Nottingham Forest's sturdy and stubborn defensive efforts, for 67 minutes with 10 men, earned a point that ensured their fans were celebrating vigorously despite watching a long winning streak end. Three points here would have given Forest their seventh successive league victory – a club record last achieved by Brian Clough's 1979 side. Clough would not have approved of the aggressive gamesmanship shown by the modern Forest though, as they targeted Queen's Park Rangers playmaker Adel Taarabt for regular, rough treatment.
Once Radoslaw Majewski lunged at Taarabt and was rightly sent off, with Rangers already 1-0 ahead, a victory was never likely. To come back to 1-1 shortly after that incident and hold on to a point showed just how mentally and physically strong Forest's defence is. It keeps them seven points behind leaders QPR with two games in hand.
"It was a stupid, naïve red card," said the Forest manager, Billy Davies. "He will be fined, and fined heavily. Our game plan was blown apart, but our defence was first-class." Davies added that his team are still "three players short of challenging for automatic promotion," but many of his younger players showed their worth. They were helped by QPR's lethargic start. In the opening minute Marcus Tudgay struck a post from close range. Although he was deemed offside, it was a startling welcome to the game for Rangers' back four.
Taarabt's first impressive contribution was a well-flighted cross from the right. The ball was cleared to Alejandro Faurlin whose 20-yard shot deflected off Tommy Smith and went wide. Faurlin and Smith made amends by combining for the well-crafted 16th minute goal. Faurlin's pass allowed Smith to cut inside from the right. He charged 20 yards forward and curled in a low shot from outside the 18-yard area.
Forest's difficulties were compounded midway through the first half when Majewski let his frustrations blur his thinking. He slid in, two-footed, on Taarabt and was dismissed. But a moment of fortune brought the visitors level. Matthew Connolly fouled Tudgay leading to a free-kick.Lewis McGugan took the set-piece which was deflected by the QPR wall on to David McGoldrick's thigh. The Forest striker knew little about it but his touch diverted the ball in.
Forest continued playing an open game with both sides exchanging half-chances. Taarabt came nearest with a deft 25-yard shot. Faurlin almost scored a deserved goal early in the second half. His sweetly struck drive was off-target, though.
Forest had another nervous moment in the 73rd minute when Wayne Routledge crumpled in the box when challenged by Chris Gunter but no penalty was given. Gunter then earned the gratitude of his team-mates as he cleared Bradley Orr's header off the line following a Taarabt corner.
Queen's Park Rangers (4-2-3-1): Kenny; Orr, Gorkss (Chimbonda, 73), Connolly, Hill; Derry, Faurlin (Moen 79); Routledge, Taarab, Smith (Miller, 46); Hulse. Substitutes not used Cerny (gk), Hall, Helguson, Shittu.
Booked Taarabt, Gorkss, Derry.
Nottingham Forest (4-4-1-1): Camp; Gunter, Morgan, Chambers, Konchesky; McGugan (Anderson, 68, McKenna, Majewski, Cohen; McGoldrick (Tyson 74); Tudgay (Lynch 46). Substitutes not used Smith (gk), Adebola, Earnshaw, Moloney.
Booked Tyson Sent off Majewski (23)
PossessionQPR 57% Forest 43%
Shots on target QPR 11 Forest 5
Rating 7/10. Man of the match Faurlin.
Referee: M Clattenburg (Gosforth) Att 17,227.Reuse content