to be pleased with his afternoon’s work.

This was a game of contrasts. A rip roaring first half that flew from end to end and was packed with incident that I’m sure had the television audience gripped, then gave way to a slower paced and more lacklustre second half. For QPR Alejandro Faurlin was excellent, as was Tommy Smith in his time on the pitch, but Connolly and Gorkss were mediocre at best. Compare their performances to the commanding displays put in by their opposite numbers Chambers and Morgan and the difference was stark. Danny Shittu must be knocking at the door now. Rob Hulse had a good first half, and a lousy second – I’d expect Miller, or Helguson, or both to start at Preston next week.

Overall, while it’s easy to say it’s two points dropped against ten men, I prefer to look at the positives. This game starts a run of fixtures for Nottingham Forest that also includes Cardiff next Saturday and goes on to feature matches with Swansea, Norwich, Burnley, Reading and Leeds. For QPR this match represents the last of our run of games against those sides and we now have the likes of Ipswich, Palace, Sheffield United and Derby coming to Loftus Road interspersed with away games at Preston, Scunthorpe, Middlesbrough, Doncaster and Barnsley. This result keeps it in our hands – Forest will still be behind us even if they win their extra games – and leaves us in a terrific position six points clear with 15 games to go.

Happy thoughts.

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QPR: Kenny 6, Orr 6, Connolly 5, Gorkss 5 (Chimbonda 73, 6), Hill 7, Faurlin 8 (Moen 79, 6), Derry 7, Smith 8 (Miller 46, 7), Taarabt 6,Routledge 6, Hulse 5

Subs Not Used: Cerny, Hall, Helguson, Shittu

Booked: Taarabt (unsporting conduct), Gorkss (foul), Derry (foul)

Goals: Smith 16 (assisted Faurlin)

Nottm Forest: Camp 6, Gunter 7, Chambers 8, Morgan 8, Konchesky 7, Cohen 6,Majewski 5, McGugan 6 (Anderson 68, 6), McKenna 7, McGoldrick 7 (Tyson 74, 7), Tudgay 7 (Lynch 46, 5)

Subs Not Used: Smith, Adebola, Earnshaw, Moloney

Sent Off: Majewski 23 (serious foul play)

Booked: Tyson (foul)

Goals: McGoldrick 26 (assisted McGugan)

QPR Star Man – Alejandro Faurlin 8 I was starting to worry about Faurlin a few weeks ago after the Burnley game. His form was on the slide and he clearly had a muscle injury of some sorts that was restricting his movement and causing him to leave games early. Out of the blue against Portsmouth in the last home game he was excellent, then last Friday at Reading he was as good as I’ve ever seen him, and he was brilliant again here. It’s his eye for a pass that makes him such a delight. He has a willingness to not simply take the easy option but to always try and find a team mate with a quality pass, typified by his assist for Smith when I reckon nine out of every ten players in our league would have just played the way they were facing and knocked a ball in behind the right full back to turn him around. Don’t underestimate how many headers he wins in the midfield, or how important they are either.

Referee: Mark Clattenburg (Tyne & Wear) 7 I could nit pick – Routledge should have been booked for diving, Morgan got away with plenty without being booked, Derry’s yellow card was a little harsh, McKenna shouldn’t have been allowed to scream in his face all afternoon – but overall he controlled the game very well and got the big decisions spot on. Ran the game with the calm authority and assuredness that the better Premiership referees have.

Attendance: 17,227 (3,000 Forest approx) A terrific atmosphere in the first half gave way to frustration and murmurings of discontent in the second reflecting the pattern of the game. Loftus Road is getting nosier, which is good, but we need to stick with our players when they’re having tough games. Unlike years gone by there is nobody in that QPR team not giving their all at the moment so they’re all worthy of as much encouragement as we can send their way. Forest travelled in big numbers and made plenty of noise themselves, but I thought the celebrations at the end were over the top having only taken a point from a game they could have won.

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MelakaRanger added 06:28 - Feb 14
Great report Clive, thanks from 6000 miles away! Its gonna get tight at the top over the next 2 weeks. We need to get back to winning. Too many more draws and that lead will disappear oh so quickly. Time to give Preston a right thumping!

Rs4life added 06:32 - Feb 14
Lets hope Smithy aint out for long. Preston next week should give PVM an oppourtunity to step up and make a first team claim in Smith`s absence hopefully

Lazarus added 07:06 - Feb 14
Great report, and I couldn't agree more.

I don't think I've seen a game this season where our center backs had less success. Aside from missing out on many of the high balls, Gorkss also made some shocking passess that went to Forest players. That said, Forest are a good side, and I'm not sure that the lads will be tested this sternly by many others in the next 15 games.

SomersetHoops added 08:36 - Feb 14
Although Warnock blames Conolly and it was a bad mistake, if we had a decent striker in the middle we could have won. From my position alonside the far goaline I didn't get a good view of what Hulse did in the first half, but I didn't see anything from him and in the second half he was dire. Always second to the ball didn't win anything, wasn't in the right place the rest of the team stopped giving the ball to him because he nearly always lost it - I could go on. I haven't been to every game he's played in, but I have yet to see hin play an acceptable game for us. He may have a reputation before he came to Loftus Road, but buying a player from Derby with a canny manager like Clough (despite their recent slump) we should wonder why he was allowed to leave. I don't doubt he is trying, but he stands out as not being up to the standard of the rest of the team and I believe his lack of sharpness an/or ability was what cost us this game. I think if Warnock has a fault it is not accepting when his has bought a dud. If he had taken Hulse of, put Miller in the middle and someone else on the right wing I think we would have won this game. If I'm being unfair and someone can tell when he has played well for us in a game I've missed then I might stand to be corrected, but for me I would prefer not to see his name on the team sheet again unless he can very significantly improve. This game was there to be won and it was our lack of sharpnes up front, once Smith had to go off, that lost it.

headhoops added 08:42 - Feb 14
Spot on Clive.

Forest are a decent team, brimming with confidence and the sending off, followed so closely with a fluke goal certainly galvinsed them. They had something to defend and they did that time and time again. What should concern us more is like you have pointed out - what would have happened if Davies hadn't gone defensive? I thought McGoldrick was huge for them, the complete opposite of Hulse.

Three of the back four (Hill excluded) look ponderous or exhausted and Kaspars passing was appalling.

Faurlin was man of the match by a country mile, he wins tackle after tackle, his strength in the air is excellent and he is fast picking up a wide range of passing skills. The switch for Smiths goal was top class.

We are bound to be dissappointed - 10 men, a dodgy goal and a goal line clearance - but our future is in our own hands and with the 9 games coming up there really is 27 realistic points on offer. Especially if Smith returns and Heidar replaces Hulse.

antoknee64 added 08:57 - Feb 14
Connoly was shocking,why (with the best goalkeeper in the league) is he so reluctant to head the ball back to Kenny,too many times this season he just headers the ball straight back to the oppo and cause us problems,roll on Big Dan for a few games.I hate to critasize our defence with the record we have but iv`e noticed Connoly doing this on several occasions also both him and Gorkes seem to let long balls from the oppo bounce when they should be deal with the ball straight away.
Great report Clive although after seing footage of the Routledge appeal if the lino had been on the other side of the pitch he would of flagged for the pull on Routledge`s shoulder from their defender.Cant fault the officials they were great.

qprmick added 09:15 - Feb 14
We had too many average performances seeing as we were playing 10 men, we negated our numerical advantage. It says it a lot when Chimbonda outscored a few in the ratings and he was only on for a short time. It would not have mattered scorewise but I was amazed to see Tyson stay on the pitch, his follow through could have put Paddy out for a while, it was as bad as the tackle on Adel IMO.

Myke added 10:25 - Feb 14
Ok I didnt see Faulin getting cut which explains him coming off which I couldn't understand. I thought PVM had just been sent on hastily to take the left footed free kick which I thought Faulin should have taken it as he went so close from an almost identical position v Coventry a few games ago. Thought we were a bit congested down the left, especially after PVM and Chimbonda came on with both of them operating down that side and Tarrabt and Routledge hugging the same line. I thought we could have moved Tarrabt more central and Routledge over to the right, and played Chimbonda down the right as we didn't need a left back in the 2nd half anyway. That would have created more room down the left, stretched Forest oh the right with Routledge/Chimbonda's pace and allowed Miller into the middle were he would have been more effective than Hulse who just seems off the pace since he joined us. A good point though overall and still in our own hands. Messageboards today suggesting Miller will be recalled which would be a blow given Hulse's form

ShrivHoop added 10:33 - Feb 14
Once again a first class report that reflects what I saw. Many from other sources don't! Like you, Clive, I'm very nervous about the centre backs but can't see NW changing them whilst results are ok and we all hope that continues. Wasn't sure that he was right about with the public rant over Mat C - thought it should have been kept within the club. However NW hasn't done much wrong so far so he is probably right! I thought Miller was excellent when he came on although obviously Smith was missed. Worried that paper talk indicates that Miller may be recalled by WBA. Hulse is obviously a good player who knows what he's about but clearly is yet another striker who doesn't fit in with our playing style. He is clearly a very confident dependant person and I can only see downhill progress from him. As for the result, before the game I would have taken draw because of Forest's form and even run away leaders draw with other top teams at home. Obviously the sending off makes us think that an opportunity was lost but on the other hand with 11 I could see Forest winning even when they were a goal down, so perhaps it was point gained! Like you I thought they missed an opportunity by going so obviously for the draw in the second half.

PinnerPaul added 11:27 - Feb 14
Agree with all the match report apart from the stingy 7 for MC. My only critcism was that Derry's caution was for an identical offence to a Forest player in the first half on Adel that only got a talking to - time and temperature of the match though accounts for his reasoning.

Routledge "pen" - there is a ridiclous trend now that every penalty shoit has to be a pen or a yellow card for "diving". Ref can only give either if he is 100% sure, as someone else said above if fould had been on AR's side there might well have been an outcome one way or the other, clearly MC wasn't sure so gave neither.

Even taking that into account, that makes one call you don't agree with and he only gets a 7? as NW said he and the two ARs were spot on all match.

LambournR added 11:30 - Feb 14
Another great report Clive. I thought we looked very lacklustre in the first half, second to so many balls in midfield - we looked like a team playing 424 against a confident team up for the game, even after they went down to 10 men. As you correctly identified, Forest killed the game by going very defensive in the second half when they should have kept going as they were imho.
From my view in A block, Connelly and Gorkss didn't look secure at any point in the second half even though they were only up against a lone attacker. My biggest frustration was the number of times Connelly had the ball in our half with a huge area of pitch to run into, but every time he got to the half way line he stopped, gave the ball to a backtracking Faulin and scuttled back to his position - when a good ball player would have kept going to put the pressure on. I usually like the look of Connelly going forward, but think he missed out badly yesterday and this showed that our centre-backs were rattled. Shittu to start next week?
Finally - my estimation of your ability to take notes during the game and produce these superb reports has gone up even further. Totally missed the forest goal as I was still trying to text my daughter to tell her forest were down to 10 men!

Spaghetti_Hoops added 12:28 - Feb 14
Starting to see more end product from Faurlin. He is a player you have to like but 2 goals and 2 assists is a thin return from someone who has the ball close to the opposition penalty area a lot.

Warnock is starting to worry me with his public criticisms of Connolly and Gorkks. A bit too Magiltonesque. The more Magilton publically criticised the defence the worse it got. If NW thinks his public criticisms will work the evidence is they won't. He should be praising their record, all the clean sheets and giving them every confidence, or just bringing Danny in. One or the other.

Thanks for the report. You always make me realise how much I missed. In this case while I was screaming at McKenna and ball watching.

dermyqpr added 13:16 - Feb 14
thanks for another great report Clive. Forest definately had the chance to take us, thankfully they thought better of the point. Our CB`s have been a worry of late. KG is not a player i would even contemplate taking to the Prem (this being totally in our own hands as these 9 games, with an average 2 per game-27 imo being a tad optimistic Headhoops), then i believe the fight will be for positions 2-6. That said the squad (even if Miller goes back) has options and NW has seen and done it all so lets trust this man who has not let let us down and despite all the retthoric is enjoying the game more than ever.

NorwayRanger16 added 13:33 - Feb 14
Great report Clive, very accurate and detailed.
For me it was the loss of Smith along with us pumping the ball upfield throughout the second half as to why we didnt end up winning. We should have been a lot smarter and kept the ball for longer periods at a time and thereby putting heavier pressure on Forest. But hoofing it upfields under no pressure whatsoever only played into Forest hands. Really missed Magiltons approach where it was almost as Cerny was'nt allowed to kick the ball, always starting the attack from the back.
Five players did well in my opinion, Faurlin, Smith, Orr, Kenny and Derry, the rest failed to deliver on a big occasion with this being first v second and live on tv.

Clattenburg had a really good game, how refreshing it was to have a quality ref, and what a difference from last week! Think he deserves a mark of 8, the only thing bugging me about his performance was the inconsistency in his decision making re Morgan/Hulse.

benbu added 13:52 - Feb 14
It was pretty obvious when they went down to ten they would try to nick a goal and then take the point and their goal was lucky. I felt Forest were very negative in everything they did after that - time wasting, men behind the ball every time, no chasing our passes to kenny etc. Wasnt a great spectacle in the 2nd half but credit to them for sticking to their game plan (although very negative and defensive). Think its a fairly decent point for both sides and as you point out, our running in coming weeks doesnt look as tough as Forests and this isnt a bad point with a 6 point lead at the top.

I felt Miller (like many others) should have been central and would have offered more than Hulse did 2nd half. The back 2 were poor today, KG for his positional play and distribution of the ball and MC for simple mistakes and for not being confident winning his headers. Maybe a time to give Danny his hero's return!!

They did over-celebrate the point too, was like they won. Dont get me wrong, it was a good point for them and not a bad one for us but the sending off made the 2nd half very defensive and totally changed the game and had they have gone for it (like we did at Reading) it would have been much more open and enjoyable to watch.

looking forward to the trip to Preston saturday, should be 3 points for the Rs and this draw (like others recently) may just come in handy and seen as a decent point in a tough fixture...

Monahoop added 14:51 - Feb 14
Enjoyed another descent report Clive. This was one of those games where neither side could afford to lose so a draw seemed a fair result. I agree with Norway in that Faurlin, Smith and Derry were our best players, the rest just average or at best mediocre which didn't stand too well considering the importance of this fixture. With Smith and Faurlin leaving the field we looked vulnerable or at least would have done had Forest not adopted their rigid defensive strategy in the second period. On the day I doubt we would have beaten them had they had another man sent off. We need to be more positive and start hitting teams early instead of letting oppositions get at us. This has been a slightly worrying trend of late. It's as well we have quality in the side at present to deal with that problem otherwise we might see a couple more Watford's come our way.
Would have liked to have seen Miller start instead of Hulse. His pace and more insertive style would have caused no end of problems to their back line I feel than the more hesitant and thoughtful approach of Hulse. Still we didn't lose this one. Keep believing!

ManinBlack added 17:09 - Feb 14
I think allowances have to be made about nervous QPR fans because, lets face it, challenging for promotion and finishing top is not something that happens very often to us. If you support Man Utd or the Old Firm than as a fan you are used to title battles but this is quite rare for us to be in this position all season so every time we drop points an inquest follows.

I would suggest that the ref deserved at least 8 as compared to the dross we have had to put up with like the oaf at Reading he was different class.

I think the match report is a little harsh on Billy Davies in terms of being negative in the second half. The fact is we are a much stronger team than the Fake Hoops so comparing our bold approach at the Mad Stad with Forest's at our place is a bit different. As league leaders we felt we were good enough to win at Reading but I doubt Forest really believed they could win at the leaders. Add to that we had already beaten Reading at home with 10 men you can see why Warnock believed we could do them again. The table shows we are 18 points better than the fakes so it might have been foolish for Davies to try and attack us. Perhaps if Forest were reduced to 10 men against Reading he would go for the win because they are not as good as us.

Be honest if we are in the Premiership next season and we get reduced to 10 men at Old Trafford would we attack if Utd were the league leaders? We might try and win at somewhere like Stoke if a man down but against the best we would try and get a point. We have to respect Forest saw a point at us as a great one because they consider us to be the best team in this league.

AshteadR added 19:14 - Feb 14
Thanks for the report Clive. Gorkks played like he's been out on the town the night before and I was a bit surprised he wasn't subbed earlier for Shittu.

The timing of their goal set the scene for the rest of the match and the loss of Smith, and then Faurlin confirmed it. A draw certainly isn't the end of the world - particulalrly if we can win on Saturday.

extratimeR added 15:29 - Feb 16
Absolutely spot on report Clive, I think Faurlin may turn out to be the crucial player in the run in, as when he plays like he has done recently, (agree about injury), he can be the difference between one point or three.

Correct about Hulse, one thing I have noticed from F block, I am sort of level with the 18 yard box, is that Gorks and Connolly do not "call the header" or shout each other across to moving players, the only calls I hear are good shouts from Paddy when he wants the ball, or telling them to pick someone up, Hill is good and opens his mouth, but interesting to see Hill absolutely bollocking Gorks when he was completely wrong side of Forest player for a first half coner. I like Gorks and Connolly but this business of letting the ball bounce from clearances is getting very nerve racking, I swear teams have picked up on this as it is starting to happen every week.

I would happily have settled for point at Reading and three against Forest, so job done.

Thanks Clive!

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