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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Nottingham Forest Progress...Queens Park Rangers Regress

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Posted on: Tue 26 Jan 2010

Rangers boss Mick Harford could not hide his disappointment after seeing his side succumb to a 5-0 defeat against an in-form Nottingham Forest side.

A double from Robert Earnshaw, as well as further goals from Dexter Blackstock, Chris Cohen and James Perch gave the Reds victory at the City Ground, and the R's chief admits that his side's inability to cope in defence played a large part in the loss to Billy Davies' men.

"We knew it'd be a big test this evening against a good Forest team," Harford told www.qpr.co.uk. "We got through the first 20 minutes and they scored just on the 20-minute mark.

"Defensively, after that first goal we were very poor. The players were told that we were going to play a high-energy team, who are in your face and that will be at you from start to finish. On tonight's evidence we couldn't deal with that.

"The players have been told in no uncertain terms that kind of performance is not acceptable.

"They're professionals. They know when they haven't performed, when they've underachieved and when they haven't lived up to their reputation.

"We've got some good players, but today as a group and a team we were very disappointing."

Harford added: "We gave away three silly goals that could quite easily have been quelled in terms of defensive mistakes and we never had a shot on target also in the first half.

"For a Queens Park Rangers team, that's a sin.

"It's clear from watching that performance that we need to sign a striker, and that's something I'll be looking to address in the coming days.

"Today is a setback. Along the way we're going to have many ups and downs, and tonight is one of those downs. There are 20 games left and 60 points to play for - our season starts now." QPR

QPR Official Site Match Report

Robert Earnshaw was at the double as Rangers suffered an away defeat against high-flying Nottingham Forest at the City Ground.

The hosts took the lead on as early as 19 minutes, with Earnshaw superbly curling home a free-kick from the edge of the box.

And Forest added a second just two minutes later, as Earnshaw notched his second when through on goal, before Dexter Blackstock struck number three from the penalty spot before half time.

The Reds didn't rest on their laurels in the second half either, with Chris Cohen adding a fourth before James Perch smashed home number five from close-range to put Forest level on points with Newcastle United at the top of the Coca Cola Championship.

R's gaffer Mick Harford made two changes to the side that drew 2-2 away at Blackpool last weekend.

Following his release from West Ham United and putting pen to paper on a contract with the R's for the remainder of the campaign, Nigel Quashie came into the centre of the QPR midfield.

Also handed a start at left-back was Matt Hill, after yesterday (Monday) he signed on a loan deal from Wolves until the end of the season.

They replaced Wayne Routledge and Patrick Agyemang, who both completed moves away from Loftus Road - the latter on loan - to Newcastle and Bristol City respectively.

So, with Carl Ikeme in goal, Matt Connolly, Damion Stewart, Kaspars Gorkss and Hill started in defence.

Akos Buzsaky and Alejandro Faurlin began out wide in midfield, supported from the centre by Captain Mikele Leigertwood and Quashie.

Adel Taarabt partnered top scorer Jay Simpson in attack.

As the play got underway at the City Ground, it was the hosts who had the first shot on goal.

Chris Gunter's cross to the back post found Radoslaw Majewski, and when the Reds playmaker found skipper Paul McKenna just short of the penalty area, he could only fire high and wide of the target.

Majewski was then in the thick of the action again, freeing the ball to Perch on the left, whose dangerous cross was well blocked away for a corner by the sweeping leg of Rangers defender Stewart.

The R's felt a little aggrieved moments later, however, when Buzsaky was booked for a foul in the centre of the park, even though it seemed clear to most that the Hungarian international had taken the ball and not the man.

And QPR's luck wasn't to get any better on 19 minutes, as Earnshaw fired Forest into the lead with a delicious free-kick.

After Leigertwood was adjudged to have tugged back Blackstock on the edge of the box, Earnshaw took the resultant set-piece, curling the ball around the wall and past Ikeme to put the Reds into the lead.

In buoyant mood after their first, just two minutes later Forest doubled their advantage.

Anderson won the ball from Quashie in the centre of midfield, before he drove at the R's defence and released Earnshaw, and he planted the ball home into the bottom left-hand corner for his second.

Soon after, Rangers fashioned their first attempt on goal. Taarabt ran at the defence from halfway, though his shot from the edge of the penalty area was straight at Lee Camp.

At the other end, Ikeme did well to prevent a Forest third; initially beating Majewski's rasping effort from 30 yards away before catching the ball at his chest.

The Reds were soon back on the attack, however, and on 32 minutes they added their third goal of the match.

Majewski - who was proving a constant thorn in the R's side - crossed for Earnshaw, and he was brought down in the box by a challenge from Gorkss, leaving the referee with no choice but to point for a penalty kick.

Blackstock stepped up to take it and didn't falter, smashing the ball into the bottom left-hand corner to further increase Forest's lead.

Just before the break, Rangers had a chance to reduce the arrears when Leigertwood struck for goal from 25-yards out, but his shot went well over Camp in the Reds net.

Three down at the break, QPR boss Harford decided to change things by bringing on Peter Ramage and Hogan Ephraim for Stewart and Faurlin.

It was a substitution that gave Rangers fresh impetus, and they almost pulled goal back just seconds after the restart.

After the R's won free-kick on the edge of the Forest box, Taarabt squared the resultant kick into the path of Quashie, who drilled an effort straight at Camp for the Reds.

Play soon switched to the other end, however, and on 49 minutes the dominant hosts added goal number four.

Cohen received possession some 30 yards from goal before unleashing a powerful effort on target, and the swerve on the ball deceived Ikeme as it hit his hand and found the net.

Soon after, the R's created their second chance of the half to find a goal.

Connolly drove at the Forest area from midway before thundering in an effort on goal that was well parried by Camp, before Buzsaky's shot went high and wide of the target from the loose ball.

Moments later, Rangers were on the offensive again. Buzsaky's corner from the right was met by the head of Latvian international Gorkss, but he could only power his effort straight at Camp.

At the other end, Cohen found Anderson on the left-hand side of the box, before the midfielder cut in and shot just wide of Ikeme's left-hand post.

But Forest weren't to be denied for too much longer, and after a goalmouth scramble resulted in the ball being cleared off the line two times, Perch was on hand at the third attempt to notch a fifth goal.

Nottingham Forest: Camp, Perch, Morgan (Chambers 72), Wilson, Anderson (Tyson 70), Earnshaw, Cohen, Gunter, McKenna, Blackstock (Adebola 80), Majewski.

Subs not used: Smith, McGugan, McGoldrick, Moussi.

Goals: Earnshaw (19 & 21), Blackstock (32), Cohen (49), Perch (78)

QPR: Ikeme, Stewart (Ramage 46), Leigertwood, Buzsaky, Gorkss, Quashie, Connolly, Faurlin (Ephraim 46), Hill, Simpson (Vine 70), Taarabt.

Subs not used: Cerny, Hall, Cook, German.

Bookings: Buzsaky, Taarabt, Quashie

Referee: Mr E Ilderton

Attendance: 23, 293 (Away: 693) QPR

Nottingham Forest Official Site - Five Star Show - Billy's View
Tue 26 Jan 2010

Billy Davies refused to bask in the glory of Nottingham Forest's five-goal demolition of Queens Park Rangers.

A Robert Earnshaw brace, a Dexter Blackstock penalty and goals from Chris Cohen and James Perch floored Rangers at The City Ground and took Forest level on points with Championship leaders Newcastle.

But boss Davies said: "We could be better - achieving something would make us better and at the moment we've achieved nothing.

"We're a good side, learning and working very hard.

"We were clinical tonight. It wasn't an easy game and the first and second goals were important.

"But that's it - it's another game less which is good and every point is a prisoner in this league.

"People can't get carried away because there have been too many top sportspeople in years gone by who have been in very good positions and blown it.

"It can happen and we can't afford to do anything at the moment except prepare for the next match and keep picking points up.

"I'm sorry - it's a very good three points but there's 13 weeks left, 19 matches left, and I'm sure there will be one or two teams out of the top six still thinking they can get in there.

"I know they can and that's why we've got to be very cautious." Nottingham Forest

Tue 26 Jan 2010

Nottingham Forest got their biggest win of the season after demolishing QPR in a 5-0 victory which sees them finish in second place, equal on points with Newcastle, for at least 24 hours.

Forest totally dominated the first half and had Rangers quickly on the back foot with two goals in as many minutes and then added a third from the penalty spot.

Forest were four in front just three minutes into the second half, but they didn't have it all their own way and Rangers had chances early in the half. But Forest were in control once again for much of the half and the visitors could do nothing to stop them getting their fifth as they keep another clean sheet.

Forest lost the toss and start the game attacking the Trent End and they got into their stride early on with some good football as they got the ball forward confidently in the opening minutes.

They created an early chance from a great cross by Radoslaw Majewski out to James Perch, who was on his own on the far left. He sent a beautiful cross into the box and Matthew Connolly did well to get on the end of it before Dexter Blackstock could.

Forest continued to threaten and took the lead when they were awarded a free kick just outside the D, after a foul on Blackstock. Robert Earnshaw took it and calmly chipped the ball over the wall and sent it curling high over Carl Ikeme and into the back of the net.

And they were two up just two minutes later when Paul Anderson made a superb run from the half way line, looked up and laid the ball in front of Earnshaw who was clear on the right. His crisp, right-foot finish made it look easy as he sent the ball low into the bottom of the net from 12 yards out.

A long-range shot by Majewski almost put them three up and Carl Ikeme had to reach high to punch the ball away.

A rare break forward by Rangers saw Lee Camp make his first save of the half, an easy catch from a shot by Adel Taarabt from 18 yards out.

Forest were awarded a penalty just after the hour mark when, after some superb build-up play, Earnshaw was bundled over clumsily by Kaspars Gorkss inside the box.

After recent misses, Blackstock was not going to let Earnshaw take the penalty, in spite of being on a hat-trick. He grabbed the ball firmly, placed it on the penalty spot and looked confident as he sent the keeper the wrong way as the ball went low into the bottom left of the goal to put Forest three up.

The pace dropped slightly in the final quarter of the first half, but Forest still looked in control.

QPR had a chance to get one back just after the start of the second half when they won a free kick about 2 yards outside the box. Taarabt side-footed the ball to Nigel Quashie whose effort from 20 yards saw Camp dive to his left to make a good save.

But Forest were four in front just three 3 minutes into the half with a great effort from Chris Cohen who ran onto Perch's ball, turn and with nobody marking him, sent the ball rocketing into the back of the net from 25 yards out.

Rangers then had a good period of possession after this and came close when Camp was only able to parry away Connolly's effort. The ball came back out to Akos Buzsaki who wasted his chance, blazing over from close range.

And the Forest keeper was in action again when Buzsaki fed the ball to Taarabt who got a good shot in, forcing Camp to tip the ball over the crossbar for a corner.

Forest pushed forward again and created a chance when Earnshaw put the ball wide out to Anderson, but his effort went across the face of goal and out the other side.

Another great move saw Majewski knock the ball through to Perch as he made a run into the box from the left but his effort was blocked and went out for a corner.

And from the corner, Blackstock's header found Earnshaw at the back post and his header bounced off the top of the post.

Anderson was the first Forest player to be substituted, receiving a standing ovation when he went off to be replaced by Nathan Tyson with 20 minutes remaining.

Wes Morgan received an even warmer ovation when he went off soon after. He had clearly been playing on after picking up some sort of injury, but did not look troubled by it as he went off, with Luke Chambers coming on in his place.

Forest were soon pushing forward again and the ball was played in beautifully by Blackstock to Tyson as he ran into the box and the referee ignored the fact that Quashie was impeding his progress, preventing him from getting a shot in.

Rangers' defence were all over the place as it took three chances for Forest to get the ball in the back of the net for goal number five. First Cohen's effort was cleared off the line, then Earnshaw mis-kicked in front of goal before the ball came out to Perch, whose effort from a tight angle at the back post finally found the target.

Blackstock was reluctant to leave the pitch when he became Forest's final substitute, with Dele Adebola coming on in anticipation of getting the sixth of the night for Forest.

As Forest put Rangers under pressure again, Tyson's pace took Peter Ramage by surprise and the Forest striker ran to the goal-line before pulling the ball back towards Adebola, but it was cleared by a Rangers defender.

As Rangers made a late attack on the Forest goal an excellent defensive header by Cohen kept Forest's clean sheet intact in the 90th minute.

Nottingham Forest: Camp, Gunter, Morgan(Chambers72min), Wilson, Perch, Cohen, Anderson(Tyson 70min), McKenna(C), Majewski, Blackstock(Adebola 81min), Earnshaw
Subs not used: Smith, McGugan, Moussi, McGoldrick
Scorers: Earnshaw 19min, 21min, Blackstock pen 32min, Cohen 49min, Perch 78min
Booking: McKenna 90min

Queens Park Rangers: Ikeme, Stewart,(Ramage 45HT) Leighertwood(C), Buzsaky, Gorkss, Quashie, Connolly, Faurlin(Ephraim 45minHT), Hill, Simpson(Vine70min), Taarabt
Subs not used: Cerny, Hall, Cook, German
Bookings: Buzsaky 12min, Taarabt 27min, Quashie 67min

Referee: E L Ilderton
Attendance: 23,293 Away attn: 693 Nottingham Forest

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