BOTH sides were struggling at the foot of the Second Division as Rangers hosted Bristol City.
Teams: Queens Park Rangers v Bristol City
Date: Saturday September 27, 1980.
Competition: Football League Division Two.
Venue: Loftus Road, London
See Also: Bristol City 1-2 QPR – 11-11-72.
A mere seven games gone and both sides were struggling at the wrong end of the table and facing an uphill battle from the beginning to attain a high placed finish.
Rangers had lost four games on the spin in all competitions – two of those defeats coming away to Notts County as the Magpies got the better of Londoners in both the league (2-1) and the League Cup (4-1). Other losses against Newcastle United and Sheffield Wednesday compounded a miserable start for the R`s.
City weren`t doing any better by comparison as manager for approaching 13 years, Alan Dicks, paid the price for a poor start meaning the rock-bottom Robins were managerless visiting the capital.
Newport County manager Len Ashurst was being hotly tipped for the role as City continued to falter. Indeed they had yet to win a game, drawing their first three and losing their subsequent four all by the odd goal.
Rangers boss Tommy Docherty made a solitary change from the side that lost out against Notts County in the League Cup. Andy King was dropped with Ian Gillard preferred to slip back into a familiar left back slot. The move saw Steve Burke pushed forward onto the left wing.
Young forward Dean Neil was being supplemented by the experienced talents of Tommy Langley and Tony Currie while sat behind the trio was young midfielder Gary Waddock an ever present in the side so far despite his tender age.
The visitors could call upon long-term servant Tom Richie in attack. The forward had been the Robins top scorer in four out of the last five seasons and was leading the way this time out with three goals. He was partnered by fellow youth product Kevin Mabbutt, player who had been slightly less successful in front of goal not reaching double figures to date.
The game defied its pre-match billing of a lowly affair between two struggling sides, with both teams putting on an excellent display for a modest Loftus Road crowd.
Only 8,551 were in attendance to see young forward Dean Neil come of age to put the Robins to the sword with a breathtaking display of direct running and deadly finishing.
He opened the scoring little after quarter of an hour after Steve Wickes and Tommy Langley combined to find him in the clear and Neil wasted little time in hammering the ball past veteran stopper Ray Cashley.
Rangers were once again in full flow and goals from Don Shanks and Tommy Langley paved the way for Neil to complete his brace for the afternoon in some style.
Neil had joined the club with Clive Allen and Paul Goddard was often tipped as the best of the trio but his time in W12 was hampered with two broken legs. The 19-year-old forward wasn`t in the mood to hang around in this encounter however latching on to Steve Wicks parried effort to make it 4-0 on 73 minutes.
Rangers rampant on a clear day in W12 leaving the Robins to contemplate life at the foot of the division.
Tommy Docherty left the club for the second time shortly after the win over the Robins and was replaced by ex-player Terry Venables. Venables led the R`s to a respectable eighth place with 43 points – a finish to the season that promised much for the next campaign.
Bristol City eventually appointed Bobby Houghton to the Ashton Gate hot seat in a bid to keep them in the division but ultimately his efforts were fruitless. The Robins finished second bottom only to local rivals Bristol Rovers, a clear six points from safety and 19th place Cardiff City.
Final Score: Queens Park Rangers 4-0 Bristol City
Queens Park Rangers: Woods, McCreery, Gillard, Waddock, Wicks, Roeder, Neal, Shanks, Langley, Currie, Burke.
Bristol City: Cashley, Tainton, Sweeney, Gow, Whitehead, Merrick, Fitzpatrick, Mann, Ritchie, Mabbutt, Pritchard (Smith 61).
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