Leeds United (0) – QPR (1) – ‘It was a Goal which Breathed New Life & Fervour into Rangers’

League Division One

Team: Parkes, Hollins, McLintock, Webb, Gillard, Francis, Masson, Kelly, Eastoe, Givens, Thomas

Attendance: 22,226

After losing 0-2 at the Baseball Ground the previous Wednesday, the R’s then travelled to Elland Road on 14th May 1977. Peter Slingsby later filed the following match report:

‘Tony Currie’s showmanship and trickery almost qualified him for the ‘Magic Circle’ as Elland Road thrilled to his skills.

But the England man’s total disregard for the old maxim about never giving up presented Rangers with the golden chance to ease their relegation worries.

Currie was a seemingly disinterested onlooker when beaten on the halfway line by Eddie Kelly, who ran on unchallenged and crossed to Peter Eastoe, who calmly steered the ball home.

Just what might have happened if Currie had put any sort of pressure on the galloping Kelly no one will ever know, but the disgusted looks on his colleagues’ faces when Eastoe stooped to head what proved to be the winner said a great deal.

It was a goal which breathed new life and fervour into Rangers who were the better side in the first-half. Then, their greater sense of urgency in midfield, where Kelly was in tremendous form, suggesting they would run out comfortable winners.

They had been given plenty of warning of what they could do with Eastoe’s goal and a couple of near misses by Webb and Masson – even though Francis was clearly not match-fit, after struggling all-week with a foot injury.

Currie and Eddie Gray, in particular, led a gripping fightback. They were behind moves, which against less resolute foes, could have counted.

Joe Jordan unluckily rapped a post with a superb header after a deep David Whyte cross.

Leeds, true to tradition, battered away at Rangers’ rearguard almost non-stop in the second-half, but a combination of a solid defence and a slice or two of luck saw the Londoners survive and keep their precious lead intact.

It must also be said that, apart from that Jordan header, Leeds gave Phil Parkes few anxious moments, mainly because of the high work rate and understanding of veterans Frank McLintock and Dave Webb.

Rangers deserved this unexpected triumph and with three games left, two of them at home, now have an outstanding chance of preserving their First Division place.

It was splendid stuff against a Leeds team being gradually rebuilt and with considerable promise in youngsters like Peter Hampton and Byron Stevenson.’

Of those final three matches, Rangers won one, drew two and finished in 14th place, four points above relegated Sunderland and Stoke City, with Tottenham ending up rock bottom.

Steve Russell