Team: Parkes, Clement, Gillard, Venables (Busby), Mancini, McLintock, Thomas, Francis, Leach, Bowles, Givens
Rangers took on Derby County at Loftus Road on 30th March 1974. John Oakley wrote the following match report for the ‘Evening News’:
‘Queen’s Park Rangers and Derby, both with their eyes on Europe, failed to produce the good football expected of them at Loftus Road this afternoon.
Too many petty fouls spoiled the game, though Derby were by far the worst offenders.
Derby were without Roy McFarland who injured a thigh in training yesterday and is doubtful for England’s match with Portugal in Lisbon on Wednesday.
Play was fairly even in the early stages, but Gerry Francis looked to have a chance when clean through in the seventh minute. But, unfortunately for Rangers, the referee had already blown for an earlier infringement.
Frank McLintock made a good interception to rob Kevin Hector after the Derby player had raced past two men.
In the 19th minute, Peter Daniel was lectured by the referee after bringing down Stan Bowles, and three minutes later Bowles and Jeff Bourne threw punches at each other in another flare-up. They were lucky to escape being cautioned.
Tempers became heated and referee Bill Gow spoke to Francis after he had accidently struck David Nish in the face.
Rangers began to increase the pressure and Terry Venables, from just outside the box, shot wide with a first-time drive.
Daniel cleared as Mick Leach tried to bustle through and then Dave Thomas shot into the side netting from close range.
Roger Davies headed over the top, following a Derby corner, but Rangers were still looking the better side.
Colin Boulton made a top-class save from Bowles after good work by Don Givens and three minutes from the interval Rangers should have scored.
Venables lobbed a free kick just outside the box over the Derby wall and Francis ran through to jab the ball past Boulton, but also inches wide of a post.
Dave Clement had a shot turned aside by Boulton five minutes after half-time and Leach headed a corner over as Rangers attacked early in the second-half.
Derby, however, missed a glorious opportunity after 53 minutes when Nish raced clear into the box, but Phil Parkes, coming out, made a magnificent save.
Parkes also had to dive to save a shot from Davies, but the Derby man failed to get his power behind it.
Then, with Rangers pressing hard, Leach missed an open goal, when, following magical footwork by Bowles, he headed wide.
But, though Rangers continued to attack, they rarely troubled Boulton because of the good cover of the Derby back-four.’
It was reported elsewhere that Dave Sexton, for once, refused to talk about the game. The following week the R’s lost 1-2 at Anfield.