ROCK-bottom Rangers hosted relegation rivals Nottingham Forest in a keenly contested Division One clash, with an interesting spectator in the press-box.
Teams: Queens Park Rangers v Nottingham Forest
Date: Saturday 23rd November, 1968
Competition: Football League Division One.
Venue: Loftus Road, London.
In distinctly poor conditions in W12, the R`s hosted fellow relegation candidates Nottingham Forest. The pitch played very heavy with mud covering the surface, the players struggling to stay on their feet at times.
Rangers came into the fixture without a win in five games, with their star talisman Rodney Marsh on the sideline due to injury. Back to back home wins against Sheffield Wednesday and Ipswich Town encouraged the fans somewhat, only to be quashed by defeats on home soil by Manchester United and Burnley.
There were few away comforts also for the R`s having shipped four goals in their two previous encounters against West Ham United and Everton.
Forest themselves had not picked up a win in a staggering ten games – the last win a thumping away win, 5-2 against West Bromwich Albion back in early September. Since that win five defeats and five draws put Forest in a dangerous position in the table, making the Albion win their only once of the season in the build up to this fixture.
Rangers were boosted by the return of Rodney Marsh, who made his second appearance of a frustrating season. It was ultimately he who helped haul the R`s to a victory in W12.
Marsh guided a side filled with young talent, indeed the average age of the Rangers side was merely 21 years of age, as Rangers looked to blood the youth in a bid to stay in the league.
It was the aforementioned Marsh and Tony Hazell who struck the all important goals to hand the R`s two very important points. Forest forward Barry Lyons had equalised for the visitors before Hazell`s winner as Tommy Docherty`s Rangers carved out the all important win.
Just as interesting, the R`s fans unwittingly witnessed a future star – not on the pitch, but in the press-box!
A 33 year old Michael Parkinson was becoming ever popular in sports-writing circles, due to his excellent column in The Sunday Times. Here is how he assessed the R`s display:
“Mr. Docherty did have one ace up his sleeve, the inimitable Mr. Rodney Marsh, entertainer extra-ordinary, making his first appearance at home.
“Marsh scored a goal, organised the defence to his requirements and ended the game by teasing the Nottingham Forest defenders into losing their heads.”
Final Score: Queens Park Rangers 2-1 Nottingham Forest
Rangers: Kelly, Clement, Gillard, Sibley, Watson, Hazell, Morgan I., McGovern, Bridges, Marsh, Morgan R.
Forest: Grummitt, Hindley, Winfield, Hennessey, McKinlay, Newton, Lyons, Hilley, Baker, Chapman, Storey-Moore.
To read the full catalogue from Rangers games in history, click here.
We want to know YOUR thoughts!
To have your say you can comment in the space provided below, or chat about it on the forum.
Cole Returns For The R`s.
Earnshaw To Face R`s.
Jackett In? Get Your Coat!.