QPR were faced with an afternoon to forget after suffering a 3-1 defeat to Nottingham Forest at the City Ground.
Forest took the lead on the stroke of half-time through Alex Mighten, before Lewis Grabban and Joe Garner capped off a forgetful afternoon in the East Midlands.
A late Lyndon Dykes headed proved only to be a consolation fo the R's.
In truth, it was no more than the hosts deserved after they dominated for much of this game.
Despite heading into this one full of confidence and on back of a run of fine form, the R’s found it difficult and the failure to create any real chances hasn’t been said too many times this calendar year.
Heading into this Easter Monday clash R’s gaffer Mark Warburton made two changes from the starting XI which comfortably saw off Coventry City at Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium only a handful of days ago. This saw Seny Dieng and Dominic Ball coming into the side, as Joe Lumley dropped to the bench whilst Geoff Cameron missed out altogether.
This meant Rangers lined up with Dieng in goal behind a back three of Rob Dickie, Sam Field and Yoann Barbet, whilst Osman Kakay and Lee Wallace continued to operate in the wingback rolls.
Looking further up the field, Ball and Stefan Johansen were the defensive midfield pairing, whilst Ilias Chair and Chris Willock occupied the roles just behind frontman Charlie Austin.
It was a fairly even start at the City Ground with both sides looking to maintain possession, but it was the hosts who went on to carve out the first real opportunity of the game.
Some neat work down the left-hand side from Mighten eventually saw the ball falling to Grabban, but from just inside Rangers’ penalty box the former AFC Bournemouth man could only fire over.
Early on Forest continued to threaten in front of goal and in the 12th minute Chris Hughton’s side thought they had found the opener.
James Garner whipped in a corner-kick which met the head of Ryan Yates, whose goal bound effort looked destined to find the top corner, but a last-minute goal line clearance from Dickie ensured that it remained goalless in the East Midlands.
Warburton’s side quickly grew into things, with captain Wallace at the heart of Rangers’ attacking threat.
The recently named Player of the Month for March floated in a great ball which was met by Field, however the West Bromwich Albion loanee’s effort was tame and easily collected by Brice Samba in the Forest goal.
Despite Rangers starting to see a lot more of the ball, it was Forest who continued to carve out the most threatening opportunities.
On the half an hour mark a poor clearance from Kakay fell to Filip Krovinovic, however to Rangers’ fortune, Senegal international Dieng was hand to tip the low shot round the post and the resulting corner kick was eventually cleared from danger.
It took until the 36th minute for the R’s to have their most dangerous looking attack.
Some good work from Willock down the left eventually saw the 23-year-old pulling the ball back to Johansen who found himself free on the edge of the box.
However, the Fulham loanee could only fire wide and with that Rangers’ best chance of the half had gone.
With the half-time whistle starting to loom in the not-too-distant future, Warburton’s side had their best period of prolonged possession.
Some good play involving Barbet, Johansen and Wallace eventually saw the former Scottish international finding Austin inside the Forest box with a dangerous ball. But the R’s frontman could only flick his header over.
And on the stroke of half-time our hosts found themselves ahead.
Some good work from Sammy Ameobi eventually saw him beating his marker, Barbet and then picking out Mighten who from close range couldn’t miss – giving his side the lead at the break.
After going in at half-time behind, Warburton’s side started the second half brightly as they looked to find a route back into the game as quickly as possible.
A dangerous looking Kakay shot was deflected away for a corner kick which consequently was met by Barbet, but the Frenchman couldn’t keep his effort on target.
With only six minutes of the second half gone, Forest had a chance to double their lead. The increasingly influential Ameobi this time forcing Dieng into a fine save before Dickie could hack the ball away from danger.
Only moments later and Forest once again called Dieng into action, a smart free-kick from Garner, forced the R’s shot stopper to produce a fine acrobatic save – denying Hughton’s the side a chance to further extend their lead in spectacular fashion.
As we approached the hour mark, the arrival of Lyndon Dykes for Ball saw Rangers reverting to a front two with the hope of some added fire power up front will help find a way back into the game.
However, this didn’t have the desired effect and a fine Grabban strike in the 63rd minute gave Rangers a mountain to climb.
After picking the ball up from around 25-yards out, the Forest frontman unleashed a fine curling effort on goal, which flew into the top corner leaving Dieng with no chance.
As the R’s looked to introduce Albert Adomah to proceedings, Garner sealed the victory for Forest.
A curling cross beat everyone and looped into the top corner, 3-0.
With ten minutes remaining Field and Austin were replaced by Faysal Bettache and Charlie Kelman respectively.
Unfortunately, they were unable to change the momentum of the game, Dykes was on hand to head from close range with the final kick of the game, but this came too late and Forest deservedly sealed the victory.
Rangers will look to get themselves back on track this Saturday when we welcome Sheffield Wednesday to Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium.