TWO sides near the summit of the Second Division clashed as Barnsley travelled to a snowy Loftus Road.
Two sides near the summit of the Second Division clashed as Barnsley travelled to a snowy Loftus Road.
Teams: Queens Park Rangers v Barnsley
Date: Saturday December 12, 1981
Competition: Football League Second Division
Venue: Loftus Road, London.
Following the disappointing media reaction to Rangers’ omniturf, the R’s spent the summer packing a new layer of sand under the turf to give it a truer bounce.
Complaints about the surface saw Rangers hand their forthcoming opponents a day’s training on the turf in preparation for the fixture.
The purchase of John Gregory from Brighton & Hove Albion proved to be an astute one by boss Terry Venables. The attack-minded player had scored five in the first half of the season to supplement his excellent displays.
QPR came off the back of only one win in four games with stiker Simon Stainrod’s double dispatching of Cardiff City (2-0). Defeats away at Bolton Wanderers (0-1) and Shrewsbury City (1-2) were compounded by a disappointing home draw with Oldham Athletic (0-0).
One defeat in nine games put Barnsley in a commanding position near the top of the Second Division with impressive away victories over Chelsea (2-1) and Rotherham United (4-2) culminating in their lofty position of 4th.
While Rangers’ rivals continued to mock the Loftus Road turf, it was one of the only playable pitches as snow blanketed England and froze many of the pitches, postponing games up and down the country. Rangers merely removed the snow from the pitch and the game was underway.
Venables made two changes from the side that lost out at Burnden Park with Ian Stewart replacing the ever-present Simon Stainrod, while Wayne Fereday made a fleeting appearance on the bench at the expense of Steve Burke.
Rangers ran the early showing with Tony Sealy in particular could have had a hatrick, missing several guilt-edge chances.
A memorable moment, unfortunately not for Sealy, came when a Gary Micklewhite shot was parried by keeper Bobby Horn. Sealy slid in for what should have been an open goal, and somehow conspired to clear off the line!
While Rangers couldn’t break the deadlock, the Tykes were never out of the game and former QPR loanee Trevor Aylott went close with a volley as the first half drew to a close.
After the break the visitors were more positive with Ian Banks testing John Burridge, in a useful display for the central defender.
The home pressure eventually told however with Mike Flanagan bagging what turned out to be the winner in the 72nd minute to spare the blushes of misfiring Sealy.
The nucleus of a good side continued to develop throughout the campaign and Venables took Rangers to a fifth placed finish in the Second Division.
Barnsley by comparison also had a positive campaign under Norman Hunter finishing a point and a place below the R’s in sixth place.
Final Score: Queens Park Rangers 1-0 Barnsley
Queens Park Rangers: Burridge, Gregory, Fenwick, Waddock, Howe, Roeder, Micklewhite, Flanagan, Sealy (Fereday 66), Stewart, Gillard.
Barnsley: Horn, Joyce, Chambers, Glavin, Banks, McCarthy, Evans, Riley, Aylott, McHale, Barrowclough.
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