Gillingham (0) – QPR (1) – ‘When, after 70 Minutes, they Scored when Balogun found Left-Winger Kerrins Unmarked’

Team: Springett, Woods, Ingham, Petchey, Rutter, Andrews, Hellawell, Longbottom, Balogan, Cameron, Kerrins

Attendance: 7,581

Prior to QPR’s trip to Gillingham on 9th March 1957, the following match preview appeared in the Hammersmith & Shepherd’s Bush Gazette:

‘With the return of inside-right Arthur Longbottom after his recent short bout of flu, Queen’s Park Rangers will be at full strength to meet Gillingham away in tomorrow’s Third Division (South) fixture.

Gillingham showed their best form early in the season but have fallen off over the past few weeks.

The Rangers, however, are playing better than ever and their away form has shown considerable improvement even over the past month. 

The Shepherd’s Bush boys have won at Norwich, Southampton and Watford in succession and look stronger all-round than the Kent side.

The return of Longbottom will strengthen the forward line, for the inside-right and his winger, Mike Hellawell, have formed a good working partnership. 

Tesi Balogun, too, is playing strongly now the grounds are less heavy and his remarkable footwork and ball control should give the Gillingham defenders plenty to worry about….’

The following match report later appeared in the West London Observer:

‘Queen’s Park Rangers – of all people – showed Gillingham the way to snap-up chances. Some measure of the outstanding improvement in form shown by the Shepherd’s Bush team this season. 

At Gillingham on Saturday, play was fairly even, both goalkeepers having plenty to do against alert and quick-shooting attacks. Twice in the opening stages Tesi Balogun and Mike Hellawell brought the best out of goalkeeperFreddie Kingshott.

When Gillingham replied, Rangers had an extremely closecall when Ron Springett dropped the ball, but he recovered to clear. Two more shots went close to the Rangers’ goal before they relieved pressure and forced a corner at the other end. 

Gillingham ended the first-half strongly and, after Crossanhad hit the bar, Lucas shot wide from the rebound. This was just one of many opportunities that might have been seized with more accurate finishing.

It was left to Rangers to do the necessary when, after 70 minutes, they scored when Balogun found left-winger Kerrinsunmarked. 

Spurred by this goal, Rangers had most of the play and kept the ball mainly in the Gillingham half. Bobby Cameron was a skilful and artful schemer.’

The following Saturday the R’s went down 0-2 at Loftus Road to Ipswich Town.

Steve Russell

(Thanks to Colin Woodley for sending me both newspaper articles. The programme is from my collection)