Resilient Reds repel Rangers after rash red for Raddy..

Queens Park Rangers – 1
Nottingham Forest -1

It wasn’t looking too clever for Forest, reduced to ten men after Raddy went in with a rash two-footed challenge on Taarabt when already a goal down after an excellent strike by Tommy Smith.  As we’ve seen this season though, this Forest side do not lie down and never accept defeat – and a slice of fortune in McGoldrick’s goal was no more than their endeavours deserved.

A more conservative approach to the second half was both inevitable and justifiable as Forest set the home side the challenge of breaching them again – a challenge they proved unable to best, with only a goal-line clearance by Gunter the kind of decisive last-gap defending needed by the hard-working Reds as they prevented QPR from taking advantage of their numbers.

Billy started the game with a familiar back four – and a more ‘centrally minded’ midfield that we’re accustomed to seeing, with McGoldrick drafted in to start alongside Tudgay upfront, obviously with the brief to drop into midfield when needed to help us win that midfield battle.

Gunter    Morgan    Chambers    Konchesky
McGugan    McKenna    Majewski    Cohen

And what a blistering start it was for the Reds –  and within the first fifteen seconds the Reds had kicked off and Tudgay hit the post, although the striker was offside and the flag was up.  Inside three minutes we’d already had two corners neither of which we could make count.

At the other end freekick for the home side produced a header from Tommy Smith which gave Camp an easy save to make, but a minute later the same man did breach the Reds defence – he cut inside Konchesky well down the right hand side, and Chambers mis-read his intentions, showing him a clear route to goal – which he duly took, with a cracking curling finish well beyond Camp’s reach.  A deadly finish.

A few moments later it got from bad to worse for Forest – Taarabt was under the attentions of a number of Reds players, facing away from goal, so not only was Raddy’s challenge not really needed – it was a pretty ugly two-footed lunge.  No real malace in it, but studs were up and one of his two feet connected with the home side’s midfielder’s shin, there was no way that Clattenberg was going to do anything other than send him off.

As many people pointed out around me, Raddy’s ‘tackling’ is often wild – hopefully this will provide a lesson to him in future, because he really put his teammates under the kosh as a result of that moment of madness.

However, a few minutes later the Reds were back in it – Cohen was downed and won the Reds a freekick 35 yards out from the goal.  Lewis McGugan struck it hard and low, a ricochet from a home defender cannoned the ball into McGoldrick’s leg and into the bottom corner of the goal beyond the despairing dive of Paddy Kenny.

A huge slice of fortune, no doubt – but the Reds positivity had earned a bit of luck.  We continued to attack too, another Reds corner found Wes Morgan who connected well with a downward header, which was well-saved by the leg of Kenny.  As the half wore on the home side stepped up their attacking and Luke Chambers was on hand to put in great blocks from Taarabt and Routledge.

A bit of adventurous roaming from Lee Camp had hearts in mouths for a while, but he eventually got the ball clear to see us go in at half time all level – having enjoyed the best chances of the game.  It was fairly clear that the second half would see the home side come at us much stronger though, with that in mind Billy made a pre-emptive change at half time with Lynch coming on for Tudgay, dropping in at left-back with Konchesky pushing into midfield.

He was immediately put under pressure by QPR substitute Ishmael Miller and came through early exchanges well with a block on the edge of the area.  Faurlin had a thunderbolt of a shot which we were pleased to see flash wide of the goal, as the Reds sat fairly deep and invited the home side to try to find a way through.  Up front McGoldrick rarely pressed into their third.

With the home side frustrated they increasingly resorted to long punts, which the Reds weren’t having too much difficulty in dealing with.  Morgan and Chambers both turned in excellent performances – the latter would eventually go on to deservedly pick up the man of the match award.

Just as we were predicting the introduction of Tyson it was actually Anderson that Billy put on next, taking off the largely ineffective McGugan (although he had had a shooting chance where he opted for a rather tame lob) to inject a bit more pace and enthusiasm into midfield.  It didn’t really change the flow of the match which was undeniably in one main direction – towards the Forest goal!

Point-winner McGoldrick was withdrawn with around a quarter of an hour left – he’d taken a veritable battering as the lone striker, and Nathan Tyson replaced him to give our attack a very different dimension.  It was just after this that a towering header from Bradley Orr from Taarabt’s corner looped over Camp, but found Gunter on the line to head clear.

As the game wound down the Reds did have a foray forward, Tys broke well down the left but his heavy touch into the area took him too wide to have much of a chance of scoring, and with nobody to cross to he ended up shooting into the side-netting when perhaps just attempting to hold the ball up might’ve been the wider decision.

The remainder of the match was pretty much home side possession but they offered very little in final ball, most of which was dealt with admirably by the Reds defence.  Certainly after their billing (by me, as well as the media!) this has to go down as a pretty disappointing performance by them – however, no small amount of credit should go to Forest for deny them opportunities despite the disadvantage in numbers.

As the full time whistle went the Reds fans celebrated with Billy and the players, having spent the majority of the game in fine voice in an otherwise fairly quiet atmosphere.  I said in the preview I’d have taken a draw, now I find myself wondering what we might have achieved if Raddy hadn’t done something stupid so early in the game!

Scunthorpe away up next – a side who are on a sticky run of results and desperate for points.  A draw at Glanford Park would be enough to reclaim the second spot, level on points and equal on games played with Saturday’s visitors Cardiff (also level on points but with a game in hand over Norwich).  A win would be much nicer leading into another massive game on Saturday.  Cardiff entertain Burnley on Tuesday so it would be nice if the Clarets can do us a favour!

I’m so proud of how our lads battled today – many may say that we didn’t see what QPR are capable of today, but I’d point to how well our boys did at repelling the threats they posed.  Very well done, Forest – a cracking point.