QPR Hold Firm In Jimmy's Last Stand
05.11.16 - 15.00
TEN man Queens Park Rangers put in a battling second half performance to secure a share of the spoils at Nottingham Forest.
Wholesale changes for Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink saw Grant Hall, Karl Henry, Pawel Wszolek and Seb Polter come back into the line-up - but it wasn't long before one of those twisted the knife into an already dismal away record.
Rangers visibly struggled early on to cope with the high and hopeful ball over the top due to a scandalously high defensive line - only the lack of pace from Brit Assombalonga helped the visitors.
After being booked for a coming together, Karl Henry showed more than a hint of naivety in bringing down Henri Lansbury on the edge of the area - no second chances from strict official Keith Stroud who gave Henry his marching orders.
A long ball over the top nearly paid dividends when Onuoha fluffed his line and Smithies saved well from Assombalonga - but he wasn't so lucky next time around.
The forward once again eased in behind a static and high back-line to round Smithies and place home from an acute angle. A deserved lead against a visiting side that really hadn't got out of first gear.
Rangers sprung into life after the break when Olamide Shodipo came on for the lacklustre Pawel Wszolek - Forest did not know how to deal with the Rangers youth product and repeatedly fouled the young wide-man.
Forest fans were growing increasingly restless as ten-man QPR started to dominate possession and chances. It got too much for Hildeberto Pereira - returning to the side following suspension - who received his third red card of the season.
Hasselbaink threw on Nasser El-Khayati for Jack Robinson in a uncharacteristic show of ambition, it paid off when the Dutchman crossed right-footed for fellow substitute Idrissa Sylla to nod past Stojkovic unmarked.
Just reward for Rangers, but it meant little for Hasselbaink who was shown the exit door just hours after the final whistle.
A performance synonymous with his tenure - mind-numbingly poor first half compounded with individual errors balanced off with a eventful and attacking second period capped off with a deserved goal and point.
A shame he hasn't started more games as the genuinely most exciting thing to come out of Rangers youth system proved his worth today at the City Ground.