QPR (3) – Arsenal (2) – ‘It was Soon Evident that Our Lads were Bent on Winning’

Football League South

Team: Gregory, Rose, Abel, Forsyth, Ridyard, Attwell, Sibley, Daniels, Heathcote, Mallett, Darragon

Attendance: 10,000

On 6th January 1945, QPR took on Arsenal at Loftus Road. The Rangers side included four guest players, namely; Gregory, Forsyth, Attwell and Sibley. 

An appeal on behalf of the Red Cross Prisoners-of-War Fund was made in the match programme:

‘You are earnestly asked to be as generous as possible in your support for the collection being made today on behalf of the Red Cross Prisoners-of-War Fund.

As you know, two of our own players, Reg Allen and Johnny Barr, are prisoners-of-war and in letters to us they constantly praise the work of the Red Cross. So as a tribute to them, help us make this the biggest ever!’

And also included in Dave Mangnall’s programmes notes was this:

‘Today we are proud to welcome a number of Provincial Wardens who assisted in rescue work in Hammersmith during the flying bomb blitz.

Many of you have first-hand knowledge of their splendid work, and we know that you will join us in extending a heartfelt vote of thanks to them.

These Wardens attend the match today as the guests of the Wardens of ‘G’ District (White City area).’

The Holloway Press later filed the following match report:

‘Throwing caution to the wind on a treacherous surface, Queen’s Park Rangers proved the quicker side and brought off a well-deserved victory against Arsenal. Although twice in arrears they finished up by winning by three goals to two.

Arsenal were without any of their regular backs. Neither Scott, Male nor Barnes were playing. Henley proved quite useful as a partner to Collett at back, while Bernard Joy had one of his best matches and proved the sheet-anchor of defence.

Marks re-appeared and brought off several clever saves. A number of scoring chances were missed. Drake hit a post, for Gregory, out of goal, to gather the rebound to clear. Just after,Gregory again came into the picture with a fine save from a shot from Steele. 

After 32 minutes, Wriggleworth put the ball across for Steele to give Arsenal the lead, which was retained till the interval. Twelve minutes from the restart Heathcote equalised. 

Both sides fought hard for the lead, and in the 19th minute Drake smartly passed to Wriggleworth, from whose cross Steele again scored.

Back came the Rangers who equalised through Sibley less than a minute later.

From this point to the end the Rangers harried the Arsenal defence, and in the 43rd minute Heathcote scored the final and winning goal. Ten thousand people saw the match.’

The following week the Reading programme included a short report of the match:

‘I am sure all our supporters went home very happy last Saturday. To beat the mighty Arsenal is no mean performance, especially with famous guests in their team.

Admitted our goal had a charmed life on two occasions, but on the whole, I think our boys deserved to win, after being in arrears twice and fighting back to finally get the winning goal. 

Our new guest player, Johnny Forsyth, soon made himself popular with the crowd by his clever tackling and passing. This was his first game for a month but in spite of his lay-off he played a good, hard game.

It was soon evident that our lads were bent on winning. They settled down quickly and had the visitors’ goal in peril many times, but it was the Arsenal forwards who opened the score through Steele.

We were not to be denied, however, for soon after the interval Wilf Heathcote put us level, but Steele netted his second goal and we were in arrears again until Sibley equalised. 

Then the winner came just at the right time – a minute fromtime – through Heathcote. Two well-earned points.’

Steve Russell

(Thanks to Colin Woodley for sending me the match report)