One Day In History - Derby County 1975-76
Date: Saturday 23rd August 1975
Competition: Football League Division One
Venue: Baseball Ground, Derby
See Also: QPR 4-1 Derby County - 1982-83.
QPR 0-2 Derby County - 27/09/08.
Dave Sexton`s QPR travelled to the home of the champions after a decent start to the 75-76 campaign. Two games into the new season and it was a case of so far so good as the R`s had drawn against Villa but more sensationally had dispatched of last year`s runners up, Liverpool.
Midfielder Gerry Francis was in fine form, scoring two goals in the first two games, and what made a good start taste even sweeter was the fact that two of Rangers stalwart defenders were out with injury.
Frank McLintock and Dave Webb were missing and in their place came rookie defenders Ron Abbott and Tony Tagg. The young duo came straight off the production line and straight into the first team - and it certainly appeared it could prove a baptism of fire at the home of the defending champions.
Dave McKay`s men already had their first piece of silverware for the season, defeating West Ham United in the charity shield. Back to back away draws for the Rams against Sheffield United and Coventry City meant that they sat behind the R`s in the league standings. McKay`s men were back on home turf seeking their first win of the campaign.
Lining up with the potent force of Kevin Hector and Francis Lee, Derby could also boast a talented midfield with Bruce Rioch and Henry Newton flanked by Charlie George and Archie Gemmill. The formidable central defensive pairing of Colin Todd and skipper Roy McFarland would surely make it tough work for the R`s to break the deadlock.
Derby were boasting a lush new surface, but it was the R`s that were using it to its full effect and ultimately it was the visitors who took the game by storm in sensational fashion.
Stan Bowles was the hero of the moment in the R`s first away game of the campaign. The forward`s hatrick included a goal from the penalty spot as the visitors stunned the strong crowd at the Baseball Ground.
Defender and captain Roy McFarland got the Rams back into the game with a goal shortly before half time, but it was hardly a reflection on Derby`s performance as they played second fiddle to Rangers throughout the encounter.
All they could muster was the inspired left boot of David Nish, with Phil Parkes at his best to deny the full back, tipping the ball round the post and over the bar to epitomise the R`s sensational form.
Further goals after the break from winger Dave Thomas and full back Dave Clement really did provide one of the major shocks in the Division. But it was the R`s rookie rearguard who were singled out for praise.
Defensive duo Ronnie Abbott and Tony Tagg - the latter making his full debut - did enough to keep the experienced Rams forward line at bay as Rangers fairly cantered to victory in surprising fashion.
The Rams mangager Dave McKay didn`t last much beyond the 1975-76 season, as the successor to Brian Clough gave way in Novbember 1976 to Colin Murphy. Derby finished off the season in fourth place, six points behind runners up QPR.
When you consider the final league standings the result may not have been the shock one first presumed, as Rangers were a hairs breadth away from their first Division One title. The R`s losing at Norwich on Easter weekend handed Liverpool the initiative in the final couple of games to secure the title beyond the final day - The rest as they say is history.
Final Score: Derby County 1-5 Queens Park Rangers
Derby County: Bolton, Thomas, Nish, Rioch, McFarland, Todd, Newton, Gemmill, Lee (Hinton 50), Hector, George.
QPR: Parkes, Clement, Gillard, Leach, Abbott, Tagg, Thomas (Beck 63), Francis, Masson, Bowles, Givens.
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