Nottingham Forest secured their first win away from home since November with a 1-0 victory over Queens Park Rangers at Loftus Road.
Karim Ansarifard’s goal on 55 minutes secured The Reds all three points in a solid defensive performance, with goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon saving a Nakhi Wells penalty late on.
Manager Martin O’Neill made one change to the side that comfortably beat Middlesbrough 3-0 at The City Ground on Monday with Sam Byram coming into the side to replace Pele.
The home side started well and forced an early corner from Molla Wague. The ball was whipped in towards the front post and Darnell Furlong flicked the header wide. Five minutes later, a sharp turn from Joe Lolley saw him feed through Ansarifard who shot, but his effort was tipped wide by Joe Lumley in the QPR goal.
QPR had a good opportunity to take the lead on 19 minutes when they were awarded a free-kick just outside the penalty area after a trip from Ryan Yates, but Josh Scowen’s effort edged just wide of the post.
Chances were limited for both sides in the first half but the lively Ebere Eze did carve out an opportunity for the home side when he raced forward into space before firing a low shot towards goal which was well held by Pantilimon.
Two minutes later The Reds then produced the best chance. Lolley’s dink over the Rangers defence sent Ansarifard through on goal who prodded the ball over the ‘keeper and off the bar before the ball was recollected. Yates was shown a yellow card shortly after.
Neither side made a change at the break and it was a quiet opening ten minutes to the second half, before The Reds broke the deadlock on 55 minutes. Some neat, intricate play on the edge of area between Lolley, Matty Cash and Joao Carvalho sent Ansarifard through on goal who coolly slotted the ball past Lumley to put his side into the lead.
QPR looked for a quick reply and they nearly got it when Tomer Hemed was picked out from a long ball forward. The striker brought it down and fired in a low shot which Pantilimon did well to save. The Forest ‘keeper then made another stunning save to keep out a Hemed header from close range soon after. Ansarifard was then replaced by Lewis Grabban.
Massimo Luongo produced another chance out of nothing with an impressive volley from the edge of the area which whistled inches wide of the post, as The Reds weathered a storm. Pantilimon was forced into another save when Eze was picked out from a corner but the goalkeeper did well to push it away to safety.
The Reds continued to defend well and made a double change which saw Adlene Guedioura and Claudio Yacob come on to replace Carvalho and Cash. The home side had a terrific opportunity to draw level on 88 minutes when they were awarded a penalty after Jack Robinson handled the ball inside the area from a corner. Wells stepped up to take it and it was fantastically saved by Pantilimon to his right.
The home side had another glorious opportunity when Smith headed wide from a dangerous free-kick at the back post. Lolley could have secured all three points for The Reds when he raced through on goal and weaved his way into the penalty area before firing over, but Martin O’Neill’s side did hold out for an elusive away win.
Forest: Pantilimon, Byram, Wague, Milosevic, Robinson, Yates, Osborn, Cash (Yacob 81’), Carvalho (Guedioura 81’), Lolley, Ansarifard (Grabban 64’)
Subs not used: Steele, Watson, Murphy, Appiah
Goal: Ansarifard 55')
Bookings: Yates 39', Robinson 90'
QPR: Lumley, Furlong, Cameron, Leistner, Manning, Osayi-Samuel, Scowen, Luongo, Eze (Wells 75’), Lewis Walker (Shodipo 59’), Hemed (Smith75’)
Subs not used: Ingram, Carlyle, Wszolek, Freeman
Booking: Manning 90'
Referee: Scott Duncan
Attendance: 15,212 (2,367 away)