Nottingham Forest held to disappointing goalless draw by Queens Park Rangers

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Nottingham Forest lost further ground on the automatic promotion spots as they were held to a 0-0 draw by Queens Park Rangers in a niggly game played in a incredibly blustery conditions.

Forest did have the ball in the net in the first half, but Joe Worrall’s 12th minute header from a corner was ruled out as the ball was moving due to the wind as it was taken.

That decision was a precursor of what was to follow as the ref was the busiest man on the pitch as he dealt with a string of petty fouls and gamesmanship throughout the game as Forest endured a third successive game without a win and second successive home game without scoring.

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December 22, 2018, was a momentous day for Queens Park Rangers. On their 35th visit, dating back to 1934, the London side finally won at the City Ground, 1-0 thanks to a goal from Toni Leistner.

Sabri Lamouchi, manager of Nottingham Forest.Sabri Lamouchi, manager of Nottingham Forest.
Sabri Lamouchi, manager of Nottingham Forest.

They’ve welcomed Forest to West London twice since then – and been beaten twice without scoring, including a 4-0 thumping earlier this season.

But now it was back to the City Ground and a first return to Trentside for QPR boss Mark Warburton since he was sacked from the Reds hotseat on New Year’s Eve 2017.

But, despite all the intriguing match-ups, all the talk pre-match, at least among Reds fans, was of the missing Samba Sow.

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Missing again as Reds boss Sabri Lamouchi manages the midfielder’s heavy workload, he was replaced in the starting XI by flying winger Adama Diakhaby as Tiago Silva dropped back alongside captain Ben Watson in front of the back four.

Forest results with and without Sow have been much discussed – most of the Reds defeats this season coming when Sow was missing, but equally he was absent when Tobias Figueiredo, Lewis Grabban, Joao Carvalho and Alfa Semedo all netted at Loftus Road in November.

What did this mean come 3pm on a windy Trentside?

Not a lot, it turned out.

The game exploded into life in the 12th minute when Worrall sent a glancing header past Liam Kelly and into the QPR net from Joe Lolley’s left-wing corner.

However, to the amazement of everyone in the crowd, as Forest lined up for the kick-off, referee Robert Jones brought play back and ordered the corner to be retaken, after his assistant pointed out the ball was moving, having been caught by the wind, as Lolley took it.

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Again QPR failed to clear and Sammy Ameobi drew an excellent save from Ranger goalkeeper Liam Kelly with a rising shot from the edge of the area.

Forest were firmly in control of the game, with QPR struggling to get out of their half and Grabban, Lolley, DIakhaby both missed the target when well placed.

At the other end, only a late Joe Worrall interception denied QPR as the first half finished goalless.

It was Forest who created the first chance of the second half, Grabban heading Cash’s right-wing cross wide, while Worrall was again alert to cut out a couple of dangerous QPR crosses, but, in very windy conditions, the visitors were putting up more of a fight and Forest were struggling to get a grip on the game.

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It became increasingly niggly and stop-start, with Diakhaby and Angel Rangel both going in ther book for fouls as QPR looked to disrupt the game at every opportunity, Rangel particularly keen to have his say everytime a Forest player hit the floor..

Forest huffed and puffed in the second half. but, like so many occasions this season, could not find their way through an organised and resolute side set out to defend and play on the counter-attack – much like Forest away from home.

Diakhaby did see a weak shot cleared off the line after Lolley had drawn Kelly in the Rangers goal, while Forest thought they had won it injury time when Joe Lolley raced on to Ribeiro’s cross, but his header went just wide of Kelly’s right-hand post as Forest were left to rue not making their first-half dominance count.

Forest: Samba; Cash, Ribeiro, Worrall, Figueiredo; Watson, Silva (Carvalho, 77); Ameobi (Yates, 60), Lolley, Diakhaby (Mighten, 71); Grabban. Subs not used: Muric, Jenkinson, Dawson, Walker.