QPR (1) – West Bromwich Albion (0) – ‘Rangers Needed Only Two Minutes & 20 Seconds to Take the Lead’

Team: Parkes, Clement, Gillard, Hollins, McLintock, Webb, Thomas, Leach, Masson, Bowles, Givens

Sub: Eastoe

Attendance: 18,876

On 4th September 1976, Rangers took on West Bromwich Albion at Loftus Road. John Pyke wrote the following match report:

‘The mechanism may still be a little rusty, but the good news is that Rangers are back on the right rails again.

It was a smiling Rangers manager Dave Sexton who said after their first League victory of the season: “I am delighted to get off the ground with a win. We needed a second goal to play more relaxed Soccer, but Albion brought the ball through well from defence and made it hard for us.”

Rangers needed only two minutes and 20 seconds to take the lead. From a Dave Thomas corner, Ian Gillard got a touch with his head to score after Albion keeper John Osborne had missed the ball.

As Sexton jokingly said: “Ian’s been trying for a year to get a touch like that, so on the law of averages one had to go in.”

But if Rangers had taken all their chances, the score-line would have given a truer story of the match. Stan Bowles carved out chances for Don Givens and Dave Thomas only to see them shoot wide or over the bar.

The Rangers masterstroke was priming Don Masson to blot out Johnny Giles. And what a tremendous job Masson did. Wherever Giles went, Masson was there.

And Masson nearly got on the scoresheet himself with a fierce drive that was only just over the bar.

Another Rangers star was David Webb, working overtime in the Rangers defence whenever Albion looked dangerous. Webb saved a certain goal in the first-half when Willie Johnston, having foxed Frank McLintock, found Webb anticipating the danger and clearing the ball.

Webb was a little unlucky to be booked for a foul in the second-half, a fate shared by colleague Don Givens and Albion’s Willie Johnston, following a clash before the interval.’

Rangers followed this up with a 2-1 home win over Aston Villa.

Steve Russell