QPR (6) – Blackpool (1) – ‘And Finally, Marsh gave the 19,000 Crowd the Climax they Demanded by Swerving Past Two Men for a Brilliant Sixth’

League Division Two

Team: Kelly, Watson, Clement, Venables, Hunt, Hazell, Bridges, Sibley, Leach, Marsh, Clark

Attendance: 19,277

Following a 3-2 win over Millwall at Loftus Road three days earlier, Rangers’ next opponents on 26th August 1969,  were Blackpool. Brian James wrote the following match report:

‘QPR took their record to nine points from a possible ten last night when Blackpool were driven to destruction by a combination of Cockney pace and wit. 

So relegated Rangers are knocking on the door of Division One already, and with the irrepressible gaiety of a drunk trying to get back into the party.

A hat-trick by Londoner Marsh was the most telling contribution. But the campaign of constant stealth by another Londoner, Terry Venables, was the hidden spur. Venables’ new image, after his personal relegation from Spurs, was a revelation.

He was all over this game, both keeping the peace and making the pace; both inspiring defence and inventing attacks…doing everything but count the takings!

It is too simple to say that a lower class of Soccer explains the change. Venables has at last found forwards prepared to do their running and allow him to do their thinking. 

Rangers, accepting his authority like men anxious to prove he was all they lacked in Division One, ordered this game from first to last. 

Bridges, flying easily to the near-post, deflected in Clark’s corner for a goal in the 16th minute.

The second was a Marsh gem. He accepted Sibley’s pass, swayed past Alcock to give himself a distant view of goal, and placed his shot into that high and tiny space. 

Blackpool, too, looked eager and ambitious, but lacked Rangers’ speed into attack. Their moves were built smoothly enough through Suddick, Brown and the busy McPhee, but sideways. 

Rangers’ third goal was a classic piece of impertinence. A free kick on the edge of the area was held up for the usual ten-yard ritual. Venables stood staring, apparently lost in thought and it was Marsh who leapt forward to score from 20 yards with a kick that owed as much to surprise as direction. 

Blackpool came briefly into the game when Pickering scored from a penalty after Kelly had saved Brown’s first attempt. Kelly’s dive was judged premature by referee Reg Payne, hauled out of the crowd to take over the place of an injured linesman. 

The appearance of Blackpool substitute Milne, helped the visitors to better things, but the game was too securely held for Blackpool’s challenge to be serious. 

Barry Bridges, spinning on a rebounding clearance, scored a fourth goal. Venables strode up jauntily to stroke a penalty after Marsh had been tripped. 

And finally, Marsh gave the 19,000 crowd the climax they demanded by swerving past two men for a brilliant sixth.’

Rangers’ unbeaten start to the season was to end four days later with a 0-3 defeat at St. Andrews. 

Steve Russell