A brace from Tyler Walker and goals from Barrie McKay and Kieran Dowell secured an impressive 4-0 win for Nottingham Forest over Queens Park Rangers.
Tyler Walker opened the scoring after just 11 minutes and The Reds were in the ascendancy from that point onwards with Dowell also finding the net in the first half to put the home side into a 2-0 lead at the break.
Second-half goals from Barrie McKay and Walker secured the three points for The Reds after what had been a stunning display at The City Ground.
Mark Warburton made three changes to the team that lost to Reading on Tuesday night with Walker, Armand Traore and Daryl Murphy coming into the side to replace Jason Cummings, Tendayi Darikwa and David Vaughan. Jamie Ward also returned to the bench after missing Tuesday’s game.
It was QPR who made a positive start to the match by putting some early pressure on the Forest defence. It took just 30 seconds for them to win a corner but The Reds eventually cleared the ball. Moments later, Liam Bridcutt was dispossessed by Luke Freeman who raced forward and played the ball to David Wheeler who fired well over the bar.
The lively start to the match continued when The Reds won a corner after some good work through Barrie McKay. Joe Worrall met the corner but his prodded effort went well over the bar. Despite the chance it was the visitors who saw most of the ball in the early stages with Michael Mancienne putting in some important blocks.
But after soaking up some early pressure, it was The Reds who took the lead on 13 minutes through Tyler Walker. The ball fell to Kieran Dowell in the middle of the park who ran through on goal before squaring it to Walker who coolly slotted it past Alex Smithies in the QPR goal.
Forest were beginning to get their foot on the ball following the goal with some superb passing football stemming from the midfield. First it was Barrie McKay, Kieran Dowell and Daryl Murphy on the act with the ball eventually falling to Dowell who slipped as he was about to shoot. Moments later, an exquisite flick by Dowell set Ben Osborn away through the middle. Osborn played the ball out wide to Tyler Walker who dragged his shot wide of the post as The Reds looked for a second goal.
The home side were in the ascendancy and they had two wonderful chances to double their lead on the half hour mark. First it was Barrie McKay who magnificently broke down the left, evading the challenges of everyone before teeing up Walker who powered his way to the by-line before putting in a dangerous cross that was well cleared for a corner. A clever corner routine would follow with the ball finding Ben Osborn whose shot was blocked from 12-yards out.
The Reds were playing some excellent football that continued to carve open the QPR defence and the second goal looked imminent when Traore’s teasing ball across the face of goal evaded everyone as Mark Warburton’s side built the pressure. Kieran Dowell was at the heart of everything good for Forest and was unlucky not to set up Daryl Murphy to score when his ball across the face of goal was well intercepted by former Forest defender Joel Lynch.
Then on the brink of half time Forest got a deserved second goal through last weekend’s hat-trick hero Kieran Dowell. A sumptuous through ball slipped in Dowell, who rounded the goalkeeper and calmly slotted home to make it 2-0 to The Reds. They nearly made it three after the restart when Tyler Walker’s cross met the head of Daryl Murphy who nodded inches wide of the post. A brilliant first half for Mark Warburton’s side who went into the break 2-0 up.
QPR manager Ian Holloway made a double change at half time bringing on Matt Smith and Jamie Mackie for Idrissa Sylla and David Wheeler and they nearly made an instant impact when Mackie nodded a header just wide of the far post from a cross, as the visitors looked to reduce the deficit.
Kieran Dowell continued from where he left off after an impressive first half display when he fed through Lichaj on the edge of the area, who bared down on goal. The American put in a dangerous cross but QPR defender Alex Baptiste did well to clear it behind for a corner.
But it took just seven minutes for The Reds to extend their lead to three goals when Barrie McKay finished off a lovely flowing break. Forest won the ball in midfield and raced forward through Ben Osborn who chipped an inch-perfect ball to McKay who was on hand to emphatically volley home. McKay came close to scoring his second goal a couple minutes later when Dowell found McKay who created some space for himself but fired his shot straight at Smithies.
The game began to quieten after the third goal with QPR trying to make something happen through former Forest forward Jamie Mackie and Matt Smith, but the Forest back four were doing well to nullify any potential danger from The R’s. QPR’s frustration began to grow and that was evident when the lively Luke Freeman picked up a yellow card after a late tackle on Liam Bridcutt. Forest striker Tyler Walker was next to be shown a yellow card after an aerial clash with Jake Bidwell.
Ian Holloway made his final change on 74 minutes when winger Yeni Ngbakoto came on to replace Luke Freeman. Meanwhile in the other dugout, Mark Warburton made his first change by bringing on Andreas Bouchalakis for the excellent Kieran Dowell.
Barrie McKay was a real thorn in the opposition’s side throughout and it looked like he had set up Daryl Murphy for the fourth goal on 78 minutes. The Scottish winger beat Alex Baptiste before pulling it back for Murphy whose shot edged inches wide of the post.
Then The Reds did score their fourth through Tyler Walker. Barrie McKay once again powered his way down the left side before whipping in a stunning ball with the outside of the foot towards Tyler Walker who rifled the ball into the roof of the net. Barrie McKay was then replaced alongside Daryl Murphy who made way for Mustapha Carayol and Jamie Ward as Mark Warburton made his final two changes.
The game would finish 4-0 in what was a brilliant performance by Mark Warburton’s side as they go into the international break.
Forest: Smith; Lichaj, Worrall, Mancienne (c), Traore; Bridcutt, Osborn; Walker, Dowell (Bouchalakis 77'), McKay (Ward 85'); Murphy (Carayol 85')
Subs not used: Henderson, Mills, Clough, Cummings
Goals: Walker 13', 84', Dowell 44', McKay 52'
Booking: Walker 73'
QPR: Smithies; Bidwell, Robinson, Lynch, Baptiste; Freeman (Ngbakoto 74'), Scowen, Luongo (c), Wheeler (Mackie 46'); Washington, Sylla (Smith 46')
Subs not used: Lumley, Furlong, Cousins, Manning
Booking: Freeman 70'
Referee: Tim Robinson
Attendance: 24,021 (1,680 away)