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Sunday, February 08, 2009

Reports and Comments on QPR's Nottingham Forest Draw - "QPR Are a Big Spending Club..."

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The Sunday Times/Brian Doogan - February 8, 2009 - Forest foiled by Alberti
MATTEO ALBERTI , a 20-year-old summer signing from Chievo Verona by big spenders QPR, made amends for conceding a penalty by scoring two goals, but Nottingham Forest’s spirit proved unyielding and they deserved their reward. “For their magnificent attitude, courage and work ethic, which was second to none, the players merit enormous credit,” said their manager, Billy Davies.
- Portuguese legend Paulo Sousa, a Champions League winner in successive seasons with Juventus and Borussia Dortmund, has instilled a strong mentality into his team since his appointment as Rangers manager last November. They passed the ball well, their movement was fluid and threatening and, physically, they proved no shrinking violets.
- Forest’s only grievance was that they were too physical, with Joe Garner taking an elbow to the face in the opening minutes and Nathan Tyson having to leave the pitch with a gaping wound over his right eye from what appeared to be another elbow by Kaspars Gorkss. The injury required a visit to the hospital. What chance, then, Forest lasting the distance?
- Davies’s players showed heart and resilience, and they needed to against a more experienced team. The visitors were only denied a goal by Forest goalkeeper Paul Smith making a reflex save from Samuel Di Carmine and Joe Heath following up with a clearance off the line from Gavin Mahon’s effort on the rebound.
- Rangers came closer still when Di Carmine’s dangerous delivery yielded only a half-chance for Mikele Leigertwood, who reacted quickly, firing an overhead kick that struck the post. But Forest’s ability to hang in there was rewarded before the interval. Alberti held back Luke Chambers as they waited for Lewis McGugan’s diagonal ball to arrive in the penalty area and after some hesitation referee Darren Deadman pointed to the spot. McGugan despatched his penalty kick into the top left corner.
- This ought to have been the perfect break for the home team but in stoppage time Matt Connolly was allowed to cross the ball from the right for Alberti to score. When the Italian took a diagonal ball from Wayne Routledge in his stride three minutes after the restart and brilliantly beat Smith with his shot, it looked as if Rangers might win comfortably.
- But Forest battled superbly and Lee Camp’s mistake as he flapped at a cross by Chambers was punished by Chris Cohen, who headed the ball into the far corner. “The goalkeeper was blocked in the box and I believe the referee’s mistake cost us two points,” said Sousa.
Star man: Matteo Alberti (QPR)
Yellow cards: Nottm Forest: Moloney, Newbold, McCleary, Morgan
Referee: D Deadman
Attendance: 25,859
Nottingham Forest: Smith 6, Chambers 6, Morgan 7, Wilson 6, Heath 7, Moloney 6, Cohen 6, Thornhill 6 (Breckin 90min), McGugan 7, Garner 6 (McCleary 66min), Tyson 4 (Newbold 15min, 6)
QPR: Camp 5, Connolly 6, Stewart 7, Gorkss 6, Delaney 6, Routledge 7, Miller 7 (Ephraim 70min), Mahon 7, Leigertwood 7, Alberti 8 (Balanta 82min), Di Carmine 6 (Blackstock 59min, 6) The Times

- Paulo Sousa praised the character of his side following the R's 2-2 draw against Nottingham Forest at The City Ground.
- Sousa watched on as Rangers fought back from a goal down to take a 2-1 lead, only for Forest to hit back and grab a share of the spoils midway through the second half.
- Sousa told www.qpr.co.uk: "It was a good performance, especially in the second half. The first half I was not happy with, but we built opportunities throughout.
- "We made some mistakes, and I am not so happy with that that, but overall - in the second half - we showed good personality, playing positive football."
- Sousa believes referee Mr Deadman's one and only mistake allowed Chris Cohen to notch the Reds' leveller, but didn't want to be too harsh on the officials, who took a barracking from the Forest supporters throughout.
- "The referee made one big mistake, for their second goal, but these things can happen. Other than that he did very well, so I can't complain too much.
- "But there was a foul on Lee Camp - he was blocked. The linesman could have helped him but he didn't today.
- "Like us, he made mistakes, but I'm quite happy with a point."
- Sousa reserved praise for midfielder Matteo Alberti, who scored his first two goals in QPR colours either side of the break.
- Sousa said: "Matteo is a very important squad member. He did what we asked of him today.
- "He helped us today with two good goals. He also defended very well - he showed a great mentality.
- "He will get better with confidence, but he is showing good signs of improving."
- Sousa concluded: "Of course I am disappointed we didn't take our chances, but if we keep creating, we will keep improving.
- "We needed to close the game out by putting the ball in the back of the net, but I don't have a problem with today's performance, because we showed great character and personality, especially in the second half.
- "The players are down and unhappy, because they realised we've dropped two points. That shows the mentality I am looking for and I am happy with that.
- "We need to push on now and continue this unbeaten run, because we have the ability to do so." QPR

- Nottingham Forest manager Billy Davies is excited by the potential of his young side after watching them battle back to earn a point against a very impressive QPR at the City Ground.
- Chris Cohen's 66th-minute header cancelled out Matteo Alberti's brace to earn a draw after the visitors dominated the majority of the game despite falling behind to a Lewis McGugan penalty.

Davies said: "The remit when I came here was simple. This is a growing club. I'm working with young players and getting them to develop.

"Coming into a club that wants to grow from bottom to top and wants to develop young players, if we can get this right, in a year or two's time we can be a top, top side."

The former Derby boss added: "If we can keep everyone fit, in my mind we have the players to keep us where we are. If we can keep working away then it's a very bright future and one I am looking forward to."

Forest showed great endeavour throughout the game, despite being outplayed by a technically superior Rangers team and Davies was delighted with his players.

"How can I fault these players today? They were magnificent. They showed commitment to come back from 2-1 down and the work rate was second to none," he said.

"We are playing against clubs that are spending vast amounts of money and we're matching them back to front - I'm absolutely delighted."

- QPR boss Paulo Sousa admits his side need to learn how to close out games after they squandered several good opportunities to claim the win. Mikele Leigertwood, Gavin Mahon, Samuel di Carmine and Wayne Routledge all had chances for Rangers, but they had to settle for a point.
- "It is always disappointing when we don't score. The most difficult thing is to create and to close out the games. When you get opportunities you need to close the game out and we need this a little bit more, but it's coming," said Sousa.
- "The second half was a big performance, with a lot of personality and playing some good football. We created, but we need to learn to score and close the game."
- Sousa was unhappy with referee Darren Deadman for allowing Cohen's equaliser to stand after protests from goalkeeper Lee Camp that he was blocked as he came to claim Luke Chambers' cross.
- "The referee made one big mistake. There was a block. When there is a block in the box it is normal to have a free-kick. The rest of what the referee did was fantastic."
- Despite missing the opportunities to win the game, the Portuguese coach was delighted with the football his side played. "I think anyone who loves football will be delighted with what we have done, especially in the second half." Sporting Life

Nottingham Evening Post
"... Afterwards Davies said: “I could not ask any more of those players today. They showed great character, to come back from behind.
“To lose Tyson was a blow, he is an important player for us. But we kept going and QPR are a big spending club so it is a great point for us. We have a great set of players and the team effort and spirit is second to none.” Nottingham Evening Post

Nottingham Forest OFFICIAL SITE - Davies - Just Magnificent

Billy Davies hailed his young Nottingham Forest side as "magnificent" after they had claimed a valuable point from the visit of Queens Park Rangers to The City Ground.

A Chris Cohen goal - his second in as many games - secured a 2-2 draw for a Forest line-up ravaged by injuries.

The Reds had drawn first blood courtesy of a Lewis McGugan penalty but Rangers appeared to take a firm grip on the game with two goals on either side of half-time from Matteo Alberti.

But Cohen's goal earned Forest a point that lifted them four points clear of the drop zone.

Davies said: "How can I fault these players today? They were magnificent - magnificent in their attitude, magnificent in their courage to come back from 2-1 down and displayed a work ethic second to none.

"Losing Nathan Tyson, who is a very important player, and being without James Perch were big blows but we're matching big spending clubs brilliantly and they deserve great credit."

Perch missed the game after being concussed in the midweek cup clash with Derby, while Tyson was forced out of the action after 15 minutes after taking a blow to the head.

He was taken to hospital to have, according to Davies, at least "10 stitches" inserted in a nasty gash above his right eye.

Davies has now taken 10 points from his five games in charge of Forest and he added: "When I came here the remit was simple, different to Derby who wanted to buy success and get to the Premier League very quickly.

"Forest is a growing club - player development, working with young talent and trying to develop over a period of time and I think the board deserve great credit for that approach. I'm very much aware of it." Nottingham Forest

- Matteo Alberti declared himself 'very pleased' with his two-goal display in our 2-2 draw against Nottingham Forest on Saturday afternoon.

The Italian midfielder notched a goal in each half - his first strikes in QPR colours - but only after his foul allowed Forest to open the scoring from the penalty spot in the final minute of the first period.

Speaking exclusively to www.qpr.co.uk, Alberti said: "I am very pleased to score twice, but I am unhappy we didn't get the three points.
"Of course it is great to score two goals, in only my second start for QPR, but I am disappointed we didn't go on to win the game.

"I have waited a long time for this moment, and I am very happy for myself, my family and our supporters."

Speaking about the incident which led to Forest's opening goal, Alberti said: "I didn't think it was a foul - no penalty. I didn't foul him, he fell over me." QPR

Rangers stretched their unbeaten run to nine matches with a hard-fought 2-2 draw with a resurgent Nottingham Forest.

Matteo Alberti proved the hero, despite giving away the first half penalty that Lewis McGugan converted, equalising with the last kick of the first 45 minutes.

Seconds into the second period and he doubled his and Rangers' tally for the day with a fine run and a cool finish to give the travelling R's fans something to shout about.

However, the win was not to be, as Chris Cohen rose unchallenged midway through the second period to guide home the leveller.

Even with five added minutes, neither side could force a winner, despite Mikele Leigertwood's well struck drive from 20 yards bringing the best out of home custodian Paul Smith.

From the 0-0 stalemate with Reading a week ago, all but two of the starting eleven that day took to the field at The City Ground.

Picking up a knock in midweek, Heidar Helguson sat out, with Samuel Di Carmine taking his place as the lone front-man. Wayne Routledge and - with Lee Cook banned -Alberti provided the support, whilst Liam Miller joined Leigertwood and stand-in skipper Gavin Mahon in the middle of the park.

As ever, the back four remained Matt Connolly and Damien Delaney at full back, Kaspars Gorkss and Damion Stewart at the heart of the defence, and in the absence - once again - of Radek Cerny, Lee Camp returned to the ground he'd enjoyed a very successful loan spell at earlier in the season.

Indeed, Camp's welcome from the home fans was arguably louder than any Forest player, but, with Rangers attacking towards the two thousand or so R's fans that'd made the journey up from London, the match commenced.

And it was Rangers that created the first clear-cut chance in the seventh minute. Miller won a corner and when that was swung towards Gorkss at the near post, the Latvian did well to hook over a cross at the byline.

The lofted ball fell kindly for Di Carmine who fired a volley on target but Brendan Moloney was on hand to block. That was impressive, but when Alberti pounced on the loose ball and tried to poke it home, his effort was bravely blocked again by Joe Heath on the line.

After that, the match developed somewhat of an edge, after one or two heavy tackles and loose arms began to fly in, with the Forest fans incensed already at referee Mr Deadman.

Forest used it as inspiration to register their first real chance of the half. Cohen whipped in a corner and the giant Wes Morgan nodded wide of Camp's goal.

Things took a turn for the worse for the home fans after 15 minutes as they saw hot-shot striker Nathan Tyson, who had been risked in the first place, hobble off.

Rangers went the closest either side had so far been when Di Carmine sent over a hopeful cross that Leigertwood did ever so well to get even anything on. The midfielder however, hooked a leg towards the ball after Miller had attempted to control, and succeeded in hitting the base of the upright.

The visitors struck again, Mahon diving full stretch to head a flicked-on Routledge corner wide.

Forest doggedly hung in there, and fashioned a chance of there own minutes later. Heath's fine cross very nearly fell kindly for Joe Garner, who was only denied a clear goal-scoring opportunity by excellent defending by Stewart.

On the stroke of half-time, Forest got the little bit of good fortune to take the lead. Luke Chambers burst forward from right-back, McGugan picked him out, and Alberti made a hash of an attempted tackle, only succeeding in dragging the Forest defender to the floor.

The resultant penalty was calmly tucked away by McGugan to hand the men in red the advantage.

That advantage lasted all of three minutes, as Rangers hit back in style. Superb build-up play released Connolly down the right. His cross, evading everyone in either a red or a Hooped shirt, was slammed home with the last kick of the half by Alberti who instantly atoned for his earlier role in the opening goal.

One goal for the diminutive Italian wasn't good enough, and when Routledge flicked on a punt up field into his path, the youngster weaved his way into the area and beautifully placed his shot beyond Smith and into the top corner.

Rangers lost fellow Italian Di Carmine to injury on the hour, with Dexter Blackstock taking his place.

The tricky Routledge almost increased the R's lead seconds later, when his quick feet allowed him half a yard of space in which to get a shot away. Unfortunately for him, he could only direct across Smith's goal and wide.

Rangers were firmly in the driving seat, and when Delaney picked up the ball just inside the Forest half, he set off on a determined run at the red shirts in front of him. As he reached the edge of the box, he snapped of a drive that took a deflection and flew over.

Forest Manager Billy Davies has instilled a battling spirit since his arrival in Nottingham, and his charges displayed all the fight and heart he has come to expect.

Once again, Chambers was at the heart of it, and when his cross caught every player in a hooped shirt ball-watching, up jumped Cohen to nod it over the line to bring the home side level.

Manager Paulo Sousa, and the noisy travelling fans expected a similar response from the R's, and Blackstock took it upon himself to deliver. Routledge and Ephraim combined on the right with the ball finding its way onto the chest of the R's top-scorer.

His control was assured, and when the ball fell he sweetly struck a left-foot volley into the grateful arms of Smith.

Leigertwood went one better a minute later, as a Routledge whipped in a fine corner from the right that the R's midfielder rose to nod goalward. Smith rescued his teammates with a wonderful dive that tipped it onto the post and out.

From the resultant corner, the pair tried again, but this time the former Crystal Palace man could only head wide of the mark.

Alberti, clearly tired from all his exploits, made way for the returning Angelo Balanta with seven minutes to play.

Rangers dominated the final few minutes. A last ditch tackle from Kelvin Wilson denied Routledge, whilst Leigertwood's well-hit 20-yarder needed tipping over by Smith.

But neither side could find that winning goal, yet Rangers could take solace in the fact that the unbeaten run had been stretched. It has now been nine games since the R's last tasted defeat. QPR

News of The World - NOTTM FOREST 2, QPR 2

CHRIS COHEN grabbed a controversial equaliser as fighting Forest plundered a precious point.

Cohen stole in at the far post to nod in a cross from Luke Chambers and boost his side’s battle to beat the drop. But QPR boss Paulo Sousa insisted the goal should have been ruled out for obstruction on keeper Lee Camp.

Sousa said: “Our keeper was blocked when he wanted to jump for the cross. It was a big mistake from the referee. When there is a block in the box it is normal to have a free-kick.”

Cohen’s 67th-minute strike capped a fine fightback by the home side, who had seen Lewis McGougan’s opener overturned by two-goal QPR midfielder Matteo Alberti.

Forest manager Billy Davies was more than happy with the performance of his team. He said: “QPR, like Derby and Birmingham, are big-spending clubs.

“My remit here when I took on the job was to develop young players over time. My players were magnificent in their attitude and courage to come back from 2-1 down.

“We’re matching all these big-spending clubs and the challenge is to try and keep this club up. If we can keep everyone fit, in my mind we have the players to keep us where we are.

“And if we can get through this, in a year or two’s time we can be a top club. If we can keep working away then it’s a very bright future and one I am looking forward to. Considering the injuries we have, this is a very satisfying result for us.”

Forest’s cause was hindered after just 12 minutes when striker Nathan Tyson went off with blood pouring from a wound above his right eye.

Tyson, who needed 10 stitches, was injured in an aerial clash with QPR defender Kaspars Gorkss and replaced by Adam Newbold.

Forest had led a charmed life, with efforts from QPR stars Samuel Di Carmine and Alberti being hacked off the line. They survived again when an overhead kick from Mikele Leigertwood thumped an upright.

Yet Forest went ahead on 44 minutes, as McGougan slotted home a penalty after Alberti was adjudged to have tripped Chambers.

It was McGougan’s third goal of the season — and two of those have come against Rangers. But the visitors levelled three minutes into injury-time, when Alberti fired in a low cross from Matt Connolly.

Forest fell behind three minutes into the second half. Alberti collected a clever flick from Wayne Routledge, held off the challenge of Brendan Moloney and then smashed the ball past keeper Paul Smith.

Rangers could have extended their lead on the hour but Routledge saw his low shot flash inches wide of the far post. Even after Cohen’s leveller, the Londoners had the better chances.

Smith produced a fine one-handed save to tip Leigertwood’s header wide and followed that by stretching backwards to tip a Leigertwood 20-yarder over the bar. Goal-hero Cohen almost produced another on 80 minutes. But Camp, who spent 15 games on loan with Forest earlier this season, pulled off a smart save low to his left.

Sousa was equally delighted with his players, adding: “I think anyone who loves football will be delighted with what we have done, especially in the second half.” NewsoftheWorld

Nottingham Forest Official Site

Nottingham Forest's young side battled hard to earn a point against Queens Park Rangers.

It was a poor first half from Forest but it looked like they would go in at half time a goal up after winning a penalty a minute from time. But a stoppage time goal from Rangers put the game back on level terms on the half time whistle.

Rangers took the lead early in the second half but Forest persevered and were rewarded with an equalizer. Both sides worked hard to find a winner but it evaded them both.

Rangers won the toss and chose to start the game defending the Trent End and former loan goalkeeper Lee Camp was warmly received by the Forest supporters as he made the run down the pitch to take his place.

There was little cohesion to the Forest side at the start of the match and the opposition were only marginally better, playing a very physical game.

Rangers came close in the seventh minute from a Wayne Routledge corner. The ball came in to the back post where Samuel di Carmine had his effort blocked by Brendan Moloney and then Matteo Alberti's volley was cleared off the line by Joe Heath.

Nathan Tyson was forced to go off for stitches to a nasty cut above his eye and was clearly angry that the referee took no action for the challenge that caused the injury.

And for the second time in the game Joe Garner went down after a clash with a Rangers player to the anger of the Trent End supporters as again the referee took no action.

There was no return from the dressing room for Tyson who was replaced in the 15th minute by Adam Newbold.

Rangers came close again when the ball came into the Forest penalty area and wasn't cleared. Liam Miller tried an over the head shot, the ball hit the far post and was eventually cleared.

Forest's first real chance was just before the half hour mark when Joe Heath put a neat ball into the box and Matt Thornhill stretched for it but couldn't get any power behind his shot.

After an improved period ofplay, Forest were awarded a penalty a minute before half time when Lewis McGugan chipped the ball in to Luke Chambers and he went down under the challenge of Alberti, who picked up a yellow card.

McGugan took the penalty well, sending the ball flying past Camp into the top right of the net.

But Rangers were back on level terms in stoppage time when Matt Connolly's low cross into the box found Alberti who put the ball past Smith into the bottom right from 12 yards out.

Forest pushed forward from the start of the second half and came close when Heath's cross found Thornhill who managed to flick the ball over the Rangers keeper but his header was just wide.

But less than a minute later Rangers had taken the lead when once again Alberti caught the Forest defence out, beating Moloney to the cross and blasting into the top corner from six yards out.

There was a delay in play while Samuel Di Carmine received treatment before being stretchered off and substituted.

When play resumed the away side were soon on the attack and the ball was flicked on to Wayne Routledge who ran in to the right side of the box. His shot had Smith beaten, but the ball wentjust wide of the post.

In the 66th minute Garner, who had struggled against the massive Rangers' defence, was replaced by Garath McCleary.

And Forest were back on level terms a minute later after Morgan forced the ball to Chambers out on the right. His cross went over everybody to Cohen who headed in from the back post.

Rangers put the Forest defence under pressure and Smith did well to dive to his left and tip Mikele Leigertwood's header round the post for a corner.

Forest played some great attacking football as they got the ball down the left by Heath to McCleary who flicked the ball to Cohen as he ran to the edge of the box, but his shot was well blocked by Camp.

It was the visitors who were putting the pressure on soon after and with two minutes to go Ian Breckin came on for Thornhill as Forest moved Morgan up front in a last attempt to get a winner.

But the first thing the Forest defender turned striker did was to pick up a yellow card for an over-zealous challenge.

As Rangers pushed in stoppage time Smith did well to put a high ball in from Routlegde over the bar for a corner.
But even with five minutes stoppage time neither side was able to break the deadlock.
....Attendance:25,859 away attn 1,996 Nottingham Forest

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