QPR (1) – Arsenal (0) – ‘The Goal was very much the Highlight of the Match’

Team: Hucker, Chivers, Dawes, Waddock, James, Fenwick, McDonald, Fillery, Bannister, Byrne, Allen

Sub: Gregory

Attendance: 20,189

On 20th April 1985, Arsenal were the visitors to Loftus Road. Nick Pitt later filed the following match report:

‘A generally miserable match on a miserable afternoon was saved by those Rangers players who at least tried to string a few passes together, and by a splendid goal.

Rangers really deserved more, and if Arsenal’s late and frantic efforts had been successful, a substantial injustice would have been done.

The goal was very much the highlight of the match, Chivers the Rangers full-back, gathered the ball around the halfway-line, moved a few paces forward, then delivered a brilliant cross-field ball, struck at pace and curling behind the two Arsenal centre-backs into the path of James.

Robbie James at full stretch, sent it high into the goal past John Lukic.

That decisive moment came as a distinct relief to Rangers, who had been threatening to score for half an hour – thanks more-often-than-not to the stumbling uncertainty of the Arsenal defenders.

There were several gifts, but the worst was the fault of Tommy Caton. After one attempt to clear had hit John Byrne, Caton was lucky to have another chance.

This time he tried to pass back to Lukic, but chipped the ball ludicrously into the path of Bannister who was rightly annoyed when he failed to score.

As an attacking force, Arsenal were never in it. They never got the measure of the pitch.

Whatever the deficiencies of Rangers’ artificial surface, it does at least demand accurate passing. But despite having a similar surface on their indoor training pitch, Arsenal passed the ball around like lost men in a fog. In the circumstances Rangers should have cruised to victory.

John Gregory, the substitute, contributed a number of nice touches, and Bannister got himself into dangerous positions, but missed several chances.

Thus, Arsenal were able to send on Paul Mariner for a final gallop, which was something to watch but proved fruitless.’

The R’s went on to lose 1-3 at Hillsborough three days later.

Steve Russell

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