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Bircham's last minute stunner - History
Thursday, 20th Apr 2017 15:48 by Clive Whittingham

Fairly obvious choice for the memorable match as QPR head to Brentford this weekend – how the R’s could do with some last minute Marc Bircham magic this weekend.


Memorable Match

Brentford 1 QPR 2, Saturday April 19, 2003, Second Division

Ian Holloway will be part of the Sky Sports team covering Friday’s match, and he could certainly tell Chris Ramsey a thing or two about coming into a Brentford QPR game under pressure.

Holloway is remembered fondly in W12 for his playing days, but more so his time as manager when he picked a club up off its knees, built one of the most fondly remembered teams in the club’s recent histories, and promoted it back into the second tier with a fine 3-1 win at Sheffield Wednesday in May 2004. But would he have been allowed to get there, or even to the play-off final defeat to Cardiff the year before, by present day QPR?

After all, when Rangers faced Brentford at Loftus Road just before Christmas in 2001 they’d gone 11 matches without a win. This was no ordinary run either – it included two cracks at Vauxhall Motors in the FA Cup culminating in a penalty shoot-out defeat in the replay, a 4-0 loss at home to Cardiff, a 3-0 shellacking at Notts County, a 0-0 draw against a Luton side that had one man sent off after 30 minutes and another just after half time leaving them to play the whole second half with nine men and survive as Brett Angell lumbered about the place…

The QPR board at the time kept faith with their man. Chief scout Mel Johnson got his little black book out again and produced a young Lee Cook on loan from Watford. The 1-1 draw at home to the Bees stretched the winless run to a dirty dozen, but Marc Bircham had opened the scoring and it felt like Holloway was making progress once more.

The club’s reward for that faith shown in its manager came after Christmas, with a winning run almost as remarkable as the catastrophe that had gone before it. Gino Padula, largely ignored to this point, came into the side because of injuries and cemented his place and cult hero status with swashbuckling displays from left back. Paul Furlong, a boo-boy target to this point for his Chelsea past, started to score and couldn’t stop.

The wins were scrappy at first – successive 1-0’s at home to Stockport and Barnsley in instantly forgettable encounters, an antirational 2-0 at Peterborough, a last-gasp Richard Pacquette goal for a 1-0 at Plymouth. But they were wins all the same, consecutive wins, and confidence was building. Rangers really hit their stride in a howling gale at Chesterfield, scoring four times to warm the cockles of the exposed faithful on the terrace behind the Saltergate goal. A week later they ran four through Port Vale at Loftus Road.

The team was really starting to motor. Furlong was sublime in a 3-0 win at Huddersfield, Cook likewise in a 4-1 at home to Cheltenham and although he then had to return to Watford at the end of his three months, Johnson came up trumps again with Everton’s Kevin McLeod and the run continued. Richard Langley scored a memorable hat trick in a win at Blackpool, and then a last-second winner that went down well at the old Ninian Park ground a week later.

Holloway’s Rangers were now in the hunt for the final play-off spot but were hamstrung by the autumn results. Ordinarily their form would have been good enough for automatic promotion but they found themselves in a remarkable two-way battle with Tranmere for the final spot. Rovers had already taken six points from Rangers and didn’t lose any of their final 15 games of the season. Everytime QPR won, Tranmere won as well.

On April 19, QPR had the added complication of a London derby to contend with. Brentford have enough beef with QPR as it is but the fires had been stoked by two tightly fought fixtures the season before. The chairman at Griffin Park at the time, Ron Noades, had also complained to the Football League about Rangers being able to sign Danny Shittu from Charlton for a fee while still in administration – the generous Winton family footing the cost of the deal. Brentford thought they had Shittu in the bag themselves and were disappointed to miss out. The complaint subsequently led to a change in the rules forbidding clubs in admin from signing players for fees, and further stoked tensions as the Rangers fans massed behind the goal on the then-open Ealing Road terrace.

Things looked good when Shittu rubbed salt into the wounds by climbing high to head home in typically emphatic fashion from an eighth minute corner, and then running the length of the field with his shirt off to celebrate. But Brentford, managed by QPR fan Wally Downes, stuck to their task and forced a scrappy equaliser nine minutes from time through Mark Peters. As news filtered through that the full time whistle had gone at Notts County and Tranmere had won 1-0 – a twelfth match without defeat – it felt like a decisive blow had been struck.

In fact, that was still to come.

Deep into stoppage time, in front of the QPR fans, Padula swung over a final corner. It was flicked half clear at the near post and ordinarily such balls drift away to nothing. On this occasion though, for reasons known only to himself, born and bred QPR fan Marc Bircham had peeled away and loitered in the far corner of the penalty box. Not noted for his attacking ability or goalscoring, few would have expected what came next. Bircham drew back his foot, lowered his head over the ball and executed a technically perfect half volley back through the crowded area and plum into the postage stamp top corner.

Standing directly behind the goal, halfway up the terrace, I remember a split second of silence as we took in what had happened. Then absolute pandemonium. Fans spilled out onto the pitch almost as quickly and euphorically as the players were trying to climb in with the fans. The whole scene was complete carnage. QPR had won.

They kept winning as well, and in fact were so pre-occupied with the Tranmere race for sixth didn’t realise quite how close they were getting to second. But for a 0-0 draw in the final home match against Crewe, when referee Andy Hall produced his annual hatchet job on the Rangers team and dismissed two players – Clarke Carlisle for the heinous crime of failing to retreat at a free kick and then challenging the goalkeeper for a cross – the final day 2-1 win at Colchester would have sealed automatic promotion.

Defeat in the play-off final at Cardiff followed but Holloway added Gareth Ainsworth to one side of his team that summer and, just to sooth the waters a little, Martin Rowlands from Brentford to the other and won automatic promotion with a much stronger team and squad a year later.

Brentford: P Smith, M Dobson, I Sonko, S Marshall, M Somner, K O'Connor, J Tabb, J Fullarton, S Hunt, M Antoine-Curier (S Evans, 68), M Peters

Subs not used: M Williams, L Fieldwick, A Julian, A Frampton

Goals: Peters 81

Bookings: Tabb

QPR: C Day, S Kelly, C Carlisle, D Shittu, G Padula, R Langley, S Palmer, M Bircham, K McLeod, P Furlong, K Gallen

Subs not used: A Thomson, T Williams, N Culkin, R Pacquette, M Rose

Goals: Shittu 8, Bircham 90

Bookings: Bircham, Shittu, Kelly

Atttendance: 9,168

Referee: Howard Webb

Recent Meetings

Queens Park Rangers 2 Brentford 0, Friday October 28, 2016, Championship

Brentford beat QPR with something to spare in the first meeting between the clubs this season. Alex Smithies had already saved from Sawyer and Hogan had curled a good chance wide when Josh Clarke opened the scoring before half time and although there was a suggestion of handball from Clarke in the build up to the second goal Sawyer’s finish was emphatic and the lead richly deserved. A late header from Idrissa Sylla, cleared off the line after dipping over keeper Bentley, was all QPR had to show for their meek efforts.

QPR: Smithies 6; Perch 5, Onuoha 5, Caulker 5, Robinson 5 (Wszolek 61, 6); Cousins 5, Borysiuk 5 (Gladwin 81, -), Luongo 5; Washington 5 (Polter 69, 4), Chery 4, Sylla 4

Subs not used: Hamalainen, Ingram, Hall, Henry

Bookings: Borysiuk 16 (foul), Chery 67 (dissent)

Brentford: Bentley 6; Colin 7, Dean 8, Egan 8, Bjellend 7; Woods 8; Yennaris 7, Clarke 8 (Kerschbaumerat 90+1), -, McEachran 7 (MacLeod 71, - (Kaikai 87, -)), Sawyers 7; Hogan 7

Subs not used: Hofmann, Bonham, Barbet, Onariase

Goals: Clarke 42 (assisted McEachran), Sawyers 74 (assisted Colin)

Bookings: Dean 6 (foul)

Queens Park Rangers 3 Brentford 0, Saturday March 12, 2016, Championship

QPR snapped a 16-match run of London derbies without a victory, and avenged a defeat at Brentford earlier in the season, by comprehensively beating the Bees 3-0 at Loftus Road in March last year. Junior Hoilett got things underway with the club's Goal of the Season from 25 yards and although the visitors threatened from range before half time, nerves were settled after the break when Chery played in Polter for a simple second. Chery iced the cake himself, taking the ball on the run from Ale Faurlin and finishing into the far corner 20 minutes from time.

QPR: Smithies 6; Onuoha 7, Angella 6, Hill 7, Perch 7; Faurlin 6, Henry 8 (El Khayati 82, -); Phillips 6, Chery 8 (Luongo 74, 6), Hoilett 8; Polter 8 (Mackie 85, -)

Subs not used: Washington, Tozser, Ingram, Kpekawa

Goals: Hoilett 38 (unassisted), Polter 66 (assisted Chery), Chery 71 (assisted Faurlin)

Bookings: Polter 45 (repetitive fouling), Henry 48 (foul), Hoilett 49 (foul), Luongo 90+1 (foul)

Brentford: Button 5; Yennaris 5, Dean 5, Barbet 5, Bidwell 5; McCormack 4; Canos 6 (Vibe 64, 5) McEachran 5 (Kerschbaumer 76, 5), Woods 7, Swift 5 (Saunders 76, 5), Judge 6

Subs not used: Djuricin, Bonham, O’Connell, Clarke

Bookings: Canos 32 (foul), Woods 48 (retaliation)

Brentford 1 Queens Park Rangers 0, Friday October 30, 2015, Championship

Brentford beat QPR in a competitive fixture for the first time in 50 years when these sides met at Griffin Park towards the end of Chris Ramsey's unhappy spell as Rangers boss. Massimo Luongo led a one-man mission to prevent the loss in the first half, heading against the bar with one effort and then curling another against the inside of the far post. But the game was won when Alan Judge raced in behind Nedum Onuoha and crossed for Djuricin to slam in from close range.

Brentford: Button 6; Yennaris 6, Dean 7, Tarkowski 6, Bidwell 6; McCormack 6 (Vibe 82, -), Diagouraga 7; Woods 6, Swift 6, Judge 7 (Kerschbaumer 77, 6); Djuricin 7 (Hoffman 90, -)

Subs not used: Bonham, O’Connell, Gogia, Canos

Goals: Djuricin 56 (assisted Judge)

Bookings: McCormack 20 (ungentlemanly), Djuricin 86 (time wasting)

QPR: Green 6; Onuoha 5, Hall 7, Hill 6 (Perch 76, 6), Konchesky 5; Henry 6, Tozser 5; Phillips 5, Luongo 6 (Hoilett 67, 5), Chery 5 (Austin 63, 5), Emmanuel Thomas 4

Subs not used: Doughty, Faurlin, Smithies, Polter

Booked: Hill 20 (ungentlemanly), Tozser 24 (foul), Phillips 80 (foul)

Scores and Scorers

Head to Head >>> Brentford wins 23 >>> Draws 23 >>> QPR wins 22

2016/17 QPR 0 Brentford 2

2015/16 QPR 3 Brentford 0 (Hoilett, Chery, Polter)

2015/16 Brentford 1 QPR 0

2003/04 Brentford 1 QPR 1 (Furlong)

2003/04 QPR 1 Brentford 0 (Thorpe)

2002/03 Brentford 1 QPR 2 (Shittu, Bircham)

2002/03 QPR 1 Brentford 1 (Bircham)

2001/02 Brentford 0 QPR 0

2001/02 QPR 0 Brentford 0

1965/66 QPR 1 Brentford 0 (R Morgan)

1965/66 Brentford 6 QPR 1 (R Morgan)

1964/65 Brentford 5 QPR 2 (I Morgan, Keen)

1964/65 QPR 1 Brentford 3 (Keen)

1963/64 QPR 2 Brentford 2 (Bedford 2)

1963/64 Brentford 2 QPR 2 (Bedford 2)

1961/62 Brentford 1 QPR 4 (Bedford 2, McCelland, Reeves og)

1961/62 QPR 3 Brentford 0 (Towers, Bedford, Evans)

1960/61 Brentford 2 QPR 0

1960/61 QPR 0 Brentford 0

1959/60 Brentford 1 QPR 1 (Golding)

1959/60 QPR 2 Brentford 4 (Bedford 2)

1958/59 Brentford 1 QPR 0

1958/59 QPR 1 Brentford 2 (Kerrins)

1957/58 Brentford 1 QPR 1 (Cameron)

1957/58 QPR 1 Brentford 0 (Petchey)

1956/57 QPR 2 Brentford 2 (Longbottom, Bargie og)

1956/57 Brentford 2 QPR 0

1955/56 Brentford 2 QPR 0

1955/56 QPR 1 Brentford 1 (Cameron)

1954/55 Brentford 1 QPR 1 (Clark)

1954/55 QPR 1 Brentford 1 (Clark)

1951/52 Brentford 0 QPR 0

1951/52 Brentford 3 QPR 1* (Shepherd)

1951/52 QPR 3 Brentford 1 (Gilberg, Shepherd, Smith)

1950/51 QPR 1 Brentford 1 (Davies)

1950/51 Brentford 2 QPR 1 (Addinall)

1949/50 Brentford 0 QPR 2 (Hatton, Wardle)

1949/50 QPR 3 Brentford 3 (Pattison 2, Pointon)

1948/49 Brentford 0 QPR 3 (Hudson, Pointon, Duggan)

1948/49 QPR 2 Brentford 0 (Hartburn, Hudson)

1945/46 Brentford 0 QPR 0*

1945/46 QPR 1 Brentford 3* (Pattison)

1932/33 Brentford 2 QPR 0

1932/33 QPR 2 Brentford 3 (Goddard, Brown)

1931/32 QPR 1 Brentford 2 (Cribb)

1931/32 Brentford 1 QPR 0

1930/31 QPR 3 Brentford 1 (Goddard 2, Howe)

1930/31 Brentford 5 QPR 3 (Coward, Wiles, Nixon)

1929/30 Brentford 3 QPR 0

1929/30 QPR 2 Brentford 1 (Rounce, Goddard)

1928/29 QPR 2 Brentford 2 (Coward, Herod)

1928/29 Brentford 1 QPR 1 (Smith)

1927/28 Brentford 0 QPR 3 (Goddard 2, Burns)

1927/28 QPR 2 Brentford 3 (Lofthouse 2)

1926/27 QPR 1 Brentford 1 (Hawley)

1926/27 Brentford 4 QPR 2 (Patterson, Goddard)

1925/26 QPR 1 Brentford 1 (Burgess)

1925/26 Brentford 1 QPR 2 (Johnson, Birch)

1924/25 QPR 1 Brentford 1 (Brown)

1924/25 Brentford 0 QPR 1 (Brown)

1923/24 Brentford 0 QPR 1 (Birch)

1923/24 QPR 1 Brentford 0 (Parker)

1922/23 QPR 1 Brentford 1 (Marsden)

1922/23 Brentford 1 QPR 3 (Parker 2, Birch)

1921/22 QPR 1 Brentford 1 (Smith)

1921/22 Brentford 5 QPR 1 (Birch)

1920/21 QPR 1 Brentford 0 (Birch)

1920/21 Brentford 0 QPR 2 (Smith 2)

* - FA Cup

Connections

Mark Lazarus >>> QPR 1960/61, 1962-64, 1966/67 >>> Brentford 1964-66


Born in Stepney in 1938, Lazarus was in the same Saturday side as Jimmy Greaves as a boy before he started playing non-league football with Barking where he was picked up by Leyton Orient, then managed by Alec Stock, in 1957. Lazarus, part of a large Jewish family, chose football over boxing despite some success in amateur bouts. One of his brothers, Lew, fought for the British title at welterweight and middleweight.

Stock left Brisbane Road for a brief stint in charge of Roma (imagine that) but when he returned to England with QPR he immediately signed Lazarus for the first time in September 1960. A year later he was off to Wolves for a club record fee of £27,500 in September 1961 only to return to Loftus Road in February 1962 after just nine games following a row with Molineux boss Stan Cullis.

In a recent interview with the Jewish Telegraph, Lazarus said: “I never, in my whole career, asked for a transfer and would have preferred to have stayed in London. Cullis was a sergeant major type who was never happy, even when we won. Nothing was good enough for him and we had a personality clash. Alec felt he had a responsibility to look after QPR financially too so I was seen as a saleable object."

He left for Brentford in April 1964 for £8,000 plus George McLeod but was back for a third, and most successful, stint in November 1965. He left for a third and final time, League Cup winner’s medal in pocket, to join Crystal Palace for £10,000 in November 1967 and just to really crown himself as the king of the comeback he finished up back at Orient again in 1969.

Lazarus was a fast, aggressive winger who scored 84 goals for the club in 235 appearances. The most important of those was the third Rangers goal at Wembley, crowning a comeback for the Third Division R’s from 2-0 down to defeat First Division West Brom 3-2. QPR were the first team from the third tier ever to compete for a major trophy at Wembley and any thought they may be overawed by going 2-0 down at half time were dispelled by goals from Roger Morgan, Rodney Marsh and finally Lazarus.

He said: "It was only a tap-in, it was not as though I beat three men and smashed the ball into the back of the net from the edge of the area. The lead-up to the final was tremendous, though. We had a great season. That final was the first game my mum and dad saw me play in. My dad had never been to a game in his life and he never went to any more after the final. My mum loved it though, and after that, she always came to see me play."

It was just rewards for the wide man, having scored three times in the earlier rounds of the competition that year including a 5-0 First Round win against Colchester where Marsh got the other four, the memorable Fourth Round home upset against top flight Leicester Citty when he got one in a 4-2 win with Les Allen and Roger Morgan bagging the other two, and finally one in a 4-1 home win against Birmingham in the first leg of the semi-final at Loftus Road. He also set up both goals in the 2-1 Fifth Round win against Carlisle.

Oddly, he’s probably equally well remembered for running down the wing at Loftus Road in just his y-fronts, shorts in hand, when the ball arrived at his feet at an inopportune moment during a kit change.

In retirement he worked in road haulage, and as a ‘minder’ for snooker players including Steve Davis.

By winning promotion from Division Three to Division Two with Orient in his final year as a professional it meant he’d finished his senior career with promotions in his last four seasons – two with QPR in 1967 and 1968, one from Second to the First with Palace in 1969 and then Orient in 1970 before he went back into the non-league game with Folkestone and later Wingate and Finchley.

Others >>> Jake Bidwell QPR 2016-present, Brentford 2011-2016 >>> DJ Campbell, QPR 2011-2013, Brentford 2005-2006 >>> Rowan Vine, Brentford (loan) 2010, (loan) 2002-2003, QPR 2007-2012 >>> Tommy Smith, Brentford 2014-2015, QPR 2010-2012 >>> Gavin Mahon, QPR 2008-2011, Brentford 1998-2002 >>> Martin Rowlands, QPR 2003-2012, Brentford 1998-2003 >>> Ian Holloway, QPR (manager) 2017-present, 2001-2006, 1991-1996, Brentford 1986-1987 >>> Ademola Bankole, Brentford 2005-2006, QPR 1998-2000 >>> Marcus Bean, Brentford 2008-2012, QPR 2002-2006 >>> Les Ferdinand, QPR 1987-1995, Brentford (loan) 1988 >>> Andy Sinton, QPR 1989-1993, Brentford 1985-1989 >>> Stan Bowles, QPR 1972-1979, Brentford 1981-1984 >>> Andy McCulloch Brentford 1976-1979, QPR 1970-1972 >>> George Goddard, Brentford 1933, QPR 1926-1933

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