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QPR v Nottingham Forest Connections and Memories
QPR v Nottingham Forest Connections and Memories
Friday, 17th Oct 2008 13:03

As QPR prepare to return to action this weekend against Nottingham Fortest, Ash takes a look back at a memorable clash between the two sides at Loftus Road in 1993.

Rangers return from a successful England international break on Saturday looking to get the season back on track. One point from a possible twelve has seen a feeling of discontent surface at Loftus Road and has led to both Martin Rowlands and Gareth Ainsworth coming out and urging the fans to get behind the team when things aren’t going as we are all wanting, and some expecting. This Saturday, on paper at least, looks like the perfect way to get back to winning ways as we entertain bottom placed Nottingham Forest.

Forest, promoted last season, are in even worse form having not tasted victory since the end of August and are yet to pick up a point away from home. With Sam Allardyce waiting in wings to take over if Colin Calderwood’s poor run continues it would be just like Rangers to ‘do a Swindon’ this weekend and give Forest a helping hand. What would our booing fans and the board do then?

Nottingham Forest first travelled to West London for Second Division game in September 1948, with the R’s running out 2-1 winners. While their last visit was one to forget for the Tricky Trees, again losing 2-1 in a game that saw them relegated to League One. Marc Bircham got the winner on a day best remembered for the emotional ‘Thank you Ian Holloway’ chant during the lap of honour at the end of the game. In between there’s been plenty more though as we take a walk down the blue and white hooped path of memory lane.

Memorable Match
QPR 4-3 Nottingham Forest
10 April 1993
Premier League

Going into the game the teams were battling at either end of the table. Rangers has been in and around the top six for most of the season, Gerry Francis’ side was hoping to finish as high as possible in the first ever Premier League season. Forest had a different goal altogether, languishing in the bottom three they desperately needed the points for survival. It was Forest who started the game brighter and took the lead after just eight minutes. Good work down the right flank from Gary Crosby led to a mix-up in the Rangers box, Clive Wilson failed to clear his lines and ex-R Gary Bannister stabbed in the opener on his old stomping ground.

Forest and Bannister had further chances to extend their lead before the R’s got back in the game against the run of play. A prime example of route one football as Tony Roberts, sporting my favourite neon yellow and green goalie shirt, punted the ball down field and Rangers top-scorer Les Ferdinand ghosted in between two defenders and chipped the ball over Mark Crossley’s head to equalised for the R’s.

On the stroke of half-time QPR turned the game on its head, as a driving run into the box from Andy Sinton was stopped by a defender hauling down the winger and the ref pointed to the spot. Mr reliable Clive Wilson stepped-up and Rangers went into the break with a 2-1 lead. That lead didn’t last long though as just like the first half, Forest came racing out the traps and a neat counter attack saw Kingsley Black in acres of space on the right flank and he struck the ball into the top corner. Five minutes later Forest were back in the lead and once again it was Black - Ian Holloway lost possession just outside the R’s box, playing the ball into path of Steve Stone who’s cross was cheekily flicked up by Robert Rosario and volleyed home by Black, 3-2 Forest .

Rangers rallied and drew level when Allen again fed Ferdinand who beat the offside trap then rounded the keeper and put Rangers back on level terms for a second time in this rollercoaster of a game. The final twist came three minutes later, Wilkins’ neat skill played in Allen and his pinpoint cross was met with a diving header from Ferdinand for his hat-trick.

QPR: Roberts, Bardsley, Wilson, Wilkins, Peacock, McDonald, Impey, Holloway, Ferdinand, Allen, Sinton

To see highlights of this game click here.

Postscript: Sir Les got another hat trick two days later at Everton. QPR went on to record their best finish since 1976, coming fifth and top London club in the Premier League’s debut season. Nottingham Forest were relegated in Brian Clough’s last season as manager.

Connections
Gino Padula
QPR 2002-05
Nottingham Forest 2005-06

GINO! GINO! GINO! The little left-back from Buenos Aires was one of the most popular players at Loftus Road during Ian Holloway’s reign at the club and became a true cult hero. He started life at River Plate, one of Argentina ’s biggest clubs, but only managed three appearances for them in his debut season as a professional and soon moved on for more first team football at second division side Huracan. It was here he established himself as a consistent and solid left-back, but wanted more of a challenge and after just one season decided to move to Europe to try his luck in a new league. It was with Spanish side Xerez Gino first tasted European football but he struggled to get into the side and a year later he clocked up yet more air miles and signed for English west-country side Bristol Rovers. Yet again Gino failed to make an impact and soon left and joined Walsall where he finally started to make a name for himself and played 25 times for the Saddlers but once again moved on after just one campaign to sign for Wigan .

Although he got his first goal in English football while he was at the JJB, a year later his contract wasn’t renewed and he left the club. It was QPR who snapped the left-back up in 2003 and it was at Loftus Road he went on to enjoy the most successful period of his career. Making his debut as a second half sub in a 1-0 defeat to Barnsley it wasn’t long before Padula was a permanent fixture at left back for the R’s in a season the went all the way to the Play-off final. Gino’s tandem dancing with Ollie on the pitch after the Oldham semi-final game is well remembered, unfortunately the final wasn’t as the Superhoops lost to Cardiff City.

The following year Gino once again was one of Rangers star performers with his tricky left foot chipping in with a number of assist and quality free-kicks. The end of that campaign saw the R’s promoted and once again a happy dancing Gino on the Hillsborough pitch on the last day of the season. In all Padula played just under 100 games for QPR in his three seasons and was arguably the best left-back see at Loftus Road since Clive Wilson. He was surprisingly released by Rangers after the first season back in the Championship he joined Nottingham Forest . He was never given a run in the Forest team though and after a season joined Montpellier in France and now can seen playing his trade in the MLS with Columbus Crew, who are currently top of the Eastern Conference.
Magic R’s Moment: A wicked curling free-kick in front of the Loft against Bristol City .

Gary Bannister
QPR 1984-88
Nottingham Forest 1992-93

Born in Warrington in 1960 Bannister was one of the most consistent goal scorers of the 1980s, especially at Loftus Road . A product of the Coventry youth system, Bannister broke his way into the first team to make his debut in May 1978. To gain some first-team experience he was sent on loan to American side Detroit Express impressing with a goal every other game in a brief three month spell. Once back at City he found it difficult to break into the team and decided to drop a division, joining Sheffield Wednesday for £100,000. At Wednesday, Bannister started to show his predatory instincts and was top scorer for the club in each of his three seasons at Hillsborough, and helped the Owl’s gain promotion to the First Division. However Gary never got to play for Wednesday in the top flight as he was snapped up that summer by QPR who bought him to fill the void left by Clive Allen.

He made an immediate impact on the R’s faithful by scoring on his debut against West Brom and went on to have steady first campaign in the hoops, with most of his strikes coming at Loftus Road. But when Jim Smith took over the R’s in 1985 things really took off for Bannister and he flourished on Rangers plastic pitch and formed a formidable partnership with John Byrne. Their goals led R’s to Wembley, in their first League Cup Final since 1967, beating Liverpool in the semis on route. Sadly the final was a day Rangers would rather forget, as Oxford runaway with it winning 3-0. Bannister’s finest hour however came on Easter Monday 1986 when Rangers entertained local rivals Chelsea, who were within a shout of the title at the time. Many expected them to rollover Rangers but on a day that’s gone down in R’s folk law, QPR hit Chelsea with six without reply – Bannister getting three of them.

He stayed at the Loft for another season until the arrival of Trevor Francis and Marc Falco saw him pushed out the picture and he moved back to first club Coventry . Spells at West Brom and Oxford followed before he joined Nottingham Forest in time for the inaugural season of the Premier League. But despite scoring against Rangers, the season at the City Ground was a disappointing one as Forest were relegated. He moved to Hong Kong side HK Rangers and played for Stoke and Darlington before retiring in 1996. Now owns a holiday apartment business in Cornwall .
Magic R’s Moment: The first goal against Chelsea when Terry Fenwick fooled everyone who thought he would shoot by chipping the ball over the wall into Bannister’s path where he couldn’t miss!

Others:
Stan Bowles QPR 1972-79, Nottingham Forest 1970-80. Now an after dinner speaker.
David Needham QPR 1977, Nottingham Forest 1977-82. Now a successful IT businessman.
Chris Woods Nottingham Forest 1976-79, QPR 1979-81. Now Everton goalkeeping coach.
Trevor Francis Nottingham Forest 1979-81, QPR 1988-91. Now a TV pundit.
Nigel Quashie QPR 1995-1998, Nottingham Forest 1998-2000. Now at West Ham.
John Curtis Nottingham Forest 2005-07, QPR 2007-08. Now on trial at Notts County .
Danny Cullip Nottingham Forest 2005-07, QPR 2007-08. Now at Lewes.
Mick Harford, Nottingham Forest 2003 to 2004, QPR 2007. Now Luton manager.

Fans’ Memories
1980ish, standing in the Paddocks (rare for me as I'm a Loftist) being 2-0 up with 8 minutes left, throwing it away again effing and blinding like everyone else and being the only one in the crowd getting nicked by the police and being thrown out. -TedHendrix

Sinking them to the third tier, a few short seasons back, last game of that season. Singing '5 Minutes and you're going down'. Respect to Forrest that day though, those that stayed behind and applauded the Rangers players on their lap. They had every right to leave humiliated and gutted, but they stayed. I always preferred them to the Liverpool's and Man Utd's, always had more humility and class. -BrightonHoop

I remember singing 'What would Cloughie say, what would Cloughie say' that afternoon as well. Also that was the day of the 'Thank you Ian Holloway' chant that brought a massive lump to my throat. -Wegerle10

Stan Bowles' QPR debut back in September 1972! Signed a couple of days earlier...Bowles made the first, scored the second and QPR won 3-0. And Tommy Docherty's one win in his four week stay at Loftus Road (first time round) vs Nottingham Forest in November 1968...Rod-ney -QPRReport

Posted this before but my memories are of the game where our floodlights failed and for the replayed fixture the Forest fans lit candles in the away end. Also at that game the loads got in for nothing. At the end of the previous cancelled game stewards handed out raffle tickets to everyone leaving the ground for free entry to the replay. A few raffle ticket books were duly 'acquired' from WHSmith in Notting Hill and I think most of my school attended the rematch. -ZRanger

Stuart Pearce crashing into the Lower Loft advertising boards right in front of me (in the days of terracing) and everyone going aaaaarrgg Wan..... etc when Pearce suddenly got up and everyone within 15 yards went strangely silent. It still makes me laugh now. -Metallica Hoop

To add your memories of this fixture e-mail us at loftforwords@yahoo.co.uk, use the commenting facility below or post on the message board thread.

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