NEW BOY NELSON FIRES UP FOREST
Antonio sale is not the final nail
NOTTINGHAM Forest boss Dougie Freedman insists the club will move on after the sale of top scorer Michail Antonio, as the man brought in to replace the striker made an instant impact in their win over QPR.
Henri Lansbury equalised from the spot after Charlie Austin gave Rangers the lead and with the home side down to ten men, after Rob Green’s dismissal, Portuguese new-boy Nelson Oliveira struck the winning goal for Forest with nine minutes remaining.
With the East Midlands club under a Football League transfer embargo, their hand was forced on deadline day as West Ham put in a reported £7m bid for Antonio, but Freedman responded by bringing in three loan signings, including Oliveira from Benfica.
“We’re trying as a football club not to whinge about the situation we’re in,” Freedman said.“We had to sell our best player, if not the best player in the division, to go along with the transfer embargo but I think we’ve recruited very well.
“It’s not a one-man club, it’s got a great history and we’re trying to move on with our new signings and a couple of youngsters as well.”
He added: “I felt we were the better side and we deserved to win the game over the 95 minutes. In the first half we played some good football and took the sting out of the crowd. Even with a Charlie Austin trademark goal we were still the better side.
“The substitution of Michael Mancienne, 15 minutes before the Austin goal, upset the game a little bit as we were trying to keep our shape, but we showed spirit even when we went a goal behind. The new guys played very well and I’ve got to give credit to the players.”
The fans had to wait until the 27th minute for the game’s first real chance as right-back Eric Lichaj shot straight at Green having been played in by Chris O’Grady, on loan from Brighton.
It took the home side 40 minutes to get their first attempt on goal as Matt Phillips’ cross to the far post was met by Massimo Luongo, but the power was not there and Dorus De Vries gladly intervened.
Forest tested Green within the first minute after the break. Ryan Mendes, loaned from Lille, was brought down on the corner of the box leading to Lansbury shooting under the wall but not past Green.
Yet QPR talisman Austin injected some much-needed life into the game on 65 minutes, firing past De Vries to give the home side the lead to bring the muted crowd to their feet.
The home support were soon silenced again, however, as Green brought down O’Grady in the area after a poor backpass and received his marching orders. Lansbury put the resulting spotkick past substitute Alex Smithies to level the scores with 15 minutes left.
Forest then took the lead with nine minutes remaining as Mendes set up substitute Oliveira. The Portuguese international made no mistake by placing his shot low under Smithies to seal the points.
“Forest produced a very professional performance but I thought at the time when we had all our players on the field there was only going to be one winner,” said QPR manager Chris Ramsey.
“We were playing very well at that stage but unfortunately we didn’t manage to deal with the disappointment of Green’s dismissal during the game.
“The winning goal wasn’t due to being down to ten men, that was poor defensive play. But these things happen and you’ve got to cope with them. At that point Forest had their tails up and they ground out the win.”
TAKE THAT: Nelson Oliveira hits the winner after Robert Green was sent off, inset