Nottingham Forest hosted QPR this afternoon, looking to replicate their excellent victory against Cardiff City on Friday when the Reds produced a brilliant away win in South Wales, courtesy of a James Garner strike and disciplined defending.
However, the home team faced a QPR side in good form and Mark Warburton’s side went into the game on the back of a 3-0 win against Coventry. Unsurprisingly, Chris Hughton made just one change from Forest’s victory over Cardiff, with Filip Krovinović replacing Cafu.
If Forest needed a good omen for winning successive matches it was that QPR had won just one in 36 matches at the City Ground.
Forest started well, dominating possession, and getting into dangerous positions and Lewis Grabban could have put Forest ahead, just six minutes into the match, but he fired a good chance wide.
Ryan Yates had a header cleared off the line for the hosts and Filip Krovinovic stung the palms of Seny Dieng as Forest searched for a first-half opener. QPR gradually grew into the game; however, they failed to trouble Brice Samba, with Stefan Johansen and Charlie Austin having the visitors’ best chances of the first half.
For all of Forest’s chances, it looked as though the game would be deadlocked at the break. However, Alex Mighten scored his third goal of the season just a minute before half-time to put the Reds in front, with the youngster slotting in from close range.
Forest were not content with their one-goal advantage, and after the interval they pressed for a second. Sammy Ameobi had a low-drive parried away by Dieng, Mighten poked a shot just wide, and James Garner was brilliantly denied by Dieng after a fabulous free-kick.
With 63 minutes played, Forest finally got their reward as Lewis Grabban found the top corner from 25 yards out to double Forest’s advantage with a superb strike.
QPR should have taken Garner’s first free-kick as a warning, however, they did not and, with 21 minutes left on the clock, James Garner added a third for Forest with his third goal for the club – a stunning free-kick that whistled over the goalkeeper and into the back of the net.
In injury time, Dykes scored a consolation goal for QPR to deprive Forest of their clean sheet. However, it was a brilliant performance and an excellent three points for Forest, who look to be ending the season in style.
Chris Hughton concluded: “It has been a good few days for us I must admit. My two disappointments really are to concede so late on, because I thought the performance deserved a clean sheet, and I also thought it was a game where we could have scored more goals. If I think in our recent run, this has probably been the best game for us in terms of our offensive play and creating chances. I’m really pleased though because it has been a good weekend for us.
“What we said to the players was that this was going to be a completely different game to Friday but the characteristics I wanted from the team had to be exactly the same. We wanted a strong work ethic and to get it right tactically against a side who play an expansive style of football and who have been on a good run. Credit to the players though because they’ve put in a lot of effort over this weekend and I think they’ve got what they deserve.
“The second goal was important because until you’ve got that, a really good team like Queens Park Rangers are always in the game. At 2-0, it changes the dynamics of the game because they have to open up a little bit more and it creates more spaces to exploit. I was really pleased we got that second goal when we did because we really needed it and it then gave us opportunities to create chances as the game opened up and I thought we did that today.”