Stalemate At City Ground: Forest 0-0 QPR
Both Forest and QPR failed to live up to the pre match hype that predicted an entertaining game between two of the Championships promotion hopefuls. Instead, it was a cagey and at times nervous affair, with neither team wanting to relinquish records that saw Forest stretch their unbeaten home run in the league to 28 games and Rangers to remain the only unbeaten team in the Football League.
Billy Davies made 3 changes to the side that beat Coventry in mid week, with Blackstock replacing the rested Earnshaw, Anderson coming in for Tyson and captain Paul McKenna reinstated to midfield in place of Guy Moussi. It was a tentative start to the game with both sides refusing to venture too far forward. It was almost 10 minutes before Forest created their first chance on goal and that came by way of a speculative shot from 25 yards out by McGugan, who sent his effort just over the bar.
The visitors should have been awarded a penalty mid way through the half, when Tommy Smith was scythed down in the area by Lewis McGugan. Referee D`Urso who was well placed, surprisingly turned down the visitors appeals, much to the relief of the City Ground crowd. Chances were few for both teams in the 1st half, but when the Hoops did venture forward it would inevitably involve the diminutive Adel Taarabt. On the half hour mark he forced the first of several excellent saves from Lee Camp, when the former Rangers keeper had to dive at full stretch forcing the shot out for a corner. Camp`s opposite number Paddy Kenny was having an easy afternoon of things and didn't have a single save to make in the first 45 minutes.
The 1st half ended goalless with Forest having the majority of possession, but doing little with it and the visitors seemingly playing well within themselves and trying to hit the Reds` on the break. It was a pretty dull affair to be honest, where once again Forest were guilty of giving the ball away all too easily.
Rangers started the 2nd half a little more lively than in the 1st. Mackie sent a shot into the side netting and a cross from Smith had the Forest defence in all sorts of trouble, but it was fortunately scrambled out for a corner. Dexter Blackstock awoke Paddy Kenny from his slumber, but his long range effort was easily saved by the Rangers keeper who was probably glad just to have something to do. That was just about the last of the action for the former Hoops striker, because Billy Davies was going for broke and made the double substitution of Earnshaw and Adebola, for Blackstock and Majewski.
The changes were positive from a Forest perspective, with both players having an impact on the game. Dele Adebola in particular, proved to be a right pain in the arse for the Rangers defence, with the bruising striker hustling and bustling to win every ball. He put one glancing header into the path of Anderson, who sent a cross into the box where Earnshaw was brought down. The claims for a penalty were rightly turned down, but it was possibly the best move of the game from the home side, who were now at least looking a little more threatening in front of goal. Lee Camp was once again called into action and made another decent save when he had to tip another Adel Taarabt shot over the bar.
A 0-0 draw was a fair result and one that leaves both teams with their proud records still intact. It wasn`t the exciting and drama filled game we were hoping for, but it stretches the unbeaten run at home in the league to 28 games now and that will remain so for at least another fortnight, with away trips to Cardiff and Leicester to come.
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