QPR unbeaten but uninspiring in Forest stalemate
RANGERS’ makeshift defence recorded a clean sheet to extend their unbeaten run to 17 games – aided by the bizarre tactics of Forest boss Billy Davies.
Davies surprisingly opted to deploy Dexter Blackstock in a lone role up front, a function that any QPR fan could have told him does not exactly suit the striker’s game.
The ex-Rangers forward barely had a sniff of goal and, although the home side reshuffled their attack in the second half, Paddy Kenny was forced to make very few genuine saves.
With Kaspars Gorkss the only member of the back four playing in his preferred role, the shut-out was one of two plus points for Rangers – the other being a brief return to action for Martin Rowlands after 14 months.
Lewis McGugan – who has enjoyed a virtual monopoly on long-range goals this season – tried a couple of early pot-shots for Forest, the first of which ruffled the side netting and the other curved over the target.
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At the other end, Rangers kept another old boy, Lee Camp, alert as he pushed Kyle Walker’s header behind and then fielded an attempt from Adel Taarabt after Alejandro Faurlin had set up the opportunity.
Tommy Smith had a strong penalty shout turned down when McGugan appeared to bundle him over in the box and Camp had to stretch again later in the first half, clawing behind a better Taarabt effort.
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Generally, though, the two sides cancelled each other out, with neither dominating possession to any degree.
Blackstock tested Kenny with a run and shot and then his replacement, Rob Earnshaw, did as he usually does against QPR – putting the ball in the net – but was correctly ruled offside.
Forest then broke on the right and Chris Gunter cut the ball back for McGugan, but his low finish was beaten away by Kenny as Rangers sought reinforcements of their own.
Substitute Patrick Agyemang burst clear and found Hogan Ephraim, who laid the ball off to Taarabt, but the Moroccan’s clever chip was brilliantly tipped over by the back-pedalling Camp.