TERRY Venables QPR looked to exact revenge on struggling Derby County as they sought to climb into contention for a promotion place.
Terry Venables QPR looked to exact revenge on struggling Derby County as they sought to climb into contention for a promotion place.
Teams: Queens Park Rangers v Derby County
Date: Saturday February 20, 1982
Competition: Football League Division Two
Venue: Loftus Road, London
Venables Rangers were looking good in the early running for a promotion place, with new signings John Gregory and Clive Allen lighting up a side playing attractive passing football.
Such was the way while Venables was a player the calibre of performances emanating from Loftus Road were drawing plaudits even if they didn’t reap the just rewards of the newly installed three points.
The R’s were facing a Derby County side under the guidance of Johnny Newman, following the departure of Colin Addison in January.
Derby could point to their home form as the reason for them not being in the relegation zone with the Rams picking up only a couple of wins on the road all season as they headed to W12.
In recent fixtures County were three without a win having been defeated by Rotherham United (1-2) and Leicester City (1-2) with a draw at home to Charlton Athletic (1-1) doing little to quell relegation worries.
Rangers by comparison were also struggling to find form with only one win in their last six against Barnsley (1-0) and back to back defeats against Cambridge United (0-1) and Blackburn Rovers (1-2).
A result and a confidence-boosting three points was long overdue as despite some useful displays Rangers were starting to see a positive season go stale, and peter out into mid-table mediocrity.
Rangers made one change from the side that were defeated up at Ewood Park with Bob Hazell stepping into the side at the expense of the ill Ernie Howe.
The Rams meanwhile could call upon the experienced forward Kevin Hector following his return to the side from the Vancouver Whitecaps.
The disappointing form was compounded by the 8,890 attendance in W12 on a cold February afternoon, but it was Mike Flanagan that lit up the occasion with a scintillating display.
Flanagan’s free kick shortly after the half hour mark was worked well by Clive Allen and Glenn Roeder into the path of the returning Hazell who in turn swept home form close range.
Barely moments later the score was doubled as Flanagan’s corner was met Terry Fenwick and Rangers were becoming hopeful of a first win in four games.
It was more of the same in the second period as Derby struggled to cope with Venables’ free-flowing style and it was Flanagan himself that struck an excellent third for a rampant QPR.
An incredible five wins from seven games towards the end of the season saw QPR finish fifth in the Second Division, poised finely for a push in the 1982-83 season.
They nearly crowned a useful finish to the campaign with a cup win over Tottenham Hotspur, but the First Division side edged out Rangers in a replay with a Glenn Hoddle penalty.
Derby meanwhile finished a disappointing 16th in the second tier and it was clear that this side was a far cry from Clough’s legends that took the first division title in 1972 – ten years previous.
Final Score: Queens Park Rangers 3-0 Derby County
Queens Park Rangers: Hucker, Fenwick, Gillard, Neill, Hazell, Roeder, Micklewhite, Flanagan, Allen, Stainrod, Gregory (Wilkins 68)
Derby County: Banovic, Attley, Buckley, Skivington, Sheridan, McAlle, Hector, Powell, Clayton, Wilson, Ernson.
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