The 2-2 Draw with Bristol City in 1978

Team: Parkes, Clement, Gillard, Hollins, Howe, Abbott, Shanks, Busby, James, Bowles, Givens

Sub Not Used: Cunningham

Attendance: 17,051

Rangers sitting third from bottom, one point behind West Ham, took on Bristol City at Loftus Road on 25th February 1978. Laurie Mumford wrote the following match report:

‘Stan Bowles was rewarded for his masterly control in midfield with his fifth goal of the season for Queen’s Park Rangers against Bristol City at Loftus Road this afternoon.

But three goals came quickly in a rousing second-half. Martyn Busby shot Rangers second but City replied through Gerry Gow and Gerry Sweeney.
City were quick to give positive evidence of recent improvement, working a clear chance for Joe Royle in the first minute. But Royle completely missed his kick from Tom Richie’s square pass inside. Richie following up, was only checked by Phil Parkes diving at his feet.

Martyn Busby tried to work the ball into the City box but was crowded out before Rangers took the lead from a harsh penalty decision after 17 minutes.

Shanks was put through by a neat reverse pass from James and was about to shoot when he fell, more through a slip than the challenge of Geoff Merrick, which referee Malcolm Sinclair ruled unfair.

Bowles ballooned the spot-kick high over the bar but Shaw had moved and it had to be re-taken. Bowles rammed the second attempt low into the corner.

This setback did nothing to quell City’s adventurous attacking ideas although the Rangers’ shield in front of Parkes now looked better organised. When Parkes was beaten by Gow, Ron Abbott hooked the ball off the line.

Ian Gillard was booked for a heavy tackle on Whitehead as City continued with a build-up now too square and intricate to cause serious problems.

Nothing went right for City, Gow hit the underside of the bar with a great shot before Rangers went further ahead when Stan Bowles found Busby, who beat Shaw from 10 yards.

Justice was done three minutes later, when from Royle’s cross, Gow worked a one-two on the right with Gerry Sweeney and slotted the ball past Phil Parkes.

Six minutes later City were level when Sweeney hooked the ball in from close range from a Royle back-header.’

Elsewhere it was reported that the police had searched a number of City fans after Phil Parkes had complained about objects being thrown at him.

Manager Frank Sibley said after the game: “I was not very happy with our display although we took a lucky lead. We never played for the rest of the game and panicked. We were fortunate to come out of it with a point.”

Next up, just two days later, was the FA Cup 5th Round replay at Nottingham Forest. A special train was chartered from St. Pancras, the fare was £3.50.

Steve Russell