PROMOTION chasing Queens Park Rangers hosted a struggling Norwich City side as they looked to bounce back to the First Division
Teams: Queens Park Rangers v Norwich City
Date: Tuesday February 17, 1970.
Competition: Football League Division Two
Venue: Loftus Road, London
See Also: Norwich City 3-4 QPR – 12-03-94.
After the disaster of a humiliating relegation from the top tier Rangers were going well in the Second Division in a bid to avenge their previous shortcomings. They sat in fifth place, only a point off second placed Sheffield United, but a full six points behind runaway leaders Huddersfield Town.
Les Allen`s side were in formidable form at Loftus Road with only three draws and a defeat blighting 16 home wins, including an impressive 6-1 win over Blackpool included in that excellent run.
Norwich under the guidance of Ron Saunders had been perennial mid-table candidates for the last ten years after their promotion from the third tier in 1960. Although a brief flurry of excitement came as they finished 4th, narrowly behind the chasing pack, in the following year in their bid for two successive promotions.
The Canaries had lost their previous five games away from Carrow Road, only picking up two away wins in the season to date. They defeated rock-bottom Aston Villa on the opening day before another narrow win at Ninian Park away to Cardiff City.
Rangers named an unchanged side from the team that beat Hull City at Boothferry Park with giant Vic Mobley continuing to partner Tony Hazell at the centre of Rangers defence. While the R`s attacking threat looked potent with Marsh and Clarke being flanked by Bridges and Ferguson as Allen took a positive ploy against the Canaries.
Saunders had signed former Coventry City man Graham Paddon for £25,000 in October that season, hoping his goals would fire the Canaries out of their current rut in the Second Division. He started alongside another new forward in Peter Silvester from Reading. They were marshalled by Scottish central defender Duncan Forbes – a defender which such a hard reputation in the game that The Times pointed out: ‘Forbes got his customary booking; the referee ought to take his name in the changing room rather than on the pitch thus saving time.’
The game was played out on a tough surface which was muddy and slippery after the thaw of some previous heavy snowfall, but it didn`t take long for Rangers to get in their usual rhythm and they were in front little after 20 minutes into the game.
Forward Mike Ferguson was on a marauding run into the box when he was taken out by Canaries full back Alan Black. The left back leaving Mr Bone in no doubt as to his spot-kick decision.
Skipper Terry Venables stepped up and duly converted the spot kick – his fifth of the season – to hand Rangers a first half lead at Loftus Road.
It soon became evident that Rangers had their minds on cup action against Chelsea on the Saturday as their grip on the game began to relax, although never out of their control. They regained their control on proceedings courtesy of classy creativity from Mike Ferguson.
His well timed pass found forward Frank Clarke in space and he was allowed to drill home his 15th goal of the campaign to double the lead for QPR. By now Ferguson was enjoying himself and his mesmerising run and shot screwed away from goal only for Barry Bridges to latch onto the ball with stunning precision to hit his 20th goal of the season.
With two minutes remaining Rangers completed the rout in the style as substitute Mick Leach, who had come on for Frank Clarke, crossed for Rodney Marsh whose sublime diving header epitomised the level of performance on display in W12.
Rangers ended up losing their sixth round FA Cup clash with rivals Chelsea and from then onwards their season nose-dived as they missed out on promotion by quite a way. Three defeats but more notably five successive draws scuppered their progress in the Second Division.
Only wins against rock-bottom Aston Villa and Leicester City on the final day ensured their ninth placed finish – a full ten points from second placed Blackpool and 17 points off eventual winners Huddersfield Town.
Norwich finished in their familiar mid-table position, two points and two placed behind QPR finishing in 11th place. A couple of seasons later though they surged forward to win the Second Division by a point from Birmingham City.
Final Score: Queens Park Rangers 4-0 Norwich City
Queens Park Rangers: Kelly, Clement, Gillard, Watson, Mobley, Hazell, Bridges, Venables, Clarke (Leach), Marsh, Ferguson.
Norwich City: Vasper, Butler, Black, Stringer, Forbes, Lucas, Briggs, Bennett, Silvester, Paddon, Foggo.
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