An­to­nio sale is not the fi­nal nail

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By Stu­art Clarke

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.”

PIC­TURES: Ac­tion Im­ages

TAKE THAT: Nel­son Oliveira hits the win­ner af­ter Robert Green was sent off, inset

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