Team: Springett, Clement, Harris, Keen, Hunt, Hazell, Lazarus, Morgan (I), Sanderson, Leach, Morgan (R)
I had witnessed the 3-1 win at Rotherham a few days earlier and this was soon followed by a superb win under lights against Aston Villa. A bumper crowd of over 20,000 turned out and generated a great atmosphere which continued up the South Africa Road after the game. Brian James wrote the following match report:
‘Aston Villa, the most honoured club in English football history, were trampled to defeat last night by the side least likely to be impressed by present power. Queen’s Park Rangers who have hustled to the top of Division 2, won in a canter, which for a team so practised at doing everything faster than anyone else, is their equivalent of standstill soccer.
Rangers have not been beaten at home since last November and their many victories away include lifting the League Cup at Wembley last spring.
They have this tremendous recent record and clearly the ability to stretch it much further yet. How do they do it? Pace is clearly important. Skill, too, plays an often under-estimated part: few teams in my experience could equal the timing and accuracy of their bursts of one-touch passing.
But, above all, they have a boundless confidence that would be an impertinence were it not so clearly well-founded. How else could they bring in five new players to complete an injury-hit first team and still reel off five victories in six games in this most difficult of divisions?
Part-timer Sanderson, having his first full game of the season, scored two superb goals within five minutes. The first, from a pass by Keen, was rapped home from the edge of the area. The second, from a prod forward by Leach, was hit as he fell, high into the roof of the net on Withers’ left.
Sanderson also made the third goal at the start of the second-half. A vague movement out of the Villa defence was halted by his interception, and a pass struck with swift insight gave Lazarus a simple goal.
Villa, having suffered a sharp disappointment when Stobbart’s first effort was cleared from the line by Harris, were never into the rhythm of this breathless game.
In defence experienced men like Sleeuwenhoek and Chatterley never grew accustomed to streams of curved centres, each pursued by a lone Ranger who hunted the ball as though it was some holy relic.
In midfield, Villa never grew used to the few blatant Rangers’ mistakes being remedied before the slightest advantage could be taken.
Some time, perhaps soon, if injuries continue to multiply, Rangers must lose. But the team that tames them must equal their pace, match their skill and persistence and somehow find an arrogance to undermine this confidence’.
A Villa fan was reported as remarking to a club official after the game that Rangers were to be one of the most promising sides he had seen in 40 years of watching all levels of football: “I’m disappointed Villa lost but we lost to a very fine team. We are suffering from the hang-over of relegation but we are far from being a bad side. Rangers can take a lot of credit from beating us.”
We went on to lose the following game of course, 0-1 at home to Derby County!
The programme noted that the latest issue of ‘Rangers Roar’ (No.3) was on sale and that the Club were anxious to hear the views of fans regarding what they felt should be done at Loftus Road ; accommodation, entertainment and publicity etc.