Forest proved there is life after Antonio when their three debutants combined brilliantly to defeat in form QPR at Loftus Road.
Chris O’Grady started as the obligatory lone front man whilst Ryan Mendes slotted straight in on the left wing.
I was pleased to see Tyler Walker on the right flank, following an impressive performance out there in his last game.
There was very little between the sides in the first period which for me sums up the championship to a tee, QPR were third at the start of play but looked no better than injury ravaged Forest.
At times the Freedman safety net was at full strength, on numerous occasions I counted ten men behind the ball when Rangers were in possession.
Easy to criticise I suppose, on the other hand he’s not in the mood to give away cheap goals.
It was hard to judge the new boys in that first half given the sheer lack of space and pace of the game.
However, Mendes looked positive and intent on beating his man which is something that Chris Burke rarely ever does. O’Grady looked a bit clumsy at first but played in Lichaj brilliantly, for what should have been his first ever Forest goal.
The American forced a decent save from Robert Green but it was a full back’s finish rather than a forward’s.
The second half saw an improvement from the home side, as former forest full backs Perch and Konchesky pushed higher up the field. Jamie Ward replaced Walker and looked lively as usual.
Charlie Austin had been relatively quiet until the 65th minute when he lashed home a shot from outside the box. It was more of an error by De Vries in the Forest goal though, as he misjudged the big striker’s effort.
Then came the game changer; Rob Green messed up a back pass before wrestling O’Grady to the floor having given him a golden chance to equalise. Green...saw red and Henri Lansbury tucked away the spot kick with ease.
You sensed that a win was on the cards and it came about through the introduction of Nelson Oliveira from the bench.
In the 82nd minute O’Grady glanced a header to Mendes who played in Oliveira, the Portuguese striker took his chance promptly and zipped home the winning goal.
People will be quick to point out that this win came as a result of the sending off but let us focus on the performance of our new Tricky Trio. They seemed to fit right in and more importantly give us something a little different.
It will be interesting to see how they perform in front of our demanding home crowd, but for me the formula is right in front of us. Play a front two of O’Grady and Oliveira; O’Grady will hold the ball up all day long and Oliveira has the pace to feed off those knock downs and flick ons.
Having completed this blog I have just heard that lifelong Forest supporter Barry Bramley suffered a heart attack at the match.
There is widespread concern amongst the club’s supporters for Barry’s well being and to be honest it has made the result inconsequential. Get well soon mate!