Nottingham Forest's credentials for automatic promotion to the Premier League looked stronger than ever as they stretched their unbeaten run in the Championship to 19 matches, this demolition of woeful Queen's Park Rangers taking them level on points with leaders Newcastle, albeit from two games more.
One more goal would have put them top, although they were hardly complaining. Manager Billy Davies, as ever, was eager to play down expectations. "We are a good team but we are not talking about promotion," he said. "We have achieved nothing yet and we simply can't get carried away. We can do nothing but prepare each time for the next match until it is all over."
Forest's sixth straight home win was effectively in the bag inside the first 32 minutes. They took control with two goals in the space of three minutes, both scored by Robert Earnshaw, before Dexter Blackstock's penalty extended their lead to 3-0 as the west London side, with one win in their last 12 matches, struggled to find any resistance.
Earnshaw struck first in the 18th minute, curling in a free kick from 20 yards after Blackstock had been fouled, Paul Anderson setting him up for a second from just inside the penalty area.
A foul on Earnshaw by Kaspar Gorkss conceded the penalty. Earnshaw might have notched a quick hat-trick, but after his miss from the spot against Birmingham in the FA Cup earlier in the month, responsibility passed to his strike partner, who made no mistake.
Chris Cohen took Forest's tally to four in the fourth minute of the second half, hitting the ball with such power from outside the box on the left that goalkeeper Carl Ikeme could only take the pace off the shot. Full-back James Perch knocked in Forest's fifth from close range with 12 minutes left.
Nottingham Forest (4-4-2): Camp; Gunter, Morgan, Wilson, Perch; Cohen, McKenna, Majewski, Anderson (Tyson, 69); Earnshaw, Blackstock (Adebola, 78). Substitutes not used: Chambers, McGugan, McGoldrick, Moussi, Smith (gk).
Queens Park Rangers (4-4-2): Ikeme; Connolly, Stewart (Ramage, h-t), Gorkss, Hill; Buzsaky, Leigertwood, Quashie, Faurlin (Ephraim, h-t); Simpson (Vine, 69), Taarabt. Substitutes not used: Cerny (gk), Hall, Cook, German.
Referee: E Ilderton (Tyne and Wear).Reuse content