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Memories - QPR v Preston
Memories - QPR v Preston
Thursday, 3rd Apr 2008 09:12

QPR welcome Preston North End to Loftus Road on Saturday, Ashleigh Rose looks back at a classic meeting between the two and players who have played for both clubs.

In this feature we take a look back at some past memories of the R’s against their forthcoming opponents and looks at the players to grace both clubs.

This week Rangers play host to Preston North End, who are currently in their best run of the season and have successfully pulled away from the bottom three under Alan Irvine. There haven’t been too many games involving these clubs over the years, in fact when the clubs met in 2000 it was the first game between the two sides for two decades. Preston first visited the Loft in 1949 in a game that ended in a goalless draw but there have been a few more goals since then as we take a walk down the blue and white hoped path of memory lane.

Memorable Match
3rd April 2007
Queens Park Rangers 1-0 Preston North End

None of the few meetings between these two sides have been more important then last season’s game. With Rangers fighting a relegation battle their match with Preston was our game in hand that all the fans had been counting on to nab three vital points and get some breathing space away from the wrong end of the table. On a colder then usual April night down at the Loft, the fans were in good voice but you could sense that there were some nervous faces amongst the singing. A goalless first half and an glaring miss by David Nugent did anything but calm those nerves but five minutes into the second period Rangers got just the tonic we needed. A long ball down field towards the school end from big Marco Van Nygaard was sublimely controlled on his chest by Dexter Blackstock and then matched by an unstoppable left foot volley that thundered into the top corner of the Preston net, giving Lonergan no chance.

The ground went into rapture’s and the crowd sang Blackstock’s name to the tune of Pigbag, the R’s top scorer had done it again. The last half an hour Rangers survived a barrage of North End attacks as they threw on Dichico and Agyemang in a four prong attack. But with the crowd acting as a twelfth man and some dogged Rangers defending the Superhoops clung onto a vital three points that went a low way in securing their status in the Championship. The fans stayed back after the game to salute their heroes, in one of those nights that only seem to happen at Loftus Road. A month later, Dexter’s stunning volley was voted QPR goal of the season by fans on the official website. Thanks Dex!

QPR: Camp, Mancienne (Kanyuka) Stewart, Cullip, Bignot, Ainsworth, Lomas, Bolder, Cook (Ricketts (Smith)) Blackstock, Nygaard
Subs not used: Cole, Furlong

Preston: Lonergan, Alexander, Ledger, Chilvers, Hill (Wilson) Songo'o (Agyemang) Whaley (Dichio) Sedgwick, Pugh, Nugent, Ricketts
Subs not used: Henderson, Nowland

Match Report

Player Connections
Gareth Ainsworth
Preston 1991-1995 & 2002
QPR 2003-Present

Wild Thing first spread his wings at Preston, beginning his career at Deepdale. Like at many of the clubs Ains has played for he was a big fans favourite at North End in two different spells at the club. After scoring fourteen goals in just under four seasons at Preston, Gareth moved to Lincoln where he was such a cult hero he came fourth in a poll to find the 100 best players to play for the Imps. Two seasons at Port Vale followed before Ains got his big move to the Premier League with a £2 million transfer to Wimbledon. Unfortunately injuries hampered his career with the Dons and found himself struggling for a first team place. Craig Brown brought him back to Preston on loan and it looked like a permanent transfer was on the horizon until Gareth chose Cardiff instead. He only lasted one season in Wales and in 2003 signed for QPR and he got off to the perfect start with two goals in an opening day 5-0 romp against Blackpool. That was followed up a month later with two of the greatest goals to ever come off a QPR boot in the 3-3 draw with Rushden and Diamonds. Five years on and Ainsworth is still on the R’s books and was recently made club captain after providing a helpful role between players and gaffer Luigi Di Canio. A huge cult hero at Loftus Road, there really is only one Gareth Ainsworth.

Patrick Agyemang
Preston 2004-2008
QPR 2008-Present

After making his name with Wimbledon during their Premier League days, Agyemang spent four seasons at Deepdale and was a key member of the team that reached the play offs under Billy Davies, gaining international recognition with Ghana in the process. In January Agyemang joined the QPR revolution for a fee around £350,000 although not the star striker most fans had expected us to sign he responded in emphatic fashion; first netting on his debut at Bramall Lane then going on to score eight goals in his first six matches for the Super Hoops. His hero status at Loftus Road was quickly established and he scored his ninth QPR goal in 15 starts against Scunthorpe last time at Loftus Road.

Danny Dichio
QPR 1993-1997
Preston 2005-2007

I can still see Danny whacking that incredible volley into the back of the net against Wolves back in 1996, a goal which probably got him his move to Italy! It’s one of my favourite Rangers goals. Dichio rose through the ranks at QPR, and built up a lethal strike partnership with Kevin Gallen at reserve level. He enjoyed top flight football with the R’s before our relegation in 1996 and then somehow signed for Italia side Sampdoria a year later. His spell in Italy was brief and Danny was soon back in England with first Sunderland, then WBA and Millwall before spending two seasons at Deepdale. Now plying his trade in the MLS with Toronto FC.

Michael Robinson (Preston 1975-79, QPR 1983-94, now the Spanish Gary Lineker), Chris Day (QPR 2001-2005, Preston 2005 loan, now at Millwall), Marlon Broomes (QPR 2000 loan, Preston 2002-05, now at Stoke), Paul McGee (QPR 1977-79, Preston 1979-82, now assistant manager at Cork City).

Fans’ Memories
It was one of those rarefied nights when Loftus Road literally rocked. We were the twelfth man, on a bitterly cold night. It took ages to get out afterwards too because no-one wanted to leave. Those vital three points almost certainly saved us from the drop and it was a time to savour. Of all the Northern Clubs, PNE I have respect for, a proper old world football club, unassuming and quiet, amongst there grotesque and flash neighbours. Qualities sadly lacking these days. Unfortunate to not have made the Prem in recent times too, so after Saturday I wish them well as ever - BrightonHoop

The big thing about that match was it was our game in hand on all the sides around us, was meant to be played on a Saturday earlier in the season but Preston had FA Cup commitments. I remember the second half being a real backs to the wall effort with several of the QPR players playing injured and Preston coming at us with a front four of Nugent, Agyemang, Dichio and Ricketts. I don't think we actually went out of our penalty area for nearly half an hour, then right at the end Blackstock should have made it two when Smith broke away. Nerve jangling stuff, great atmosphere, everybody was standing up by the end because we just couldn't stand to sit any more - Northernr

Typically, I'll go back a long way to 1967/8 when we played Preston in the cup. Top of the division, we looked certain to win but a certain Archie Gemmell scored a wonder goal against us and we lost, I think, 2-0. He later went on to international fame scoring a similar goal for Scotland against Holland in 1978 (?) World Cup – Old Nick

We’ve hardly played Preston since then in 67 apart from the past three or four seasons. This was in my first season following QPR. We played them in the cup then the following Saturday at home again in the league. We won the first but lost the second from memory - Enfieldargh

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