One Day In History - Coventry City 1978-79
Date: Saturday 28th April 1979
Competition: Football League Division One.
Venue: Loftus Road, London.
See Also: Coventry City 0-1 QPR - 1973-74.
Coventry City 1-0 QPR - 2008-09.
Rangers boss Steve Burtenshaw was finding the going tough after taking over a brief second spell from Alex Stock at the start of the 1978/79 season. Rangers were second from bottom and looked doomed to relegation with Birmingham City and West London rivals Chelsea.
Coventry by contrast were performing well under Gordon Milne, as the Sky Blues sat in eighth in the first division. City had star striker Tommy Hutchison at their disposal as they looked to take maximum points in W12.
Rangers started with the strike force of Paul Goddard and Clive Allen, whose father Les, an R`s legend himself, watched on from the stands. There was a siege mentality drifting through a modest crowd in W12 on a wet and rainy day in the capital.
The R`s were plundered further into mire when the visitors took the lead after nine minutes courtesy of Ian Wallace. The Scottish international striker whom manager Milne paid Nottingham Forest the princely sum of £40,000, latched onto a cross from Steve Hunt before nodding against the bar. The red headed striker reacted fastest to the rebound and the Sky Blues had the lead.
That had some fans thinking the R`s were dead and buried in the league with several points still separating Rangers from the likes of Derby County and Wolverhampton Wanderers. However the loyal crowd of 10,951 were given a goalscoring masterclass thanks to Clive Allen.
With 20 minutes gone Allen was threaded through by full back Ian Gillard before beating sizeable defender Jim Holton and rifling a 20-yard effort past Les Sealy for a stunning equaliser.
He and Goddard were providing the Coventry rearguard with much food for thought as Rangers were hoping youthful exuberance would carry them through against an experienced Sky Blues side.
After the break the R`s were in front and it Allen was once more the benefactor after some stunning work from Martyn Busby. The bearded midfielder who suffered an horrific broken leg at Fulham`s Craven Cottage seven years previous, cut through the defence with relative ease before slotting in Allen, and the forwards excellent cross shot beat Sealy into the far corner.
Stan Bowles` gambling partner Don Shanks headed Rangers two goals clear when he latched onto Mick Walsh`s cross, but it was Allen who stole the show as he claimed a deserved hatrick in emphatic circumstances.
His cleverly crafted effort culminated in a stunning volley, a rasping drive which left stopper Sealy forlorn on the turf, but sent the hopeful crowd in raptures. The rout was complete moments later as the aforementioned Walsh slammed home a penalty.
It wasn`t good enough for Rangers as they were relegated to the second tier. Steve Burtenshaw`s men lost all three prior games against Leeds United, Birmingham City and finally a thumping 4-0 loss at home to Ipswich, which condemned them to the drop.
Burtenshaw was given the boot prior to the Ipswich clash as Rangers planned for life in Division Two with Tommy Docherty.
Under Gordon Milne the Sky Blues rounded off the campaign in 10th place, beating Wolves 3-0 along the way. He was replaced a couple of years later with former R`s boss Dave Sexton.
Final Score: Queens Park Rangers 5-1 Coventry City
QPR: Richardson, Clement, Gillard, Hollins, Howe, Roeder, Busby, Shanks, Walsh, Goddard, Allen.
Coventry City: Sealy, Roberts, McDonald, Blair, Horton, Coop, Nardiello, Wallace, Hunt, Powell, Hutchison.
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