DIVISION Two high flyers Blackpool and Queens Park Rangers met in W12 for a second v third encounter.
Teams: Queens Park Rangers v Blackpool
Date: Saturday 24th March, 1973.
Competition: Football League Division Two.
Venue: Loftus Road, London.
Rangers come into the fixture in West London on a high after a nine game undefeated run that included a massive 5-0 victory over Swindon Town, whilst also picking up crucial points against Aston Villa in a narrow 1-0 win.
Blackpool themselves had won three on the spin, dispatching of Cardiff City, Oxford United and Fulham to propel themselves into third in the second division.
Stan Bowles` return from suspension was a crucial inclusion as Rangers continued to push Burnley for top spot. It was he who opened the scoring in the second half after the Blackpool captain, James, failed to clear his lines from a Venables free-kick and Bowles was free to stab home the loose ball.
Rangers doubled their advantage moments later when a clever free-kick from Venables, delightfully chipped over the wall, found Francis in acres of space, and the midfielder did the rest to slot home, despite the protestations of the Tangerines players in thinking he was offside.
Winger Dave Thomas bagged the third for Rangers as they finally broke down the Blackpool resistance, who to be fair were competent throughout, and were it not for individual errors may have got something from the game. Thomas beat two men on his way to slotting a delightful strike pas Wood for three.
Thomas even had a hand in the fourth, but an own goal by Blackpool rounded off a glorious occasion at Loftus Road in stark contrast to the weather conditions. Manager Gordon Jago described Blackpool as “The best side we have played this season” – high praise indeed from an excellent manager.
Rangers went on to be promoted in second place, a point behind champions Burnley – while Blackpool finished seventh in a thoroughly good campaign.
Final Score: Queens Park Rangers 4-0 Derby County
QPR: Parkes, Clement, Watson, Venables, Mancini, Hazell, Thomas, Francis, Leach, Bowles, Givens.
Blackpool: Wood, Hatton, Bentley, Alcock, James, Suddaby, Burns, Suddick, Rafferty, Dyson, Ainscow.
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