QUEENS Park Rangers and Newcastle United were struggling at the foot of the First Division as they clashed at St James’ Park.
Queens Park Rangers and Newcastle United were struggling at the foot of the First Division as they clashed at St James’ Park.
Teams: Newcastle United v Queens Park Rangers
Date: Saturday April 22, 1978
Competition: Football League First Division
Venue: St James’ Park, Newcastle
Rangers were visibly struggling in the top flight following the departure of Dave Sexton to Manchester United, with former player Frank Sibley not able to live his predecessors’ lofty billing.
Key players including Don Masson and Dave Thomas departed the club with Sibley opting to bring in Leighton James, Paul McGee and Ernie Howe to bolster a weakened side.
Only one win from their first 12 games against Leicester City (3-0) condemned them to a season of struggling in the top flight along with the Foxes.
Entering into the fixture and QPR had only picked up eight victories all season as their plight along with Newcastle appeared bleak at the wrong end of the First Division.
However there were signs of recovery, with back to back home wins against Arsenal (2-1) and Coventry City (2-1) heightening their chances of survival.
There was a similar feeling of desperation on Tyneside with Newcastle United slipping perilously out the division without so much as a whimper.
Bill McGarry had taken over from Richard Dinnis in November in a bid to revive the fortunes of the Toon Army. However, 16 games without a win saw Newcastle plummet into the relegation mire.
Sibley made one change from the side that were defeated at Nottingham Forest with Paul Goddard relinquishing the number 11 shirt for a place on the bench, with Don Givens starting wide for the R’s.
Leighton James partnered Stan Bowles in attack with Givens and Paul McGee attacking from wide areas. John Hollins skippered the side from the centre of defence as the R’s embarked on an important game.
It was McGee that put the Toon Army to the sword on an unexpected afternoon of joy on Tyneside, with the R’s running the show at St James’ Park.
The R’s number seven laid on the ball for Don Givens to score the opener after 36 minutes. Just before half time he worked hard himself to scramble the ball over the line and double the away advantage.
John Hollins capped off a glorious day for Rangers five minutes in the second half, as they hauled themselves clear of the First Division drop zone.
Despite the R’s scoring only one goal in their remaining three games, including a final day defeat at Stamford Bridge.
QPR finished a point and a place above West Ham United in 20th place – Newcastle United on the same points as bottom-placed Leicester City as they dropped into the Second Division.
Final Score: Newcastle United 0-3 Queens Park Rangers
Newcastle United: Mahoney, Nattrass, Burton, Blackley, Nulty, Burns, Kennedy, Walker (McGhee 59), Barrowclough, Mitchell, Lanarch.
Queens Park Rangers: Parkes, Clement, Hollins, Howe, Gillard, Shanks, Bowles, Williams, McGee (Goddard 80), James, Givens.
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