FOREST ARE NOW ON A CLIFF EDGE
NOTTINGHAM Forest manager Mark Warburton knows what his side need to do to avoid relegation into League One.
Second-half goals from Conor Washington and Joel Lynch were enough to secure Championship safety for QPR and push Nottingham Forest closer to the abyss.
Defeat coupled with victory for Blackburn Rovers means Forest are out of the drop-zone on goal difference alone and face a nervejangling final day.
“We know what we’re involved in and we know what we have to do,” said Warburton, whose side are at home to Ipswich on the final day while Blackburn go to Brentford.
“We have to beat certain teams’ performances and our focus is now on preparing well and training well to deliver the performance.
“We've been in it for the last six, seven or eight weeks and the players have been dealing with it and handling the pressure quite well.
“If there’s one criticism of us as a group it’s that we didn’t take our chances and we only really looked hungry for a goal after we conceded.
“It’s in our hands, we’re at home and we can’t control what happens with other teams next week.”
Forest were forced into a lastminute reshuffle when Danny Fox was injured during the warm-up and replaced in defence by Daniel Pinillos.
The first half started brightly for Rangers with Pawel Wszolek drawing the first save of the game from Jordan Smith after just six minutes.
Mustapha Carayol had the first goalscoring chance for Forest, forcing Alex Smithies to tip his powerful effort from the edge of the area over the bar after 15 minutes.
The first half faded as both teams showed industry but little finesse and struggled to create any noteworthy goalscoring opportunities.
QPR came straight out of the blocks after half-time and broke the deadlock four minutes into the second half.
Washington hassled Joe Worrall into a mistake before racing through and lifting the ball over Smith into the back of the net.
The lead was doubled on the hour mark with ex-Forest man Lynch heading in at the far post from Ryan Manning’s hooked cross.
The second goal spurred a triple subsitution from Forest with Jamie Ward, Matty Cash and Matt Mills replacing Ben Brereton, Carayol and Pinillos respectively.
Forest started to press forward and Smithies was lucky not to spill Worrall’s long-range effort over the goalline in the 68th minute, before James Perch managed to scramble the ball away for a corner.
Subsitute Cash shot wide when well placed after springing the offside trap in the 75th minute.
Smithies continued to frustrate Forest, denying David Vaughan from just inside the area after Chris Cohen’s shot was blocked.
The final chance of the game fell to Cash, who saw his effort palmed away by the impressive Smithies.
Ian Holloway was understandably relieved to see his side secure safety. “This time of the season is squeaky bum time and the way things have been going over the past few weeks should we need to have felt relieved?” he said.
“My overwhelming emotion is – phew! Five or six games ago we felt we turned a corner but unfortunately once you think you’ve got it correct, it doesn’t always work.
“I’m delighted for the players, for the club and for the fans, who were magnificent today.”
ON THE SLIDE: Nedum Onuoha gets a tackle in against Forest forward Britt Assombalonga and below, Conor Washington scores