RANGERS’ season was petering out to its conclusion as Port Vale came to Loftus Road
Rangers’ season was petering out to its conclusion as Port Vale came to Loftus Road
Teams: Queens Park Rangers v Port Vale
Date: Saturday April 18, 1964
Competition: Football League Third Division
Venue: Loftus Road, London.
Vale and QPR were sat relatively side by side in the Third Division, no chance of promotion and little prospect of relegation given the poor form of basement sides Wrexham, Notts County and Crewe Alexandra.
Rangers themselves were going through a period of transition with Tony Ingham opting to retire after a making over 500 appearances for the club, while the John Bloom take-over thankfully fell through given his washing machine company, Rolls, going into receivership.
On the field matters were not looking as prosperous, as the hosts were on course for their worst finish in the Third Division since the division formed in 1958. Losing 6-3 at home to eventual champions Coventry City was a low point in what was a mediocre season.
Port Vale – under the guidance of Freddie Steele – were also underachieving given their previous exploits, with the Valiants finishing in third in 1963. They took a gamble by signing Albert Cheesebrough, an England U23 forward, for £15k, and another £15k was spent on Everton’s Billy Bingham.
Unfortunately the gambit had not paid off despite a useful early showing from Steele’s side. A steady decline over the course of the season saw them come into the game in 18th place, a way off the likes of Coventry and Crystal Palace at the summit.
The R’s came into the game with four wins from the last six – Reading and Wrexham beaten twice, while Port Vale had the better of QPR at Vale Park (2-0) and league leaders Coventry dismantled Rangers at Highfield Road (2-4).
Vale – while under-performing – had come into a mini-revival being undefeated in their previous eight games. This included wins over Millwall (1-0), Colchester United (2-1) and Hull City (1-0) as they looked to finish the season with a flurry.
An unchanged QPR line-up faced from the victory over Reading came into the game and hit the ground running to secure a comfortable victory. Brian Bedford netted his 19th and 20th goals of the season past ‘keeper Ken Hancock South African Stuart Leary netted the clincher.
Three draws and a victory later and Rangers had finished the season undefeated and in relatively good shape heading into the new campaign under Alec Stock. 35 points saw them finish 16th with Vale one point and two places above them in the table.
Final Score: Queens Park Rangers 3-0 Port Vale
Queens Park Rangers: Springett, Brady, P., Angel, Malcolm, Brady, R., Keen, Vafiadis, Bedford, Leary, Collins, McLeod.
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