One Day In History - Southampton 1983-84
Date: Saturday 24th March, 1984.
Competition: Canon Football League - Division One.
Venue: Loftus Road, London.
On a day in the Football League where the majority of the fixture list was wiped out by torrential downpours, Rangers 'omniturf` pitch stood up to the test, and the country`s media flocked to W12 for a Division One clash between two sides riding high.
Rangers came into the game on the back of some indifferent form after defeats away at Liverpool, Sunderland and Watford albeit by narrow margins. The ray of light, however was that the R`s progressed into the next round of the F.A. Cup, defeating Coventry City 2-1 in the Sixth Round.
Both sides had aspirations of European Football, but Southampton suggested they could live up to that expectation after embarking on an eight match unbeaten run, including wins over Liverpool, Norwich City and Luton Town at home, whilst beating thrashing Ipswich Town 3-0 at Portman Road. The most recent result, a 5-1 win over Sheffield Wednesday at home, would give them a big confidence boost going into the fixture in W12.
Rangers would have to do compete without influential midfielder John Gregory, following his sending off against Sunderland, an incident that he recognised as foolish and saw him 'reprimanded` by manager Terry Venables.
Rangers managed to defeat their higher placed opponents 4-0 at Loftus Road, with four different goalscorers on target on a slick surface at Loftus Road. A Southampton side that included George Burley, Russell Osman, skipper Terry Butcher and Arsenal loanee Alan Sunderland were no match for the R`s in W12.
Goals from Gary Waddock, Steve Wicks, Gary Micklewhite and Clive Allen were on target as the R`s cantered to victory. However excellent the R`s style of play, the media preferred to concentrate on the R`s pitch, with ITV commentators, despite seeing pictures of the R`s excellent football, rather hilariously stated,
"Rangers tactics were to try and get the ball in Southampton`s penalty area and then wait for them to make a mistake." - The comments were made with special reference to the pitch, but are we to believe that the pitch alone was the reason for a 4-0 humbling?
Rangers moved up to sixth in the table following a 2-2 draw against West Ham United, Clive Allen`s wonder-goal taking the headlines on that occasion. Following this defeat and a subsequent loss at Everton, Southampton dropped to fifth, with Rangers closing the gap between the sides to a point.
Final Score: Queens Park Rangers 4-0 Southampton.
QPR: Hucker, Neill, Dawes, Waddock, Wicks, Fenwick, Micklewhite, Fillery, Allen, Stainrod, Fereday.
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