Nottingham Forest suffered defeat at Queens Park Rangers’ Loftus Road this afternoon.
Headed efforts from Jamaal Lascelles and Matt Derbyshire had twice drawn the visitors level, but goals from Yossi Benayoun, Junior Hoilett, Nedum Onuoha, Ravel Morrison and Bobby Zamora handed Rangers a 5-2 win.
Temporary manager Gary Brazil made four changes to the side that drew against Sheffield Wednesday on Tuesday night. Kelvin Wilson was back in the starting line-up, replacing the suspended Danny Collins, while there were also recalls for Danny Fox, Greg Halford and Simon Cox. Darius Henderson dropped to the bench, where there was room for David Vaughan, while Jamie Paterson and Marcus Tudgay missed out altogether through illness and injury respectively.
The hosts had the lead inside two minutes in scrappy circumstances. Tom Carroll’s shot appeared to move viciously in the air, wrong-footing Karl Darlow who could only direct the ball towards Benayoun. The Israeli had the easy task of nodding it over the line.
It could have been 2-0 minutes later after Halford conceded the ball cheaply to Charlie Austin, who in turn sent the pacey Hoilett sprinting towards goal. Halford recovered well to nick the ball away.
In buoyant mood, QPR pressed on and, after neat play involving former Red Jermaine Jenas, Lascelles did well to block Austin off at the near post.
Forest threatened for the first time a minute later, Lansbury receiving the ball from Gonzalo Jara and smashing it towards the top corner. Rob Green produced a good save to tip over.
Jenas, clearly injured, was replaced by Karl Henry at the subsequent stoppage before the Rs attacked again. Benayoun was afforded too much time to turn in Forest territory and played a neat ball towards Hoilett, who had made a clever run towards the near post. The Canadian nipped in ahead of Lascelles before sending the ball across goal and just wide.
And the hosts went close again two minutes later when Benoit Assou-Ekotto produced a superb early cross. Wilson was helpless to deal with it but Austin could only send the ball wide.
Chances may have been at a premium for The Reds but they were nevertheless enjoying some decent spells of possession.
And on 36 minutes they had an equaliser, Lascelles nodding the ball low to Green’s right from Lansbury’s corner.
But, as was the case against Ipswich on Tuesday night, Forest were unable to see the half out. Hoilett offered a warning shot on 41 minutes when he squeezed past Halford and Peltier before dragging the ball wide of the near post.
He made no mistake on 43 minutes, however, playing a one-two with Carroll before poking the ball past Darlow from close range.
Forest claimed the final shot of the half as Lansbury, The Reds’ brightest spark in the opening period, bobbled the ball wide from range.
There were no changes for either side at the break and it was Forest who began the second half brighter. Lansbury played an intelligent ball into the channel and Matt Derbyshire outpaced Richard Dunne before playing a neat pass inside for the onrushing Jamie Mackie. The forward couldn’t take the ball in his stride and QPR quelled the danger.
The visitors then tested Green twice within four minutes, Jara smashing the ball straight at the keeper from 25 yards before Green was forced to hold onto a Fox free-kick underneath his crossbar.
Brazil made a double substitution on 65 minutes, Lansbury and Jara coming off for Jonathan Greening and Ben Osborn.
And the latter made an immediate impact, winning a corner from Dunne and picking out Halford with the subsequent set piece. Halford’s header was goalbound but Danny Simpson was well placed to divert it to safety.
Forest continued to ask questions of their hosts, this time Greening playing a lovely ball out to Halford down the right. The right back did well to keep the ball in before crossing it towards the near post where Dunne was on hand to turn it behind for a corner.
Darius Henderson replaced Cox during the stoppage, but it was a man lesser known for his aerial prowess who nodded home The Reds’ equaliser. Osborn produced another dangerous corner and Derbyshire, unmarked, headed the ball firmly past Green.
The hosts had appeared content to let Forest take the game to them after the break but, needing a win to keep their faint hopes of automatic promotion alive, they quickly reminded The Reds of their threat.
Assou-Ekotto played Morrison in down the left. The West Ham loanee shifted the ball on to his right foot and produced a brilliant, chipped effort. Darlow did well to get a fingertip to the ball and Bobby Zamora, on for Austin, could only bundle it wide at the far post.
Moments later Niko Kranjcar, on for Hoilett, shot towards goal, the ball deflecting off Peltier and landing on the roof of the net.
And QPR were back in the lead on 84 minutes when Carroll played a neat pass to Onuoha in the area. The defender spun and curled the ball into the far corner of the net.
Derbyshire almost levelled again as Forest sought an immediate response, but this time Green was equal to his headed effort.
And the hosts put the game beyond doubt on 90 minutes when Morrison twisted and turned in the area before sending the ball past Darlow, and Zamora added gloss to the scoreline with a scuffed finish in the second of three added minutes.
Forest: Darlow, Halford, Lascelles, Wilson(c), Fox, Peltier, Jara (Greening 65'), Mackie, Cox (Henderson 74'), Lansbury (Osborn 65'), Derbyshire
Subs not used: De Vries, Harding, Gomis, Vaughan
Scorers: Lascelles 37', Derbyshire 75'
QPR: Green; Simpson, Dunne(c), Onuoha, Assou-Ekotto, Hoilett (Kranjcar 77'), Jenas (Henry 13'), Carroll, Benayoun, Morrison, Austin (Zamora 75')
Subs not used: Murphy, Kane, Yun, Hughes
Scorers: Benayoun 2', Hoilett 43', Onuoha 84', Morrison 90', Zamora 90'
Referee: Oliver Langford