A CONFIDENT Queens Park Rangers side hosted rock-bottom Sheffield United as they looked to continue their fine run of form.
A confident Queens Park Rangers side hosted rock-bottom Sheffield United as they looked to continue their fine run of form.
Teams: Queens Park Rangers v Sheffield United
Date: Saturday October 25, 1975
Competition: Football League First Division
Venue: Loftus Road, London
Rangers entered into what was hoped to be one of the more prosperous in their history, with manager Dave Sexton looking to take the R’s to new heights.
Pre-season victories over German and Portuguese Champions, Borussia Mönchengladbach and Benfica respectively, sparked hope that it could be a big season for Rangers.
This was then highlighted by an opening day victory over previous runners-up Liverpool – the first Rangers victory over the Reds in their history of meetings.
By comparison the Blades could look to a new South Stand and a new manager with former Notts County boss Jimmy Sirrell taking the helm from Ken Furphy after a poor start to the season.
Rangers had only been defeated twice in their opening 13 games, giving supporters hope that an improvement on last season’s 11th placed finish was a realistic possibility.
A thumping away win over the previous season’s Champions, Derby County (5-1), was matched only by the home humbling of Merseyside giants Liverpool (2-0) and Everton (5-0).
Compare this then to the horrific record of Sheffield United, with the Blades only winning once in their 13 tests, a slender home win over Burnley (2-1) as they sat rock-bottom of the First Division.
Rangers made one change from the side that were defeated by the odd goal at Burnley, with John Hollins replaced by Frank McLintock at the heart of defence alongside Dave Webb.
The Blades were skippered by Keith Eddy, the defender brought to Bramall Lane by former boss Ken Furphy for £50,000.
Also among their ranks were Steve Gammack and Chris Guthrie, with England international Tony Currie attempting to pull the strings in midfield for the Blades.
Sheffield United were not going to be easy to defeat at Loftus Road, as their early showing quickly proved. The Blades were intent on proving their top-flight credentials and stifle the creative hosts.
Rangers saw the vast majority of the ball throughout the fixture but it took a moment of sublime interplay to break the deadlock against the dogged visitors.
England skipper Gerry Francis played the ball into the feet of Stan Bowles, before bursting 60 yards to take the return pass.
After receiving the ball on the by-line he centred to the waiting Don Givens, who in turn directed his header past replacement goalkeeper Tom McAlister.
In truth it was only a matter of time as the hosts asserted their continual dominance on proceedings with United content in their efforts to stop Rangers’ creative flow.
Rangers weren’t quite looking the finished article until they hit an outstanding run of form winning 23 out of 24 points between January and April, with the Blades the only side to pick up a point in an outstanding 12 game run.
Eventually however their coveted title slipped from their grasp against Norwich City, where despite dominating Rangers were condemned to their seventh defeat of the season, with Liverpool sewing up the title.
United by comparison were dumped out of the top flight with 22 points, finishing rock-bottom of the First Division despite a flurry of wins towards the end of the campaign.
Final Score: Queens Park Rangers 1-0 Sheffield United
Queens Park Rangers: Parkes, Clement, Gillard, Leach, McLintock, Webb, Thomas, Francis, Masson, Bowles, Givens.
Sheffield United: McAlister, Badger, Hemsley, Eddy, Colquhoun, Franks, Woodward, Calvert, Guthrie, Currie, Dearden.
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