Jack Colback scored his first league goal since March 2019 as Nottingham Forest salvaged a point in a dramatic finish against Queens Park Rangers at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium.
Rangers were poised for victory following Scotland international Lyndon Dykes’ header at the end of a first half in which they lost Sam McCallum and Jordy de Wijs to injury.
Dykes could have made it a hat-trick after the break, but Brice Samba closed down the space to deny him one on one and Djed Spence produced a brilliant tackle as the striker prepared to shoot.
And Forest were rewarded for their tenacity when QPR failed to clear with time running out and Colback’s fierce left-foot effort found the net with the help of a deflection off Jimmy Dunne.
Having lost 20 of their previous 22 matches on a Friday night, Rangers avoided a similar fate and moved up to fifth in the table despite being denied their seventh win of the campaign, with Forest remaining in 15th place.
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In QPR’s final home game before Remembrance Day, there was a minute’s applause followed by a minute’s silence and the playing of the Last Post by Sergeant Warren Ringham before kick-off.
When the match began, Forest almost went in front in the first 15 seconds as the home defence was caught in possession and Joe Lolley fed Brennan Johnson who shot narrowly wide.
The referee waved away penalty appeals by Forest when Johnson went down under a challenge from Yoann Barbet, but the visitors went close again as Lolley’s 20-yard drive brought a flying save from Seny Dieng.
Albert Adomah then had to hack the ball away as Johnson played a dangerous ball across the six-yard box, but his most telling contribution against one of his former clubs came at the other end when he found space in the box for a dinked cross and Dykes peeled away from his marker Max Lowe before heading home.
Forest boss Steve Cooper sent on Alex Mighten and Lyle Taylor at the hour mark as his side sought an equaliser and Lolley flashed another left-foot effort just beyond the far post before he was replaced by Philip Zinckernagel, who forced Dieng to tip over with a powerful effort.
Dykes was being watched by Scotland boss Steve Clarke and he had the chances to settle the outcome but was denied by a resolute Forest defence.
The visitors threw numbers forward as the game moved into stoppage time and Colback’s drive meant they avoided a second successive defeat, having lost 4-0 at home to Fulham last Sunday.
QPR boss Mark Warburton told BBC London 94.9:
“Second half we had to maintain shape and stop them playing forward and I think we did that, I thought we negated their threat.
“We got first contact to their set-pieces all night and in truth, against a very good Forest team, we looked comfortable.
“We had a lot of chances to finish it off and go two up, then it’s game over, and we have to recognise we were wasteful in front of goal.
“To get a deflection like that – I’ve seen the replay from behind the goal and it was going straight in Seny’s (Dieng) arms – it is painful.”
Forest head coach Steve Cooper told BBC Radio Nottingham:
“It would have been really harsh if we’d lost the game – one, because of the part we played; two, because of the [penalty] decision in the first half; and three, we kept believing, we never gave up.
“QPR is a tough game to prepare for, they change their shape in midfield, sometimes a diamond, sometimes a box, and tactically that’s quite hard to deal with.
“What we didn’t want to do was drop [back] and let them take the game to us, we wanted to do the opposite, and we did if you look at how we started the game.
“It was a good game and I’m just glad we got something out of it – [but it’s] mixed feelings, because I felt we should have got three points.”
- 5de WijsSubstituted forDunneat 36′minutes
- 7JohansenBooked at 83mins
- 17DozzellBooked at 44mins
- 16McCallumSubstituted forOdubajoat 26′minutes
- 10ChairSubstituted forAmosat 78′minutes
- 4WorrallBooked at 90mins
- 3FigueiredoSubstituted forMightenat 61′minutes
- 23LolleySubstituted forZinckernagelat 67′minutes
- 7GrabbanSubstituted forTaylorat 61′minutes
- Andy Davies
Match ends, Queens Park Rangers 1, Nottingham Forest 1.
Second Half ends, Queens Park Rangers 1, Nottingham Forest 1.
Attempt blocked. Brennan Johnson (Nottingham Forest) right footed shot from outside the box is blocked.
Corner, Nottingham Forest. Conceded by Andre Dozzell.
Djed Spence (Nottingham Forest) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Chris Willock (Queens Park Rangers).
Joe Worrall (Nottingham Forest) is shown the yellow card.
Goal! Queens Park Rangers 1, Nottingham Forest 1. Jack Colback (Nottingham Forest) left footed shot from outside the box to the bottom left corner.
Attempt missed. Lyndon Dykes (Queens Park Rangers) right footed shot from more than 35 yards is too high. Assisted by Luke Amos.
Corner, Nottingham Forest. Conceded by Robert Dickie.
Corner, Nottingham Forest. Conceded by Moses Odubajo.
Stefan Johansen (Queens Park Rangers) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Alex Mighten (Nottingham Forest) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Stefan Johansen (Queens Park Rangers).
Attempt missed. Lyndon Dykes (Queens Park Rangers) left footed shot from the left side of the box is high and wide to the left. Assisted by Stefan Johansen following a fast break.
Djed Spence (Nottingham Forest) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Foul by Chris Willock (Queens Park Rangers).
Substitution, Queens Park Rangers. Luke Amos replaces Ilias Chair.
Corner, Queens Park Rangers. Conceded by Max Lowe.
Corner, Queens Park Rangers. Conceded by Ryan Yates.