QUEENS Park Rangers defeated Blackpool 2-0 as they met for the first time at Loftus Road. Here we have the thoughts of then writer for the Times – Geoffrey Green.
Teams: Queens Park Rangers v Blackpool
Date: Saturday 23rd March, 1968
Competition: Football League Division Two.
Venue: Loftus Road, London.
See Also: QPR 4-0 Blackpool – 1972-73.
The following is an article published in The Times by journalist Geoffrey Green on Monday March 25 – following QPR`s 2-0 win over Blackpool.
A season`s maxi-double over Blackpool at Loftus Road on Saturday; three points taken earlier from Portsmouth; return games yet to come against other challengers in Ipswich Town (away), Birmingham City (home), Blackburn Rovers (away) and Queens Park Rangers have almost reached their journey`s end.
Promoted to the second division only this season, they now stand on the fringe of the upper classes and deservedly so. They have made all the running from August with skill, stamina and spirit and have done it in such a way as to prove that their victory at Wembley, a year ago over West Bromwich Albion in the final of the football league cup was no flash in the pan.
Perhaps there was disappointment that their lower status at the time did not permit entry to the Inter-Cities Fairs Cup. European Competition would have been an exciting challenge. They would have learned new things.
But perhaps it proved a blessing in disguise. With that other tit-bit on their plate I doubt whether they would have been where they are today at home.
Whether their resources are sufficient to survive in the upper layer – should they get there – remains one of those imponderables. At any rate on this occasion they showed themselves more fitted for the future than Blackpool. The Lancastrians certainly had the undiminished style and experience of Armfield, England`s captain and colleague of Ron Springett, Rangers` goalkeeper, in the World Cup of 1962; the intelligent workmanship in midfield of Milne, who often enough went through the fires of the past for Liverpool and England.
But in the important sector of the firing line they had little to offer beyond the balanced aggression of Green (a Scotsman, perchance in spite of the name). Skirton seemed scarcely prepared to stir his robust timbers ad White wasted too much of himself in an abrasive attitude towards others, especially the long suffering Springett under the Rangers cross bar.
Certainly White once shot into Springett`s face instead of the net as he pounced on a bad backpass by Keetch just before the interval; and once, too, in a northern rally near the end Clement headed out from under his bar from the centre forward.
Yet if all this sounds as though Blackpool deserved to survive, it was not so. That last act by Clement in itself was legitimate, intelligent covering. The feeling is that Armfield and his tangerine company lack penetration, for all their near midfield approach. For that reason I believe they will miss out on the promotion bus.
From the moment Ian Morgan headed have Hazell`s free kick in the tenth minute – given for one of the numerous infringements against Marsh – Rangers seldom looked like losing. There were a number of narrow squeaks around Taylor at the other end until Clarke, the new arrival from Shrewsbury at centre-forward, put all doubts into the shadows as he scored his first goal “in anger” as it were for Rangers midway through the second half.
Holding his line neatly together down the wind after the interval, Clarke now breasted down Allen`s precise chip and flicked it home. Even Marsh must have admired that.
As for Marsh himself he remains the individualist and the entertainer he will always be. Hooked up a number of times in full artistic flow he always managed to turn the ire of others to laughter in the fluent manner of his falling. He should be a tumbler or a clown in a circus.
Let as a footballer he is no clown. He may not suit the planners or those who worship method. But he makes the crowd purr and it was now only the howling gale, two great saves by Taylor and those illegal last ditch obstructions that kept him out of the score line.
But if Marsh raises the cry of “Rod-ney, Rod-ney!” from the terraces, the steady pulse of this Rangers` side beats in their captain, Keen. Unhurried, long legged, deep thinking and one-paced not unlike Crerand, of Manchester United – he prods his men on week after week from no man`s land. Quiet but keen, he is well named.
Final Score: Queens Park Rangers 2-0 Blackpool
QPR: Springett, Clement, Harris, Keen, Keetch, Hazell, Morgan I., Allen, Clarke, Marsh, Morgan R.
Blackpool: Taylor, Armfield, Mowbray, Milne, Alcock, McPhee, Green, Craven, White, Ingram, Skirton.
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