RANGERS were underperforming as they hosted an improving Sheffield United at Loftus Road.
Teams: Queens Park Rangers v Sheffield United
Date: Saturday December 14, 1974.
Competition: Football League Division One.
Venue: Loftus Road, London
See Also: Sheffield United 1-2 QPR – 30-01-93.
Rangers were sinking fast in the top flight after a mid-season revival had seen them clear of the drop zone. The R`s had lost three successive fixtures including a disappointing home defeat against high-flying West Ham United.
Defeats at Turf Moor and the Victoria Ground had see the R`s slump to 17th place in the first division, a far cry from their eighth placed finish the season previous.
Manager Ken Furphy had recently celebrated a year in charge for the Blades but the occasion was soured by back to back defeats against Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur. The boss who took over from John Harris had seen his side unbeaten in four games prior to the City defeat, but now United had only one win in four.
Dave Sexton made three changes from the side that were defeated up in Burnley the previous Saturday. Making way were Don Shanks, Dave Thomas and Stan Bowles and in their stead were Don Masson, Don Rodgers and John Beck.
The Blades, skippered by Tony Currie could call upon a strong side for their visit to W12. Classy winger Alan Woodward started out on the right flank, with forward Bill Dearden pursuing a lone role with Currie in close attention.
The visitors started the stronger with Tony Currie orchestrating proceedings from the middle, with ample width provided by the aforementioned Woodward and live-wire winger Tony Field – a bargain buy from Blackburn Rovers.
Keith Eddy was dominant in defence alongside Eddie Colquhoun as Rangers struggled to make any kind of telling impact on the game.
After being on the back foot for the majority of the first half Phil Parkes was proving himself as one of the country`s top stoppers. He pulled off numerous quality saves to deny the Blades and notably Alan Woodward.
The telling moment in the fixture came in the 72nd minute as QPR took a lead against the run of play. A gift from Len Badger handed Don Rodgers a chance to improve his goalscoring record, and he duly obliged slotting past Jim Brown.
It proved to be the only goal of the game as the R`s could thank Phil Parkes and a glaring Blades error for their victory over a resurgent visiting outfit in W12.
Sheffield United proved that they had the staying power in the top flight as Furphy guided them to a sixth placed finish. They embarked on a run of one defeat in 12 to guide them to their lofty perch in the first division.
Rangers by comparison stemmed the tide of their poor record bagging three wins on the spin subsequent to this fixture. However only one win in seven at home to Wolverhampton Wanderers was the best they could muster in the closing stages as they rounded off the campaign in 11th place.
Final Score: Queens Park Rangers 1-0 Sheffield United
Queens Park Rangers: Parkes, Clement, Gillard, Masson, McLintock, Webb, Rodgers, Francis, Leach, Beck, Givens.
Sheffield United: Brown, Badger, Hemsley, Eddy, Colquhoun, Franks, Woodward, Bradford, Dearden, Currie, Field.
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