RANGERS hosted a Carling Cup Third Round clash against Aston Villa on a mild Tuesday evening in W12.
Teams: Queens Park Rangers v Aston Villa
Date: Tuesday 30th October, 1984
Competition: Milk Cup Third Round
Venue: Loftus Road, London.
Rangers were finding the going tough in their second season back in the Football League First Division. Under the guidance of the recently appointed Alan Mullery the R`s were proving decent opposition in the cups while the league form continued to suffer.
Villa were also under the guidance of new management, with current Hereford boss Graham Turner at the helm at Villa Park were also finding it a tough period of transition, sitting in 16th in the first division.
With all the talk at the moment surrounding ticket prices, it is worth noting that prices for reserved seats that particular season ranged from £4-£8, which would have been increased to a staggering £5-£9 for specially selected fixtures – just goes to show ticket banding is not a recent phenomenon!
Rangers were riding the crest of a wave in cup competitions with Rangers thrashing lowly York City 4-1 in the league cup, and UEFA Cup progression seeming a formality after dispatching Partizan Belgrade 6-2 at Loftus Road – We don`t need to tell you how that one turned out.
In a game that ebbed and flowed, played out at a frenetic pace both sides sought to dispel their league woes by progressing in the Carling Cup. R`s stopper Peter Hucker was heavily worked in the opening stages as Villa seemed a side intent of taking an early advantage.
Villa have had their share of tall forwards over the years, Ian Ormondroyd, Peter Crouch, and another one nearly put them ahead just after the half hour mark, only to be thwarted by Hucker once more.
As the game went into the second half, Villa were in the ascendancy. Only the skill and distribution of Simon Stainrod could be taken as a positive on a day where Villa couldn`t bury the R`s. Just before the hour mark they had the ball in the back of the net with Gordan Cowan`s converting Paul Birch`s effort after it came back off the bar – the linesman raised his flag to the dismay of the away following.
Things went from bad to worse moments later as the R`s took the lead courtesy of a player more than familiar to the travelling fans. John Gregory had been sold to Brighton & Hove Albion by manager Ron Saunders for £250,000, and made his way to QPR – where he exacted sweet revenge against the side that offloaded him.
Gary Bannister`s vision found former Villain Gregory in space 25-yards out, and Gregory did the rest hitting a rasping drive home to take the R`s into the next round.
Villa unfortunate but Rangers elated, as the R`s progressed to play Southampton in Round Four. Rangers soon departed with manager Alan Mullery who is still tarnished by some fans as one of the R`s worst – he was replaced over the Christmas period and until the end of the season by former player and seemingly permanent caretaker boss Frank Sibley.
Villa had a slight upturn in form under Graham Turner and finished the season tenth in Division One whilst Sibley steered the R`s to fourth bottom before he was replaced by Jim Smith, Rangers were eventually knocked out the cup by Ipswich Town over two games.
Final Score: Queens Park Rangers 1-0 Aston Villa.
QPR: Hucker, Neill, Dawes, Fereday, Wicks, Fenwick, Cooper (Charles 67), Waddock, Bannister, Stainrod, Gregory.
Aston Villa: Day, Williams, Gibson, Evans, Ormsby, McMahon,Birch, Kerr (Six 80), Withe, Cowans, Dorago.
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