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21:50 26th January 2016


RANGERS are still without a win at Nottingham Forest, but Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s men deserved their point in Robin Hood Country.

It was QPR’s 32nd attempt at victory in all competitions at the City Ground. The wait for that elusive success may not be over, but the R’s certainly had chances to break their duck in an entertaining first half.

Both teams had opportunities in the opening period. Ale Faurlin went close just before half-time, with his free-kick touched onto the crossbar by Dorus de Vries, while the hosts struck the woodwork twice themselves during the first 45 minutes.

The second half was less spectacular, with fewer chances on show. Both sides just lacked that cutting edge in the final third, though QPR worked hard to come away with at least a point nevertheless.

R’s boss Hasselbaink made one change to his team for the trip to the City Ground, following our 1-1 home draw against Wolves on Saturday. Faurlin replaced Karl Henry.

Alex Smithies retained his place in goal, behind a back four of James Perch, captain Nedum Onuoha, Grant Hall and Paul Konchesky.

Rangers lined up in a 4-4-1-1 formation, with a midfield quartet of Matt Phillips, Massimo Luongo, Faurlin and Leroy Fer.

Junior Hoilett was deployed just behind Sebastian Polter in attack.

On to the game – and the opening stanza was a rather uninspiring one to say the least. Chances were at a real premium.

It took until the 14th minute for the first opportunity to arrive. Rangers went close, and only a fine, one-handed stop from Forest goalkeeper de Vries kept the visitors out.

Hoilett was fed by Polter and when the former struck a low shot from 12 yards, de Vries got down well to tip the ball around the post.

Six minutes later, the home side should have taken the lead with their maiden chance.

Robert Tesche’s right-flank corner fell for former R’s loanee Michael Mancienne, whose header forced a spectacular flying save from Smithies.

Soon after, Forest edged even closer, as Ben Osborn saw a shot crash back off the left-hand post.

Smithies’ goal was now beginning to live a charmed life and the woodwork came to Rangers’ rescue again in the 24th minute, after Tesche rattled the crossbar from fully 35 yards.

QPR eventually managed to weather that mini-storm and went close nine minutes before half-time, as Polter headed just wide following Luongo’s pinpoint centre. 

In the 40th minute, meanwhile, Hoilett saw a ferocious drive beaten away by de Vries. 

The finish to the first half was action-packed and three further opportunities arrived before the break – all in stoppage time.

For Rangers, Phillips saw an effort palmed away by de Vries after a lovely move, before the hosts enjoyed a chance of their own when Smithies smothered Nelson Oliveira’s low strike.

It remained goalless as the interval arrived – largely because of the excellent reflexes of de Vries in the Forest goal. He reacted wonderfully well to tip Faurlin’s 20-yard free-kick onto the bar only seconds before the half-time whistle was sounded.

Much like the first half, chances were few and far between early on in the second period.

Forest forward Chris O’Grady fashioned a low blast in the 53rd minute, but it was held well by Smithies.

The home side made two changes moments later. Jamie Ward and Oliver Burke were both introduced – at the expense of Ryan Mendes and O’Grady respectively.

Burke’s impact was almost instant. Forest broke and when the substitute ran clear with the ball, his resultant attempt from just inside the box was pushed wide by Smithies.

Hasselbaink responded by bringing on recent signing Conor Washington in the 61st minute, who replaced Hoilett.

Washington looked bright when introduced but chances were still limited as the final quarter hour approached.

Burke sent another effort wide for Forest in the 78th minute. However, it looked like this contest was going to peter out without a goal going into the final 10 minutes.

As so it did. Both sides huffed and puffed but, ultimately, didn’t do enough to break the deadlock. 

A fair outcome.
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