RANGERS hosted Watford as they looked to gain ground on the leading pack in the Second Division
Teams: Queens Park Rangers v Watford
Date: Saturday 25th September, 1971.
Competition: Football League Division Two.
Venue: Loftus Road, London.
Seventh placed Rangers came into the fixture in W12 off the back of only one defeat in six games – the defeat away to Burnley. Other than that Rangers were well poised in the early stages of the league with victories against Preston North End, local rivals Fulham, and more recently Birmingham City in the second round of the League Cup.
Watford had a relatively poor beginning to the 1971/72 campaign losing all three games away from Vicarage Road – all without reply. Charlton Athletic and Carlisle United hit two goals, with Fulham getting three against the Hornets on the opening day of the season.
Gordon Jago`s men entertained 18th placed Watford and hoped to pick up all three points to keep them intact with promotion pack, and but for Hornets defender David Butler the R`s may have found it tough going.
Two penalty decisions went Rangers` way after David Butler felled R`s forward Rodney Marsh twice in the box to give the R`s a comfortable two goal lead. But it was the decision that referee Edward Jolly didn`t give that became a talking point.
Butler was on for his hatrick of penalty decisions when he deliberately palmed an Andy McCulloch`s effort onto the bar, something that Mr Jolly didn`t spot. Numerous efforts from Frank Saul and Gerry Francis were kept at bay by Mark Walker – who went on to manage Everton and Norwich City.
However the game was sewn up with Andy McCulloch`s strike putting the game to bed. Watford boss George Kirby was left fuming with the penalty decisions.
He said: “Marsh dived, he will get 15 penalties this season at this rate!”
While QPR manager Gordon Jago remained unconvinced at his side`s display, despite the convincing win.
He said: “We`re missing too many chances and we`re getting desperate at times.”
Watford finished the campaign unsurprisingly at the foot of the Division Two table as George Kirby eventually made way for Rangers League Cup winning captain Mike Keen to take over at Vicarage Road. Nineteen points was all that the Hornets could achieve, fully 15 points from safety.
Rangers by contrast finished off the season in positive fashion, ending the season in fourth place, only two points behind second placed Birmingham City and three points off winners Norwich City.
Final Score: Queens Park Rangers 3-0 Watford
QPR: Parkes, Clement, Gillard, Venables, Hunt, Hazell, Busby (Morgan 80), Francis, McCulloch, Marsh, Saul.
Watford: Walker, Butler, Williams, Welbourne, Lees, Walley, McGettigan, Eddy, Wigg, Lindsay, Woods (Franks 70).
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Penton Ref`s Watford Clash.
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Paulo Sousa – Post Match.