This was my first ever visit to Bodmin but the R’s had previously played there in 1989 to kick off their Centenary year. I don’t have the line-up but Gordon Macey informed me that before a good crowd of 2,119, Rangers won 2-1 with goals from Gray and Wright.
I took the 12.06 from Paddington and spent most of the journey talking to an ex-referee from Cornwall. The journey from Exeter and along the seawall through Dawlish and Teignmouth is still spectacular. Then there is the Royal Albert Bridge over the River Tamar which links Plymouth with Saltash and Devon with Cornwall. It was designed by Isambard Kingdom Brunel and completed in 1859. Although it’s been reinforced since then, it did creak a bit as we gently passed over. Alan Barnes boarded the train at Newton Abbot and although I didn’t see him until we got off at Bodmin Parkway, Mick Foran had got on at Plymouth.
The Station is 3.6 miles from the town so we took a cab to a pub that was recommended for us. Without going into too much detail, it turns out that all three of us had been born in Queen Charlotte’s, which was then in the Goldhawk Road of course and prompted us to raise our glasses ! After a few pints, Mick went for a stroll around the town whilst Alan and I made the short journey to Priory Park.
The club was formed in 1889 and their Ground comprises of mainly grass banking but there is the Dennison Memorial Stand which seats around 400 spectators. It sits in a natural bowl and they must lose a considerable amount of revenue each season because of the ground’s openness. The clubhouse opened its doors in 1985 and is situated behind the car park. Martin Rowlands was sitting at the back of the stand and the word was that he still has a way to go yet. The Swedish R’s were represented by Peter and Michael who had flown over to London that day and had hired a car to take in the matches at Bodmin, Torquay and Boreham Wood.
QPR starting X1: Kenny, Connolly, Gorkss, Hall, Leigertwood, Faurlin, Derry, Buzsaky, Ephraim, Helguson, Mackie.
With the rain pelting down, Rangers took the lead in under 5 minutes. Hogan Ephraim was the scorer from close range. The Bodmin keeper made a great save from Buzsaky’s header following a good cross from Hogan. After around 11 minutes, Mackie won control of the ball and a good finish made it number two. I only remember Paddy Kenny making one save in earnest and Rangers created numerous chances and it was surprising that at the half-time whistle the score remained at 2-0.
Neil Warnock made a host of changes after the interval at different stages by introducing Cerny, Borrowdale, Ramage, Stewart, Hall, German, Parker and Leigertwood even came back on again. With nearly 20 minutes gone, a cross put over by Hogan ended up in the back of the net courtesy of a Bodmin defender. The game went a bit flat as Bodmin defended in numbers with Rangers having most of the possession.
So with fitness levels becoming a key factor, there were three further goals in fairly quick succession. Antonio German scored from close range and then Josh Parker scored the best goal of the night when he burst through and belted the ball into the net from the edge of the box. There was still time for number six when Leigertwood set up Hogan, who rounded the keeper and put the ball away. The official attendance was given as 1,300 which again included a large R’s turnout. Alan Barnes met up with the same couple who had given him a lift back to Torquay on Monday and I got a cab back to the Station.
The Night Riviera train pulled in just a few minutes late and I have to say that although I declined on the sleeper compartment, the seats were very comfortable and I was able to stretch out. Refreshments were available for the duration and as I settled down again the train pulled into Plymouth and disembarking was someone wearing a pirate hat with a pirate flag stuck in his rucksack ! Totnes…Newton Abbot…Exeter St. Davids etc and finally terminating at Paddington at around 5.35am.