One Day In History - Nottingham Forest 1988-89
Date: Saturday February 11, 1989.
Competition: Barclays League Division One
Venue: City Ground, Nottingham
See Also: QPR 2-1 Nottingham Forest - 1968-69.
Trevor Francis` QPR were beginning to struggle in the First Division as they were yet to win in the new year of 1989. The R`s last league win coming on New Years Eve away at Southampton in a 4-1 win.
Since that crushing victory their schedule had been plagued by several cup fixtures. Seven games in January included three fixtures FA Cup fixtures against Manchester United eventually losing 3-0 in a second replay.
Other cup games included losing 5-2 to Nottingham Forest in the League Cup before progressing against Sheffield Wednesday in the Simod Cup infront of a hearty 3,957 at Hillsborough.
The iconic Brian Clough had steered Forest into a position to challenge for the title. 'Old Big 'Ed` had been at the helm of the City Ground for 14 years in undoubtedly the greatest spell in the club`s history.
Clough`s men were undefeated in all competitions since Boxing Day, results included a remarkable 4-0 win over Aston Villa accompanied with over home wins against Everton, Ipswich Town and Leeds United. They met Rangers on a run of eight successive victories - helping propel them into the top four of the first Division.
The R`s were facing one of the division`s form sides and having been hammered only 25 days previously by the Reds it was a trip made in trepidation rather than confidence.
Trevor Francis` men set their intentions from the offset, defending deep and getting men behind the ball at every opportunity. Entertainment value was stifled but Rangers were proving effective at stemming the tide of Forest`s attacking threat.
The R`s rarely ventured out their own half but nearly took a sensational lead when Andy Gray forced Steve Sutton into a desperate stop five minutes before the break.
A rare flurry of attack from QPR was soon dispelled as they were pinned back by an impressive attacking unit, Carr and Webb going close only to be thwarted by prospective England stopper David Seamen.
The R`s had strangled the fixture and Forest grew desperate in their search for a result - they were being reduced to efforts from distance by a resilient Rangers rearguard.
Brian Laws nearly won it for the Tricky Trees but Seaman was once again in inspired form, thwarting the Forest full back`s speculative effort.
The R`s managed to hold out for a goalless draw, which a victory for substance over style, but Trevor Francis made no apologies for his side`s performance against his former boss.
He said: "We knew we were playing the best team in the league at the moment.
"We got what we came for - a point - and might have nicked the lot in the final minute, but I`m not complaining"
Forest`s good form continued throughout the campaign as they rounded off the season in third place behind Arsenal and Liverpool. Losing two games in succession to the Reds put pay to their title and FA Cup credentials - losing out at the semi-final stage.
Rangers picked up under the guidance of Francis to finish ninth. The goalless draw against Forest gave rise to two more successive stalemates against Arsenal and West Ham United. Rangers were only defeated twice more that season with their form picking up as the season drew to a close.
Final Score: Nottingham Forest 0-0 Queens Park Rangers
Nottingham Forest: Sutton, Laws, Pearce, Chettle, Wilson, Hodge, Carr, Webb, Clough, Chapman (Starbuck 69), Parker.
QPR: Seaman, Channing, Pizanti, Parker, Maddix, Spackman, Stein, Gray (Kerslake 88), Barker, Coney, Reid.
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