Team: Brzozowski, Springer-Downes, Barzey, Klass, Eales, Fox, Alfa, Folkes, Eshun, Akinola, Bowler
When news filtered through that an R’s side were scheduled to take on Ware, I decided to email Stephen King at the club. He soon replied and went on to inform me that QPR had played them once before on 27th December 1948.
The Rangers ‘A’ side had gone down 2-6 on that occasion and he kindly sent me a scan of what must be an extremely rare programme. Stephen also mentioned that the Morgan twins, Ian and Roger, had played a few games for them during the 1976/77 season.
Also playing that afternoon were the U21’s, who were taking on Enfield, but I had already decided to make my first trip to Wodson Park.
The two and a half hour journey took me via Liverpool Street and then on to the Hertford East Branch Line, to Ware Station. The one and a half mile walk from the station to the ground took me about 24 minutes.
Dago Dave soon walked into the bar, who was later followed by Roger Stokes and Sammy. Stephen King managed to track me down and it was good to meet him and also to view the original of that rare 1948 programme.
One of the three substitute trialists noted on the team sheet was apparently previously with Brentford.
On a very hot afternoon, the home side certainly started the stronger. A Blues player was put through on goal to face Marcin Brzozowski. The R’s keeper managed to palm the ball successfully round the post. The corner was then headed over the crossbar.
Ware continued to create good chances and the Rangers custodian did well again to push the ball clear when the Blues player was clear through.
A loose ball should have been cleared by the QPR defence, but a Ware player was able to blaze the ball just over the bar.
Following this early pressure, Rangers eventually began to get into the game and Rhys Springer-Downes set off on a good run down the right-wing, which resulted in a foul. The free kick was played short and ended up evading the post.
However, it was no surprise when the home side took the lead. The ball was knocked over and the Blues player managed to toe-poke the ball on the volley.
A second goal looked likely as Ware attacked with pace and it should have come from a free header but it was aimed straight at Brzozowski. I have to say that much of the R’s passing was far too sloppy, coupled with too many long, hopeful balls!
Around the half-hour mark, Rangers did create a very good opportunity when the ball was put across the face of the goal, but Josh Bowler blasted the ball over the bar from close range. The players then took what must have been, a very welcome drinks break.
QPR finished the latter part of the half with a bit of a flourish. The Ware keeper made outstanding double saves from close range to deny the R’s an equaliser.
Then, Ody Alfa was fouled after going on a good weaving run down the right-flank, but Josh Bowler’s free kick came to nothing unfortunately. Half-time: 0-1.
I met up with Stephen King once again during the break and he kindly invited me into the Board Room for some refreshment.
The home side doubled their lead after 54 minutes. Brian Haule turned in the box and placed his shot wide of the R’s keeper.
Josh Bowler did well to win a corner – the ball was eventually played back, and then headed into the box, but the final effort was directed straight at the keeper.
Ware scored a third after around 65 minutes following Alaa Oujdi’s run through the Rangers defence. His cross to an unmarked Gareth Price was finished off from close range. The home side had also hit the post with a header from a corner.
Rangers improved in the last 20 minutes or so, creating a number of opportunities and gaining the bulk of the possession.
With around five minutes remaining, QPR’s best player, Josh Bowler, cut in from the left-wing and was fouled just as he entered the box. He then stepped up to place the spot-kick in the corner of the net.
Then, one of the Rangers subs unleashed a powerful shot, which was well saved by the Ware keeper.
Final score 1-3, which I have to say, the home side deserved.