Watford (0) – QPR (3) – ‘Finally, almost in Injury Time, Clark Broke Away to Lob a Surprise Third Past an Advancing Linton’

Team: Drinkwater, Woods, Ingham, Keen, Rutter, Angell, Lazarus, Bedford, Evans, Andrews, Clark

Attendance: 15,606

On 10th December 1960, Rangers travelled to Vicarage Road. The following match report later appeared in the local press: 

‘While Rotherham, Watford’s cup opponents, were finding their scoring boots in slamming Luton 5-2 on Saturday, the Hornets were making an awful mess of their “derby” with Queen’s Park Rangers. 

It is now unhappily obvious that something has gone radically wrong, and it has gone wrong in the department where Watford used to consider themselves strongest – in attack.

Against a hard but otherwise not very impressive Rangers side on Saturday, they had enough of the game to have won by three or four goals. 

The fault lay fairly and squarely on the shoulders of the inside trio. Tommy Harmer conjured up some deft passes in midfield, but neither he nor a subdued Cliff Holton could stamp the game with their personality.

And for Jack Smith this was a successive flop. He certainly had Ray Drinkwater at full-stretch in the first minute and was a shade unlucky when Tony Ingham came from out of the blue to kick another of his shots off the line but for most of the game, he gave Keith Rutter few grounds for anxiety.

Cliff Holton’s quietness was equally disturbing. Both he and Smith shot tragically wide when Watford were jolted into a sense of urgency by Rangers’ first goal, but Holton never managed the sort of “specials” that used to thrill the crowds so consistently.

Watford’s attempts at a two-pronged attack, in fact, fell far, far short of the old Holton-Uphill era. This was partly due to Rangers’ solid covering, but the major trouble was Watford’s tendency to be over fussy in their passing, 

Freddy Bunce alone produced the pace to cut through and even he, after demonstrating his ability to outstrip Pat Woods, fell into some of the errors of his colleagues.

The net result of all this was that Rangers, so long held in check by Watford’s half-backs, were able to pick up a couple of precious promotion points.

In the 61st minute, when Andy Porter delayed a clearance, young Clive Clark whipped the ball almost from his feet and steered it across the goal for Mark Lazarus to slam it into the net. 

Eleven minutes later, referee Yates awarded a penalty when Vince McNeice brought down Lazarus and Woods hit number two from the spot. 

Finally, almost in injury time, Clark broke away to lob a surprise third past an advancing Linton.’

The match programme acknowledged the long service of the Rangers chairman: ‘It was announced this week that the Rangers chairman, Mr Albert Hittinger, after 20 years of service – you have put much effort into the game, we wish you many years of good health to enjoy it!’.

The R’s followed this up with a 3-1 home win over Bournemouth.

Steve Russell

One thought on “Watford (0) – QPR (3) – ‘Finally, almost in Injury Time, Clark Broke Away to Lob a Surprise Third Past an Advancing Linton’

  1. Great write up. Brings it all back to me. I was there. This was my first Rangers away game. My father took me to the match. Fulham must have been playing away otherwise I cant think of a reason why he would have taken me there.

    Cant recall much about our first goal but I do recall Pat woods blasting home the penalty. Here a match report yet again is not doing Clive Clark justice. For that 3rd goal Clive ran through the Watford defence like the proverbial dose of salts(My fathers words not mine…and I agree) before hitting a precise shot past the helpless Watford Keeper Linton. Great Stuff.

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