ROCK-bottom Rangers played host to mid-table Ipswich Town as they sought their first victory of the campaign.
Teams: Queens Park Rangers v Ipswich Town
Date: Tuesday 8 October, 1968
Competition: Football League Division One.
Venue: Loftus Road, London.
See Also: Ipswich Town 1-4 QPR – 16-10-99.
In wet and muddy conditions in W12 the pitch was boggy as the players took to the field in what was a crucial encounter for QPR.
Rangers were now desperate to get off the mark with their first win as Alex Stock`s men were facing the drop even at this early stage owing to their inability to cope in the top flight.
That amounted to 12 games without a win for the R`s with five draws and seven defeats from their opening fixtures.
Ipswich by comparison were holding their own in the top flight under Bill McGarry sitting 12th in the First Division. However they had also lost six of their 12 games with away defeats against Sunderland, Sheffield Wednesday and Chelsea.
Rangers were still trying to banish the memories of their defeat only two months prior at the hands of the Tractor Boys. Goals from Colin Viljoen, Danny Hegan and Ray Crawford saw Rangers off in a 3-0 defeat at Portman Road.
Crawford will be most notably remembered for his brace for Colchester United in their humbling of Leeds United in the fifth round of the FA Cup in 1971. He started upfront alongside John O`Rourke – a name that Rangers fans would soon come to know better.
Alex Stock made wholesale changed from the side that were defeated at home by West Bromwich Albion. Out went Ron Hunt, Frank Sibley, Ian Morgan and Frank Clarke and coming in were skipper Mike Keen, Bobby Keetch, Les Allen and Alan Wilks as Rangers continued to suffer in the absence of injured forward Rodney Marsh.
After a poor first half against the baggies Rangers were looking to stamp some impetus on proceedings. They needed only to wait two minutes before a piece of creative genius saw Rangers infront.
Recalled skipper Mike Keen slipped a fantastic 30-yard pass through for striker Barry Bridges, with Ken Hancock no match for the forward`s strike as he put the R`s 1-0 up.
Rangers were once again looking like the Rangers of old, really playing with great enthusiasm and creativity that took them from the third division to their current position. Ipswich were at odds to match the R`s in every department as Rangers made a mockery of their league position.
However Ipswich had a way back into the game when Bobby Keetch put through his own net to equalise for the Tractor Boys. It was a hammer blow for the R`s who were still searching for their all important first win of the season as the campaign entered October.
A stormy match in every sensed of the word, the R`s piled forward in search of an unlikely winner, peppering the Town target with half chances but nothing of real substance.
Frustration however turned to elation when Rangers took their chance and snatched all the points. It was winger Roger Morgan who bagged the goal with little over 15 minutes remaining sending the near 18,000 crowd into raptures as the R`s secured their first win.
A follow up win against Sheffield Wednesday suddenly gave Rangers hope that they`d turned the corner and indeed were capable of avoiding the drop. However only two more home wins against Nottingham Forest and Stoke City were all the R`s could muster as they finished rock-bottom with 18 points, breaking the record as the lowest points total.
Rangers poor season was epitomised by the 8-1 drubbing at the hands of Manchester United and hatrick hero Willy Morgan, a result that remains a QPR record to the day.
Ipswich finished in 12th place as a late surge of two defeats in 13 saw them into the safety of mid-table. Bill McGarry moved on to pastures new and made way for Bobby Robson to take the hot-seat in January.
Final Score: Queens Park Rangers 2-1 Ipswich Town
Queens Park Rangers: Kelly, Watson, Harris, Keen, Keetch, Hazell, Bridges, Leach, Allen, Wilks, Morgan R.
Ipswich Town: Hancock, Carroll, Mills, Viljoen, Baxter, Jefferson, Spearitt, Hegan, Crawford (Hunt 68), O`Rourke, Brogan.
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