Team: Parkes, Clement, Gillard, Masson, McLintock, Webb, Thomas, Francis, Beck, Bowles, Givens.
John Hollins captained the opposition and Ray Wilkins also played. Ken Jones’s match report appeared in the Sunday Mirror the following day:
‘Dave Sexton was delighted, but he wouldn’t let it show. Gloating is not his style. “I was nervous,” he admitted, as though embarrassed by the completeness of his comeback. Sacked by Chelsea three months ago, his return to Stamford Bridge as manager of Queen’s Park Rangers had turned out to be a triumph. “I was like a player going back to face a club who gave him a free transfer,” he said. “There was something to prove.”
The proof came with the sudden excellence of Rangers football in the second half. They scored three times and left Chelsea’s defence in ruins. But not before referee Bob Matthewson had been stretched to the limits of his patience by the seamier side of British football. “The worst referee we have had this season,” muttered someone in Chelsea’s tea room at half-time. It was a common complaint. The criticism ignored a constant flow of fouls and bickering back-chat. Mr Matthewson wasn’t always right. Referees rarely are. You take the good with the bad which is what the players were not prepared to do. “Cool it,” instructed both managers at half-time.
Cool it they did, but not before referee Matthewson had rightly booked Clement and Francis of Rangers and Chelsea’s Droy and Harris. By then, Parkes had kept Rangers going with a collection of outstanding saves as Chelsea surged forward with a wicked wind at their backs. Kember, Garland and Wilkins will all support Chelsea manager Ron Suart’s opinion that Parkes, on his day, is as good as there is. Losing Hutchinson with a back strain didn’t help Chelsea’s cause and with Kember at half speed they were suddenly there to be taken.
The damage was done on the floor by lively, intelligent running at the heart of a leaden-footed defence. But first it was Francis with a shot from nowhere in the fiftieth minute who sickened Chelsea. He found the top far corner of Phillips’ goal with an angled twenty-five yarder. A linesman’s flag delayed the jubilation, but only for a second or two. Referee Matthewson knew a good thing when he saw it. Within two minutes, Givens flat-footed Hay and the cumbersome Droy to strike Beck’s pass low and left-footed for the second.
He was six inches away from another barely a minute later. But it was Givens who got the third, running Bowles’s fine pass beyond Phillips to squeeze a shot through the legs of three defenders. “A game of two halves, “said Chelsea manager Suart. The right one belonged to Sexton. Man of the Match: Phil Parkes.
The back of the Press photo reads: ‘Ron Harris (Chelsea) receives treatment after being brought down by Gerry Francis of QPR (holding nose on left) who was booked for the incident. Stan Bowles takes advantage of the opportunity and sits on the ball for a breather’.
Martin Percival passed on the following quote from Stan Bowles that he found in an interview in ‘Street Life’ from May 1976. When asked about Ron Harris, he replied: “Yes, I must give him a mention. We’ve played Chelsea ten times and he’s been booked every time for tackles on me.” It was also very lively off the pitch, inside and outside the ground, but the R’s recorded an historic victory that day over our rivals who were also relegated that season.