FOR­EST ARE NOW ON A CLIFF EDGE

The Football League Paper - - CHAMPIONSHIP - By James Lin­ing­ton

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.”

PICTURES: ProS­ports/ Andy Wal­ter

ON THE SLIDE: Ne­dum On­uoha gets a tackle in against For­est for­ward Britt As­som­ba­longa and below, Conor Washington scores

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