QPR (3) – Tottenham Hotspur (1) – ‘Francis Clincher – His Header Sinks Spurs as Rangers March On’

(Former) League Division 0ne

Team: Parkes, Clement, Gillard, Abbott, Mancini, McLintock, Thomas, Francis, Leach, Bowles, Givens

Sub: Hazell

Attendance: 25,775

Visiting Loftus Road on 2nd March 1974 were Tottenham Hotspur and John Oakley wrote the following match report:

‘Queen’s Park Rangers proved beyond doubt that they are London’s top side with an outstanding attacking display against Tottenham at Loftus Road this afternoon.

In a thrill-packed game, Don Givens, Stan Bowles and a limping Gerry Francis scored brilliant goals while Spurs could only reply with a disputed penalty from Martin Chivers. 

Spurs badly missed centre-half Mike England for their defence was so open that Rangers might easily have doubled their score in a one-sided second-half. 

Few teams had put so much entertainment into a single half as Tottenham and Rangers during the opening 45 minutes. Both were prepared to play open football and incidents came thick and fast.

After only six minutes, Dave Thomas might have put Rangers ahead following an inter-passing movement with Stan Bowles, but the former Burnley player fired wide from close-range. 

Tottenham made most of the early running and Mike Dillon, brought into the Spurs defence in place of Mike England, headed narrowly over the top following a free kick by John Pratt. 

Steve Perryman, rebuked by the referee for an over-robust foul on Mike Leach, had a fierce shot blocked by Gerry Francis before Rangers took the lead, rather against the run of play, in the 21st minute.

Stan Bowles pushed the ball through to Don Givens, who from just inside the box, evaded a tackle and drove the ball past Pat Jennings with a rasping shot.

Pratt, working hard, blasted over the bar and Perryman forced Phil Parks to make a diving save as Spurs fought back with spirited raids. 

Ten minutes before the interval, however, Tottenham were fortunate when the referee awarded a free kick right on the edge of the box when Jennings had tripped Thomas, who had raced clear from a flick by Givens. Rangers appealed for a penalty, but the referee refused to take notice.

Then, Terry Mancini headed against the Tottenham crossbar, following a corner from Dave Thomas, before Tottenham equalised in the 42nd minute.

Ray Evans was inside the Rangers box when he was pulled back from behind by Dave Thomas and to the dismay of the home crowd Spurs were awarded a penalty. Martin Chiversmade no mistake from the spot.

Within a minute Rangers went ahead again when, after Francis had put the ball into the middle of a packed Tottenham goalmouth, Bowles made room for himself and scored with a fierce shot from 12 yards.

Tony Hazell came on as Rangers’ substitute for Ron Abbott in the second-half and the team were shuffled with Dave Clement moving into midfield and Gerry Francis going upfront. 

As the game went on, Rangers began to dominate and Givens, left with only Jennings to beat, shot wildly over the bar in the 55th minute. 

Perryman was again spoken to by the referee after he had kicked Bowles from behind and, following the incident, trouble broke out in the crowd. 

Francis was limping badly, legacy of a heavy tackle earlier in the game, but was still highly dangerous. 

After 78 minutes Francis was through with only Jennings to beat, but lost his chance when he dribbled too wide, trying to evade the goalkeeper.

Sixty seconds later, Alan Gilzean went on as Tottenham’s substitute for Ralph Coates.

Rangers made the game safe after 82 minutes when Gerry Francis headed a magnificent goal from a cross by Dave Thomas.’

Coming up the following Saturday at Loftus Road was the FA Cup 6th Round tie against Leicester City.

Steve Russell