QPR lost 3-1 at Nottingham Forest, conceding three second-half goals after leading at the interval.
Andre Gray netted his eighth of the season just before the break at the City Ground but goals from Djed Spence, Ryan Yates and Brennan Johnson secured all three points for the hosts.
Mark Warburton made four changes from the side that beat Luton Town 2-1 on Sunday, with Dion Sanderson, Andre Dozzell, Luke Amos and Chris Willock coming in at the expense of Yoann Barbet, Stefan Johansen, Jeff Hendrick and Ilias Chair.
Barbet didn’t miss a minute of league action throughout last season and was set to repeat that feat this year, but Warburton, perhaps recognising the need for squad rotation as we reach the climax of the campaign, brought loanee Sanderson in on the left side of defence.
He was joined at the heart of the backline by Jimmy Dunne and Rob Dickie, with Dunne taking up the position on the right and Dickie playing in the centre, while Lee Wallace lined up on the left wing and Moses Odubajo on the right side.
Sam Field sat in the centre of the pitch alongside Dozzell, with Amos more advanced.
Willock, rested at Luton before coming on to set up Dickie’s winner, played just off Gray in attack.
Forest have been in sensational form since Steve Cooper arrived in September and they headed into this game unbeaten in eight in all competitions, and having only suffered one defeat in 13.
Prior to kick off, the Reds were in ninth place, four places and four points behind the R’s.
It was a lively start on a heavily sodden City Ground pitch and Rangers worked a brilliant move down the right early on, with Gray pulling the ball back for Amos but he couldn’t make a clean connection from five yards while Wallace was unable to convert from a tight angle as he arrived at the far post.
It was certainly encouraging for the visitors who had opened up their opposition with such a fine, passing move.
But on 20 minutes the hosts underlined their threat when a corner was worked through a second phase, and Philip Zinckernagel picked out Yates at the far post but he was denied by a fantastic Marshall save.
Seconds later, Yates was in again as he arrived at the far post. He looked destined to put Forest ahead but somehow his shot ran across the face of the goal.
On 30 minutes, Willock was forced off after initially having treatment on his right leg. He was replaced by Chair, and we can only hope the injury to Willock isn’t too serious.
Forest certainly grew more and more into the game as the half wore on, and Rangers had to be organised and disciplined to manage the hosts’ attacking threat, with right wingback Djed Spence a particular danger.
But manage it they did and on 40 minutes the R’s took the lead through Gray. Chair played a brilliant ball for the Watford loanee, and he took a touch before rifling low past Ethan Horvath for his second goal in as many games.
It was a fine strike from a player brimming with confidence and that proved to be the difference between the two sides at the break.
In the second half QPR were clearly aiming to control the tempo of the game, and slow the match down to frustrate their opposition, and the vociferous home crowd.
But on 55 minutes Spence, who had underlined his quality throughout the game, levelled with a sensational strike, curling the ball in off the crossbar from 30 yards.
It was an outstanding goal and the R’s had to contend with a team who now had the bit between their teeth.
Warburton reacted by making a double change, bringing on the experience of Johansen and Hendrick for Amos and Dozzell.
Keinan Davis flashed a shot wide from 20 yards for Forest following a good turn, while he headed just past the upright moments later after being picked out by Spence.
As the game moved into the final 15 minutes, the R’s had started to get more on the ball and stem the wave of Forest attack.
On 81 minutes, Rangers were grateful to another excellent save from Marshall who dived low to his left to push the ball away for a corner.
But from the resultant setpiece Forest were ahead, a low delivery to the near post was flicked on and converted by Yates from close range.
It was a tough blow for the visitors who now had to find another gear as they aimed to take a share of the spoils from this game.
But Forest were in full flight and inflicted a third goal just moments later, this time Brennan Johnson slamming home from close range after Marshall had pulled off another excellent save to initially thwart Forest.
Concerningly, for the closing stages goalkeeper Marshall hobbled off and had to be replaced between the posts by Wallace as the R’s ended a night to forget with ten men, having used all three subs.
QPR will look to put this right on Sunday when they host Peterborough United at Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium.