RANGERS travelled to high-flying Sheffield United as they looked to rekindle some form in the Second Division promotion race.
Rangers travelled to high-flying Sheffield United as they looked to rekindle some form in the Second Division promotion race.
Teams: Sheffield United v Queens Park Rangers
Date: Saturday November 14, 1970
Competition: Football League Second Division
Venue: Bramall Lane, Sheffield
Upheaval and changes were occurring at Loftus Road as the triumphant League Cup side continued to break up as the managers came and went.
In a short space of time Alec Stock was replaced by Tommy Docherty, before his brief tenure came to its conclusion after 28 days. Les Allen was charged with leading Rangers back to the top flight.
The Rangers player/manager got off to an indifferent start to the season winning only one of their opening six games, but three wins on the spin in October helped revive their now slim promotion hopes.
Prior to the fixture with the Blades, Rangers’ victories over Birmingham City (5-2), Oxford United (3-1) and Portsmouth (2-0) were wiped out by disappointing defeats away to Millwall (0-3) and at home to Cardiff City (0-1).
Rangers’ poor start could be traced to Rodney Marsh’s lack of goals early on and his turn in form sparked the trio of positive results – he indeed would be a key player as the R’s travelled to Bramall Lane.
After the season got off to a similarly indifferent start, Sheffield United had picked up dramatically in a bid to build on a stunning sixth-placed finish last time out.
Undefeated in 14 games the Blades were looking good for another lofty finish in the top flight under John Harris. Impressive results included away at Portsmouth (5-1) and local bragging rights against Sheffield Wednesday with a 3-2 win at Bramall Lane.
Rangers made one change from the side that were defeated at home by Cardiff, with Frank Saul dropping out and Mike Ferguson coming in for his 12th start of the season.
For the visitors striker Bill Dearden once again lead the line with Tony Currie looking to pull the strings from midfield for the hosts who sat in fourth place in the First Division.
From the first whistle it became apparent that the hosts would look to assert their credentials – with Phil Parkes forced into some smart saves to deny the Blades.
Central to the fixture was referee John Yates who caused controversy with a string of bookings and indeed a free-kick from which the visitors snatched the lead.
The flighted set-piece was well headed by defender Ron Hunt and beat England international Alan Hodgkinson all ends up to hand Rangers the advantage.
The visitors were defending valiantly with Parkes thwarting the Blades on numerous occasions, while Hunt and Tony Hazell were stout at the centre of defence.
The 19,000 plus crowd was stunned into silence, but their relentless onslaught continued on the Rangers goal. Bill Dearden and his partner John Tudor were endeavouring to equalise and it came not long after with the latter notching the leveller.
As the game progressed it became apparent that United were the force as Rangers clung on to their point – a corner in the latter stages was nodded away as far as Colin Addison.
The midfielder struck a powerful effort beyond Phil Parkes, only to be denied by referee Yates – who had blown his whistle seconds prior to the shot. It caused controversy among supporters who heckled the official from the field.
Rangers however could look to a hard-fought point in which they had rediscovered their plucky endeavour that had seen them through to successive promotions previously.
Les Allen made way after a string of disappointing results after lasting just over a year with Gordon Jago taking over after a spell in America.
The former Charlton man had a brief tenure in charge of the United States national side before taking the helm at Loftus Road midway through the season.
His demise could point to a nine-game winless run saw Allen leave the club in January 1971 and head for Swindon. Jago had an immediate impact on his R’s side as the defence started to stabilise.
Jago guided Rangers to an 11th placed finish, something that no-one could foresee given their form in the early stages.
The nucleus of a good team was being built by Jago whose QPR side reaped their rewards in the latter half of the season. They took their momentum into the following campaigns finishing fourth, then second as they climbed back to the top flight.
United by comparison continued to fly high throughout the season and finished a creditable second place behind Champions Leicester City, achieving promotion to the top flight.
Final Score: Sheffield United 1-1 Queens Park Rangers
Sheffield United: Hodgkinson, Badger, Hemsley, Powell, Colquhoun, Addison, Woodward, Tudor, Dearden, Currie, Salmons.
Queens Park Rangers: Parkes, Hazell, Harris, Clement, Hunt, Busby, Francis, Venables, Leach, Marsh Ferguson.
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