QUEENS Park Rangers were vying for a spot at the top of the Second Division as Plymouth Argyle visited Loftus Road.
Teams: Queens Park Rangers v Plymouth Argyle
Date: Saturday December 30, 1967
Competition: Football League Division Two
Venue: Loftus Road, London.
Queens Park Rangers hosted a forlorn Plymouth Argyle in the Second Division with the sides seeing contrasting fortunes over the turn of the New Year.
Rangers were beginning to kick on in their race to win a second successive promotion and they would look to draw on their success from the clubs` prior meeting only four days previous.
It was QPR that went down to the south-west to claim a priceless 1-0 victory at Home Park courtesy of a penalty from skipper Mike Keen. The R`s had lost only one game in six in their bid to take the Division Two title at the first attempt.
They invited the Greens to W12 on the back of an impressive home record, having lost only once at Loftus Road the entire campaign – a 1-0 defeat to Derby County.
In stark contrast visitors Plymouth Argyle had only won three games all season, with only one of those coming in the last 17 games – a 2-1 away win against Bolton Wanderers. The Pilgrims sat at the foot of the table with only 13 points from 21 games.
Rangers made a solitary change from the side that was victorious down at Home Park only a few days previous with debutante Mick McGovern making way for former Chelsea man Alan Wilkes.
The hosts were straight out of blocks in a bid to blow away their desperate opposition, and within a couple of minutes had their just reward for persistent early pressure.
Ian Morgan`s trickery down the flank bought him some space and he carved out a cross for the mercurial Rodney Marsh who sidefooted home with aplomb after only two minutes of the fixture.
Brian Clough`s former strike partner Alan Peacock was showing well for Argyle up front and only the alert defending of Bobby Keetch stopped the former England international from levelling matters.
Moments later however Plymouth Argyle stunned the Loftus Road crowd by drawing level and it was a rare mistake from stopper Phil Parkes that led to the goal.
A cross from the left by Harrison was weakly parried by Parkes and allowed forward Mike Bickle to volley home an equaliser. A leveller perhaps not deserved on the balance of play, but in terms of effort and endeavour the visitors were more than a match for Rangers.
After what was described as an ‘explosive start` the game wore into the second period with the scores still level, that was until a moment of class from Rodney Marsh re-asserted Rangers hold on the fixture.
Dave Clement`s persistence down the right flank saw him carve out a cross for Marsh who plucked the ball out of the air in expert fashion before sweeping his effort past former Manchester United goalkeeper Pat Dunne.
Rangers extended their lead shortly after as skipper Mike Keen sent crashed a pin-point free kick into the top corner to make it 3-1.
Pat Dunne was in outstanding form to deny several Rangers chances throughout the second period with the hosts creating chances at will and carving open a struggling Plymouth rearguard.
The rout was complete with three minutes remaining as Mike Keen completed his brace with a thumping header from close range. Plymouth were grateful to hear the final whistle at Loftus Road as they had been soundly beaten beyond what the scoreline suggested.
Predictably enough Plymouth were relegated to the third tier as the division`s basement side. The 27 points they had accumulated was a full eight points less than 20th placed Preston North End.
Rangers by comparison achieved a deserved promotion to Division One for the first time in the club`s history. They finished runners up to Ipswich Town and edged out third place Blackpool on goal average.
Final Score: Queens Park Rangers 4-1 Plymouth Argyle
Queens Park Rangers: Springett, Clement, Harris, Keen, Keetch, Hazell, Morgan I., Sanderson, Wilks, Marsh, Morgan R.