RANGERS made the perfect start to the new Sky Bet Championship campaign, as second-half strikes from Lyndon Dykes and Ilias Chair helped QPR to a 2-0 victory over Nottingham Forest at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium.
After a relatively quiet first half, things came to life after the half-time break.
The R’s edged in front from the penalty spot on 54 minutes, as former Livingston hotshot Dykes won the spot-kick before finishing the job from 12 yards.
Mark Warburton’s men then rubber-stamped the win as late as the 94th minute – Chair scrambling home at the Loft End after substitute Dom Ball’s initial effort was repelled by Brice Samba.
R’s boss Warburton handed league debuts to summer signings Rob Dickie, Tom Carroll and Dykes – QPR beginning in a 4-2-3-1 formation for our season opener.
Rangers, led by newly-named club captain Geoff Cameron, lined up as: Joe Lumley; Osman Kakay, Dickie, Yoann Barbet, Lee Wallace; Cameron, Carroll; Bright Osayi-Samuel, Luke Amos, Chair; Dykes.
Visitors Forest included former Hoops star man Luke Freeman among their starters – the tricky midfielder moving to the City Ground from Sheffield United on a year-long loan deal this summer.
Rangers began brightly – and even had the ball in the net inside 10 minutes.
Chair’s seventh-minute corner was headed home by Dickie, only for the goal to be disallowed for Barbet’s push on his marker.
In a tight first half, both teams showed some nice touches, though the goalkeepers were rarely threatened.
The closest Forest came was in the 20th minute. Tyler Blackett’s pinpoint cross on the run was met by Lewis Grabban, whose headed effort dropped just wide of the right-hand post.
Much like the opening period, QPR looked bright at the beginning of the second half.
This time, though, that fast start was rewarded with the opening goal of the game on 54 minutes.
It came from the penalty spot. Lumley’s long ball forward was nodded on by Wallace, before Dykes was brought down in the area after racing in behind the visiting defence.
The Scotland international subsequently stepped up and made no mistake from 12 yards, blasting the ball into the roof of the net.
With Rangers now ahead, Forest duly upped the ante.
On the hour mark, sub Sammy Ameobi saw his box blast blocked bravely by Kakay. Then, a minute later, Ryan Yates crashed an effort off the upright from the acutest of angles.
At the other end, Barbet headed into the side-netting in the 64th minute, after Chair’s teasing free-kick delivery from the left.
It’s fair to say that the opening goal breathed real life into this contest. Also in the 64th minute, Forest’s Grabban somehow sliced wide from close range, following more good work by Ameobi.
A minute later, Rangers’ Osayi-Samuel flashed an effort over the crossbar from just inside the penalty area.
The R’s made a first change on 75 minutes, as Carroll made way for summer capture George Thomas.
Moments later, Dykes poked just over with an improvised attempt, following Chair’s lofted free-kick into the box.
In the final 10 minutes, Forest applied added pressure.
Grabban went mightily close again in the 83rd minute, somehow firing wide after another Ameobi assist. Rangers followed that up by introducing Ball for Amos in order to add further protection to the home defence.
Fortunately, the R’s would survive a Forest onslaught and even add gloss to the scoreline late on.
After Grabban’s low 92nd-minute shot whistled past the foot of the left-hand post, Rangers added a second goal in the 94th to make sure of the win.
Ball’s blast was parried by Samba, then Chair followed up to finish from point-blank range.
Two-nil to the Super Hoops.