CITY 0 QUEENS PARK RANGERS 0
League Division 1
6th December 1975
Ref Bert Newsome
City Corrigan, Clements, Donachie, Doyle, Watson, Oakes, Barnes, Booth, Royle, Hartford, Tueart – sub Power(unused)
QPR Parkes, Clement, Gillard, Hollins, McLintock, Webb, Thomas, Francis, Masson, Leach, Givens – sub Abbott(unused)
Mike Doyle almost snatches the winner in the closing seconds
A MEMORABLE MATCH RECALLED BY PETER GARDNER From The City Programme 16th October 1976
Goalless games rarely grip the imagination, although here’s one that certainly did. City failed gloriously to beat Queen’s Park Rangers, title contenders for much of last season, in a game that was a glorious advert for all that is good in the game.
Certainly Ranger’s tactics were uncompromising at times, to say the least. But it was the ultra-professional approach that is the hallmark of potential champions . . . and one the Blues might do well to copy if they are to stay on the title track this term.
Rangers knew City were devastating on the flanks for manager Dave Sexton had done his homework well. That is why Dennis Tueart and Peter Barnes were quickly snuffed out by the best organised defensive system I had seen for a long time. And well though Asa Hartford played, he had his supply lines to the front runners just as effectively trimmed.
lt left Joe Royle to battle manfully against Frank McLintock and David Webb, two of the most experienced central defenders in the business. Royle played magnificently, but with insufficient support he failed to get the vital breaks in front of goal.
When a goal looked on, Rangers three times cleared off the line.
Goalkeeper Phil Parkes also rescued his side and his opposite number Joe Corrigan made at least two saves that brought nods of admiration from England boss Don Revie, who was at Maine Road that cold December afternoon almost 12 months ago.
City possessed greater all round skill, but Rangers had efficiency and polished organisation at the back, twin attributes that enabled them to hang on to a point in the most entertaining of goal-less draws
Not that City were any less adept at defending. Willie Donachie’s superb consistency was again evident as he took my personal man-of-the-match honours that day. On the opposite flank Kenny Clements, back in first team action once more, stood up well to the skilfull Dave Thomas.
City set a tremendous pace from the outset. Joe Royle turned sharply to hit a first-time shot over the bar as City defended an unbeaten 15 match run. Tommy Booth saw a shot cannon off John Hollins and a Mike Doyle header was turned behind for a corner, from which the Blues were desperately unlucky not to score.
As Dennis Tueart’s cross drop- ped into the crowded six yard area Dave Watson jabbed in a short range drive which was deflected away from Parkes but Don Masson, covering a post, kept out the ball.
Royle followed up to head down for Hartford but the Scottish international blazed his shot wide.
Rangers were lethal on the break as Thomas proved when he flashed in from the left to deliver a blistering drive that Corrigan saved superbly, flinging himself to turn the ball over the bar. From the corner Gillard sent a shot sizzling over the bar.
Back came the Blues and Alan Oakes linked up with Hartford whose 30-yard shot on the run dipped tantalisingly over the bar.
Then Rangers went close in a see-saw thriller. From a corner conceded by Clements the tricky Thomas pressurised City with a wicked in-swinger and the powerful Webb came tearing in to connect with a superb header. Again Corrigan made a magnificent save to turn the ball over the bar.
The second half was a repeat of the first—attack and counter-attack by two highly entertaining and enterprising sides.
City had a let-off when a Hollins cross was deflected, but with three Rangers players closing in for the kill the ball skidded out of play by the foot of a post.
From Hartford’s free kick Watson drove in a thunderbolt which Parkes blocked and there were heated appeals from the Blues for a penalty as Tueart was brought down when coming in a top speed. But ultimately a draw was a fair result with a big Maine Road crowd leaving well satisfied after watching a feast of adventurous football proving that goal-less draws are not always boring affairs.