John Spencer's debut goal - History
Friday, 19th Mar 2021 14:03 by Clive Whittingham
Ahead of the trip to Reading on Saturday we're winding the clock back to 1996 and John Spencer's debut goal at Elm Park which heralded yet another false new dawn at QPR.
Reading 2 QPR 1, Saturday November 23, 1996, First Division
A somewhat morbid choice perhaps but whenever I think of trips to Reading with QPR it’s this one that springs immediately to mind.
QPR were newly relegated from the Premier League. The pre-season loss of Clive Wilson and Les Ferdinand without adequate replacement had left the R’s relying too heavily on youngsters like Kevin Gallen and Danny Dichio while making poor big money signings like Ned Zelic and Mark Hateley. They’d finished the campaign reasonably well – with big home wins against Everton, West Ham and Southampton – but a lousy run of form over Christmas coupled with damaging defeats on the road and a late set back at relegation rivals Coventry relegated Ray Wilkins’ men with a game to spare.
Reading, despite playing in one of the First Division’s most run down stadiums, could count themselves unfortunate not to be a Premier League side by this point. The prior 1995/96 season had ended with a disappointing seventeenth place finish but the year before they’d finished second in the First Division which, uniquely, was good enough for only a play-off spot that year as the top flight slimmed down its number from an initial 22 teams. They recovered from the disappointment of missing out on the title by a single point to Middlesbrough by beating Tranmere over a two legged play off semi-final which set up a final with Bolton. The Royals, managed jointly by experienced player Jimmy Quinn and Mick Gooding, surged into a two goal lead inside the first 12 minutes but eventually lost 4-3 after extra time with Fabian de Freitas coming at half time with Bolton two goals down and scoring twice in the victory.
By the time 1996/97 rolled around Reading were bobbing around in lower midtable with just four wins to their name in the league from the first 17 league games. Crystal Palace had already been to the dilapidated Elm Park and won 6-1.
QPR had endured a tumultuous start to their attempt to bounce back to the big time. Ray Wilkins had kept his job despite the relegation and begun to spend some of new owner Chris Wright’s millions on the team. The R’s won their first two matches but lost striker Gallen in the act of scoring the winning goal at Portsmouth and then drew at Wolves before losing at home to Bolton. Wilkins was then either sacked, or resigned, depending on who you believe.
Nick Blackburn, brought on board by Wright and later chairman of the club, told A Kick Up The R’s: “What happened was, we asked Ray to come to the board meeting. We were nearly all new directors, and we asked him to set out how he worked, how many scouts he had, was he watching games, did he prefer playing, how could he play and keep himself fit and watch players, all this kind of thing. It was fine. At the end of the meeting, when Ray had gone, Clive Berlin said, ‘I don’t think Ray will make a manager’. We all said, ‘Look, come on, let’s give him a chance.’ Next morning, Ray rang up and resigned. He’d booked a flight that day to go and see a midfield player in Scotland called Dave Bowman, who played for Dundee United. But Ray cancelled the flight and resigned. We think one of the directors rang him up and told him about those comments. I know for certain it wasn’t one of the new directors. We were new to it. We didn’t really know the inside of football that well and however much you think you know about it, nothing really prepares you for it. When Ray resigned, he then went out and told people he had been sacked.”
A pursuit of Alan Curbishley from Charlton fell flat and Rangers eventually plumped for Arsenal assistant boss Stewart Houston who had impressed during several caretaker manager spells at Highbury. Houston however brought his former boss at Arsenal Bruce Rioch in as assistant and initially laboured in the transfer market despite having money to spend and obvious problems with the squad to fix.
Blackburn said: “We had Matt Jackson on loan at the time, who I thought was a decent player, and Stewart said, ‘I’m not going to sign him until I’ve watched him a few more times.’ So Matt said, “I’m not going to stay here on trial” and went back to Everton. I always remember, Stewart started quite well and then the club slipped down the table, yet he had money available. But he just wouldn’t sign anyone. Chris was away and he rang me up one day and said; ‘Tell Stewart, if he doesn’t sign anybody, I’m going to sign some fucking players’, because we were still slipping down the table.”
The cheque book finally came out in mid-November. Rangers had won just two of the previous 12 and had lost the previous two games 3-0 at Crystal Palace and 2-1 at home to Charlton for whom former QPR favourite Bradley Allen scored a late winner. The Loftus Road faithful needed a pick-me-up and it arrived in the form of a double signing from Chelsea: striker John Spencer for a club record £2.25m, and former Rangers youth team graduate Gavin Peacock on loan with a view to a £1m permanent transfer. Expectation shot through the roof, and the terrace behind the Elm Park goal was absolutely heaving that Saturday as the new look Super Hoops emerged into the watery autumn sunshine.
My grandfather was never much of a tipster. The old regulars of The Goldhawk still reminisce about the time he took a score from each of them to place on a “dead cert” greyhound tip he’d had from his Asian barber back at home in Cleethorpes only to have a late change of heart in the bookies when the odds drifted out on a rival which he subsequently backed instead and then watched in horror as it banged its head on the roof of the trap on the way out and collapsed while the dog he should have backed won by several dozen lengths. Or the infamous seven horse accumulator at Aintree that got progressively worse as the day went on culminating in the last race of the day where his nag fell at the first and had the screens brought out. Later, in the 500s Club at Goodison Park, he told new Everton chairman Peter Johnson he thought he’d be a tremendous success – six months later the home fans were invading the pitch demanding Johnson resigned.
Dear old Tom died three days after the Reading game. We’d found him, somewhat bizarrely, disorientated and breathless in the toilets of a Little Chef on the way down to the game but thought nothing of it as he continued with the day’s drinking as usual. That Tuesday he had a heart attack while picking my cousin up from school. He died happy though, both with his life and his football. He’d tipped Houston as the best man for the manager’s job a long time before he was appointed and while disappointed we hadn’t signed his other tip – one of his few good ones – Grimsby’s Clive Mendonca he liked Spencer as well.
Four minutes after half time the tiny Scottish striker lashed an unstoppable shot past goalkeeper Thomas Wright – who’d replaced previous incumbent Shaka Hislop between the sticks at Reading – and raced off towards the jubilant QPR fans pointing to the name on his back and screaming “I’m your fucking man.” It was a wonderful moment. It felt like QPR were finally getting things together, and in Spencer they had a genuine goal scoring threat who could fire them up the league. The R’s subsequently won eight and drew two of their next 11 games and Spencer scored three goals in his first four appearances. He finished the season with 18 goals from 29 starts for the Hoops.
But, as usual, my grandfather was wrong, and as ever the dawn over Loftus Road proved false: Rangers only finished eighth, and subsequently bankrupted themselves trying to get back into the top flight; Houston proved a poor manager, unable to make the step up from assistant and coach to number one and undermined by his decision to appoint Rioch as his assistant; Spencer lost interest after a falling out with Rioch and actually ended up out on loan at Everton in the Premier League while Rangers struggled against relegation in the league below. It took the club 15 years to recover from that disastrous spell between 1995 and 1997.
And that day at Reading didn’t end well either. Inspired by former R’s trainee Michael Meaker and striker Trevor Morley, who seemed to be a perennial scourge of QPR around this time, Reading rallied. Morley scored after 73 minutes and his strike partner Lee Nogan got a second ten minutes from time. A seemingly certain victory drained away almost as quickly as the feel good factor. Twas ever thus.
Reading: Wright, Bernal (Parkinson 82), Bodin, Hunter, McPherson, Gooding, Gilkes, Caskey (Lambert 66), Meaker, Morley, Nogan
Subs not used: Quinn
Goals: Morley 73, Nogan 80
Bookings: Meaker, Hunter
QPR: Roberts, Maddix, McDonald, Ready, Brevett, Impey, Barker, Peacock, Sinclair, Charles (Dichio 81), Spencer
Subs not used: Dykstra, Brazier
Goals: Spencer 49
Bookings: Barker, McDonald
QPR 0 Reading 1, Saturday December 12, 2020, Championship
QPR couldn’t make the return of a limited crowd to Loftus Road count on the pitch when these sides met in December. A promising first half in which Osman Kakay probably missed the best of the chances gave way to a tepid second which swung on two late long range shots. Ilias Chair’s hit the inside of the post and rebounded away to safety, Michael Olise’s found the bottom corner a minute from time to win the game.
QPR: Dieng 6; Kakay 5 (Kane 72, 6), Dickie 7, Barbet 6, Hämäläinen 5; Cameron 5, Carroll 7; Willock 6 (Adomah 57, 5), Chair 7, Osayi-Samuel 6 (Bonne 79, 5); Dykes 5
Subs not used: Ball, Bettache, Masterson, Thomas, Kelman, Kelly
Bookings: Carroll 67 (foul)
Reading: Cabral 6; Esteves 7 (Holmes 65, 6), Morrison 6, Moore 8, Richards 6 (Gibson 27, 7); Rinomhota 6; Aluko 5 (Olise 65, 8), Lauren 7, Ejaria 7, Semedo 6; Baldock 5 (McIntyre 87, -)
Subs not used: Southwood, Melvin-Lambert, Watson, East, Onen
Goals: Olise 89 (unassisted)
Reading 1 QPR 0, Thursday December 26, 2019, Championship
QPR dominated for long periods and missed a string of presentable chances before succumbing to a long range Jon Swift goal when these sides last met on Boxing Day. Swift’s second half 25 yarder was worthy of winning any game but Jordan Hugill twice missed from close range late on, the first after Ilias Chair had hit the underside of the bar from distance, and although Ebere Eze’s one-two and round the world drag back to beat the keeper was mesmeric he should have made sure with his finish from four yards.
Reading: Rafael 8; Gunter 6, Moore 6, Morrison 6, Blackett 7; Ejaria 7 (Boye 86, -), Swift 8 (Olise 84, -), Adam 7 (Rinomhota 74, 6), Gomes 6; Joao 6. Meite 6
Subs not used: Walker, Miazga, Loader, Obita
Goals: Swift 52 (unassisted)
Yellow Cards: Gunter 74 (foul)
QPR: Lumley 7; Kane 5, Leistner 7, Hall 6, Manning 6; Cameron 5 (Smith 68, 5), Amos 6; Osayi-Samuel 6 (Wells 83, -), Eze 7, Pugh 5 (Chair 61, 6); Hugill 5
Subs not used: Barnes, Wallace, Scowen, Ball
QPR 2 Reading 2, Tuesday November 22, 2019, Championship
In form QPR were caught somewhat cold in what was meant to be a banker home win against Reading back in November. Rangers were in the play off spots and the Royals firmly in the bottom three ahead of the game, but the appointment of Mark Bowen and a totally new formation brought the visitors out in unexpectedly good form. Liam Kelly twice had to save well to stop them going in front before Nahki Wells drilled in the opener. Any relief that goal provided was short lived as Puskas ran in behind and finished well from a tight angle almost straight from the kick off for 1-1. Although Jodan Hugill made it 2-1 after half time, Rangers were left to lament a blatant penalty for handball not being awarded their way in the first half – despite the referee putting his whistle in his mouth and initially looking like he was going to award it. Sam Baldock’s close range leveller made it all the more telling.
QPR: Kelly 6; Rangel 6 (Kane 46, 5), Leistner 5, Barbet 6, Manning 6; Chair 6 (Pugh 77, 5), Scowen 7, Cameron 6, Eze 6; Wells 7 (Amos 67, 5), Hugill 6
Subs not used: Lumley, Ball, Mlakar, Osayi-Samuel
Goals: Wells 29 (assisted Eze), Hugill 58 (assisted Wells)
Bookings: Hugill 90+1 (retaliation), Eze 90+5 (foul, laughable)
Reading: Barbosa 6; Miazga 6, Morrison 7, Moore 6; Yiadom 7, Swift 8, Ejaria 8 (Gomes 90+2, -), Rinomhota 7 (McCleary 67, 6), Richards 6; Puskas 7, Baldock 7
Subs not used: Walker, Loader, McIntyre, Blackett
Goals: Puscas 31 (assisted Ejaria), Baldock 74 (assisted Yiadom)
Bookings: Rinomhota 56 (foul), Miazga 90+1 (persistent cuntishness)
QPR 0 Reading 0, Saturday December 29, 2018, Championship
Queens Park Rangers were actually flying when these two teams met at Loftus Road in Christmas 2018. Consecutive wins against Ipswich and Middlesbrough at Loftus Road, and a first ever success at Nottingham Forest’s City Ground, had propelled them into the play off picture and a home match against second bottom Reading looked an ideal chance to advance further. As it turned out, however, this was to be the start of a dire run that would almost see Rangers sucked into the relegation picture and cost manager Steve McClaren his job. A nil nil draw was achieved only through Joe Lumley’s best performance of the season, with Reading much the better of the two teams on the day. QPR would win only three of their final 23 league games from this point.
QPR: Lumley 8; Furlong 6, Leistner 7, Lynch 6, Bidwell 6; Scowen 6 (Smith 90+3, -), Cousins 5; Wszolek 7, Eze 5 (Chair 90, -), Freeman 6; Wells 6
Subs not used: Ingram, Hall, Oteh, Osayi-Samuel, Kakay
Bookings: Cousins 48 (foul), Scowen 52 (foul), Furlong 70 (foul)
Reading: Jaakkola 8; Yiadom 7, Ilori 6, O’Shea 6, Richards 7; Rinomhota 6, Swift 8; McCleary 7 (Sims 90, -), Aluko 6 (Loader 82, -), Barrow 7; Meite 5 (Bodvarsson 82, -)
Subs not used: Mannone, Meyler, Kelly, Osho
Bookings: Swift 62 (foul), O’Shea 68 (foul)
Reading 0 Queens Park Rangers 1, Tuesday October 2, 2018, Championship
QPR’s recovery from a nightmare start to the season was really starting to get underway when they won at Reading in October 2018. Switching to the 4-2-3-1 system which has served them so well since for the first time, Rangers dominated throughout at the Madejski Stadium and should have won by more than a single goal. Nahki Wells, Ebere Eze and Toni Leistner had all headed just wide or over from presentable crosses while Walker in the home goal saved well from Wells and Eze before half time. Walker was equal to a long range Jordan Cousins effort in the second half too but from the resulting corner and ensuing scramble, Toni Leistner poked in his first goal for the club which turned out to be the winner. Meite hit the post for the hosts but they spent most of the second half diving for penalties – three separate appeals rightly waved away by referee Andy Davies and two yellow cards issued.
Reading: Walker 6; Gunter 5, Ilori 5, Moore 6, Yiadom 7; Bacuna 5, Kelly 5 (Swift 67, 5); Barrow 6, Ezatolahi 5 (McNulty 79, 5), Aluko 5 (Sims 65, 5); Méïté 6
Subs not used: Mannone, Blackett, Rinomhota, Loader
Bookings: Méïté 55 (diving), Ezatolahi 68 (diving), Sims 70 (foul)
QPR: Lumley 6; Rangel 6, Leistner 7, Lynch 6, Bidwell 6; Cameron 5, Luongo 6; Cousins 6 (Wszolek 82, -), Eze 6 (Scowen 80, -), Freeman 7; Wells 7
Subs not used: Ingram, Hall, Osayi-Samuel, Smith
Goals: Leistner 64 (assisted Freeman/Cameron)
Reading 1 Queens Park Rangers 0, Friday March 30, 2018, Championship
It’s likely Reading would have been relegated the season before but for an act of charity from QPR late in March. Having somehow contrived to concede a goal from 30 yards by Sone Aluko early in the game Rangers then dominated the whole match but failed to score, culminating in Vito Mannone saving Jake Bidwell’s penalty in injury time.
Reading: Mannone 8; Gunter 6, Ilori 6, Moore 6, Blackett 6; van den Berg 6 (Bacuna 55, 6), Edwards 6; Aluko 7, Swift 6 (Evans 84, -), Barrow 6; Martin 5 (Kermorgant 62, 3)
Subs not used: Clement, Jaakkola, Smith, Holmes
Goals: Aluko 13 (unassisted)
Red Cards: Kermorgant 81 (two yellows)
Bookings: Martin 21 (foul), Kermorgant 70 (foul), Kermorgant 81 (foul), Aluko 90+2 (time wasting)
QPR: Smithies 6; Furlong 7, Onuoha 7, Lynch 6, Bidwell 4; Cousins 6 (Luongo 67, 6), Scowen 6, Freeman 7; Wszolek 6, Smyth 7 (Eze 74, 6), Washington 5 (Smith 58, 6)
Subs not used: Ingram, Manning, Robinson, Sylla
Bookings: Bidwell 57 (foul), Freeman 69 (foul), Lynch 82 (foul)
Queens Park Rangers 2 Reading 0, Saturday August 5, 2017, Championship
QPR shrugged aside a summer of negativity and pessimism to defeat the losing play-off finalists on the opening day at Loftus Road. Reading had only missed promotion to the Premier League by losing a penalty shoot-out against Huddersfield at Wembley in May but were comprehensively outplayed by Rangers on day one, hinting at the season of struggle to come in Berkshire. Conor Washington scored either side of half time – the second remains QPR’s only penalty this season to date – to secure a comfortable 2-0 win and get the R’s off to a flyer.
QPR: Smithies 7; Perch 7, Onuoha 8, Lynch 7; Wszolek 8, Bidwell 7 (Robinson 87, -); Scowen 8, Luongo 8, Freeman 8; Washington 7 (Sylla 81, -), Mackie 7 (Ngbakoto 83, -)
Subs not used: Furlong, Ingram, Borysiuk, Smith
Goals: Washington 22 (assisted Wszolek), 59 (penalty, won Wszolek)
Bookings: Lynch (foul)
Reading: Mannone 5; Gunter 5, Moore 6, Illori 5, Blackett 5; Kelly 6, Evans 5, Popa 5, Clement 5 (Barrow 52, 6); Swift 6 (Mendes 82, -); Bodvarsson 4 (Richards 59, 5)
Subs not used: Jaakkola, Rinomhota, Richards, Smith
Red Cards: Illori 56 (professional foul)
Bookings: Bodvarsson 28 (foul) Barrow 90+2 (foul)
Reading 0 QPR 1, Thursday January 12, 2017, Championship
QPR’s dire end to 2016/17 sadly undid a lot of the good work and optimism that had built through January, February and March as Ian Holloway’s plan for the team seemed to click into gear and begin to work. That began with a dominant display and deserved victory at high-flying Reading live on Sky in mid-January – the Royals first home defeat of the season in the league. A well-worked goal by Jamie Mackie which owed much to clever approach work by Pawel Wszolek and Ryan Manning settled the game but Idrissa Sylla, Mackie and Joel Lynch all came close to adding a second goal. Yann Kermorgant hit the bar late on with a header he should have scored but Rangers were good value for their victory.
Reading: Al Habsi 5; Gunter 6, Moore 6, Van Den Berg 6, Obita 5; Kelly 6; Beerens 6, Williams 6, Swift 6 (Meite 73, 5), McCleary 6; Kermorgant 4
Subs not used: Cooper, Evans, Samuel, Wieser, Watson, Moore
Bookings: Moore 85 (handball), van den Berg 89 (foul)
QPR: Smithies 6; Furlong 7, Onuoha 7, Lynch 7, Bidwell 7; Manning 7 (Doughty 86, -), Hall 8, Luongo 7; Mackie 7 (Comley 90+2, -), Wszolek 8, Sylla 7 (Lua Lua 73, 6)
Subs not used: Ingram, El Khayati, Shodipo, Ngbakoto
Goals: Mackie 28 (assisted Manning)
Bookings: Mackie 33 (kicking ball away), Wszolek 87 (foul)
QPR 1 Reading 1, Saturday October 10, 2016, Championship
Things started well for Rangers in the first meeting between these sides that season. Mide Shodipo’s drive through the heart of the visitors and deft chipped pass set Pawel Wszolek away for a well finished opener after 11 minutes. But Reading were level soon after when Dan Williams was left unattended at the back post for a simple equaliser and although Seb Polter headed a second half corner wide when he should have scored it was only a string of saves from Alex Smithies that kept the score level in a lifeless encounter.
QPR: Smithies 7; Perch 5, Onuoha 5, Hall 6 (Caulker 35,5) Lynch 5; Henry 5, Borysiuk 6; Shodipo 5 (Washington 53,6), Chery 5, Wzsolek 6 (Sylla 73, 5) ; Polter 6
Subs not used: Ingam, Gladwin, Hamalainen, Luongo
Goals: Wzsolek 11 (assisted Shodipo)
Bookings: Lynch 56 (foul)
Reading: Al-Habsi 6; Blackett 5 (Obita 66, 6), van den Berg 6, Moore 6, Gunter 6; Evans 7, Williams 8; McCleary 7 (Harriot 84, 6), Swift 7, Beerens 7, Kermogant 7
Subs not used: Samuel, Gravenberch, Watson, Jaakkola, Kelly
Goals: Williams 21 (assisted McCleary)
Bookings: van den Berg 49 (foul)
QPR 1 Reading 1, Saturday April 23, 2016, Championship
A standard midtable Championship match between these two played out to a 1-1 draw at Loftus Road in April 2016. QPR had tested Ali Al Habsi, who’d gifted them a win in the corresponding fixture, with a free kick from Tjaronn Chery and a shot on the turn from Seb Polter before Grant Hall scored his first goal for the club – a towering back post header back over the keeper from Ale Faurlin’s beautifully flighted corner. But Reading had been pinging dangerous shots in on Matt Ingram long before Latvian Deniss Rakels struck an equaliser five minutes before half time and a draw was a justified, if fairly dull, outcome.
QPR: Ingram 7; Perch 6, Onuoha 6, Hall 7, Kpekawa 6; Luongo 6, Faurlin 7; Gladwin 7 (El Khayati 70, 6), Chery 6 (Washington 87, -), Phillips 6 (Petrasso 77, 6); Polter 6
Subs not used: Hill, Lumley, Diakite, Hoilett
Goals: Hall 35 (assisted Faurlin)
Reading: Al Habsi 7; McCleary 6, Ferdinand 6, Cooper 6, Taylor 6 (Gunter 77, 6); Evans 6, Norwood 7, Cox 6, Quinn 6 (Hector 71, 6); Kermorgant 6 (Vydra 81, -); Rakels 7
Subs not used: Bond, Piazon, John, Barrett
Goals: Rakels 41 (assisted Kermorgant)
Bookings: Norwood 24 (foul)
Reading 0 QPR 1, Thursday December 3, 2015, Championship
Neil Warnock signed off his second spell at the club with a last gasp win at Reading back in December that season, on the eve of Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink's arrival as manager. The result was somewhat fortuitous, with Reading enjoying much more of the ball and chances, and striking the bar in the second half when Robert Green inexplicably allowed Nathan Blackman's free kick to fly right past him and flush against the woodwork. The winning goal, in stoppage time, owed much to a goalkeeping error at the other end as Ali Al Habsi inexplicably fumbled a tame header from Nedum Onuoha into the net off a late corner.
Reading: Al Habsi 3; Gunter 6, Hector 5, Ferdinand 6, Taylor 5; McCleary 6, Fernandez 5 (Robson Kanu 73, 5), Williams 6, Norwood 7; Blackman 6 (John 80, -), Vydra 5 (Sa 80, -)
Subs not used: Bond, Obita, Hurtado, Cooper
Booked: Norwood 67 (foul)
QPR: Green 5; Perch 5, Onuoha 7, Hall 6, Konchesky 5; Phillips 5, Fer 5, Sandro 7, Faurlin 7, Petrasso 6 (Austin 63, 6), Hoilett 6 (Chery 76, 6)
Subs not used: Henry, Angella, Smithies, Angella, Tozser
Goals: Onuoha 89 (assisted Faurlin)
Booked: Fer 28 (foul), Hall 40 (deliberate handball)
QPR 1 Reading 3, Sunday February 16, 2014, Championship
Although Harry Redknapp's QPR side went on to win promotion at Wembley in 2014, they endured a prolonged loss of form through the spring when Charlie Austin was out injured. One of several attempts at replacing the talismanic front man, Kevin Doyle, bundled a goal in against his former club Reading at Loftus Road in February but it was only an equaliser after Danny Williams had headed the visitors in front. After half time Pearce was able to head home unmarked at a corner, and Garath McCleary made the most of Benoit Assou Ekotto's disinterest by moving into acres of space and pinging in a third from long range.
QPR: Green 6; Hughes 5, Dunne 5, Hill 6, Assou-Ekotto 5 (Benayoun 78, 5); Hoilett 6, Kranjcar 5, Barton 6, Traore 6; Doyle 6, Keane 6 (Zamora 57, 5)
Subs not used: Onuoha, Jenas, Henry, Murphy, Maiga
Goals: Doyle 20 (assisted Traore/Hoilett/Keane)
Bookings: Hoilett 14 (foul), Hill 25 (foul), Barton 60 (foul), Kranjcar 62 (foul)
Reading: McCarthy 6; Gunter 6, Gorkss 6, Pearce 7, Obita 7; McCleary 8 (Kelly 90+3, -), Williams 8, Akpan 7, McAnuff 7; Pogrebnyak 6 (Robson-Kanu 85, -), Le Fondre 7 (Hector 73, 6)
Subs not used: Federici, Drenthe, Guthrie, Blackman
Goals: Williams 10 (assisted Le Fondre), Pearce 56 (assisted McAnuff), McCleary 58 (unassisted)
Sent off: Gorkss 70 (serious foul play)
Bookings: Williams 29 (foul), McCleary 46 (foul), Obita 90 (foul)
Reading 1 QPR 1, Saturday November 9, 2013, Championship
Reading were grateful to their goalkeeper Alex McCarthy for holding QPR at bay when these two sides met live on Sky in November 2013. McCarthy saved well from Charlie Austin twice and Matt Phillips once in the first five minutes of the match, and Junior Hoilett hit the cross bar from long range. When a long range strike from Garath McCleary deceived Robert Green on the hour it looked like being a tale of two goalkeepers but a late free kick from Joey Barton restored parity and a point was the least Rangers deserved for one of their better away performances of the season.
Reading: McCarthy 8; Gunter 6, Morrison 6, Gorkss 5, Kelly 5; McCleary 7 (McAnuff 89, -), Guthrie 6 (Akpan 89, -), Baird 6, Obita 5; Pogrebnyak 6 Robson-Kanu 6 (Sharp 89, -)
Subs not used: Federici, Pearce, Cummings, Le Fondre
Goals: McCleary 62 (unassisted)
Bookings: Pogrebnyak 66 (foul)
QPR: Green 7; Simpson 7, Hill 6, Dunne 6 (Onuoha 46, 6), Assou Ekotto 6; Barton 7, O’Neil 6 (Johnson 66, 7); Phillips 7, Jenas 5 (Kranjcar 31, 5), Hoilett 7; Austin 6
Subs not used: Traore, Chevanton, Murphy, Henry
Goals: Barton 76 (free kick, won Austin)
Bookings: Assou-Ekotto 44 (foul)
Reading 0 QPR 0, Sunday April 28, 2013, Premier League
Rangers and the Royals bizarrely managed to relegate each other when they met in a dreadful encounter at the Madejski Stadium in 2012/13. Marooned as the bottom two in the Premier League after a string of poor results they had effectively had their fate sealed over the previous weeks, but a bore draw in front of the Sky cameras at the Madejski Stadium mathematically sealed both teams’ fates. It was a game best remembered for Jose Bosingwa, substituted in the second half of a lousy personal performance, laughing his way down the tunnel at the final whistle as QPR geared up for life in the Championship.
Reading: McCarthy 6, Gunter 6, Mariappa 6, Morrison 6, Kelly 5 (Harte 76, 6), Karacan 5, Guthrie 6, McAnuff 7, McLeary 6 (Le Fondre 64, 6), Blackman 6 (Robson Kanu 55, 6), Pogrebnyak 5
Subs not used: Taylor, Pearce, Caricco, Hunt
QPR: Green 6, Bosingwa 4 (Da Silva 73, 5), Onuoha 7, Hill 6, Traore 6, Granero 6, Mbia 6 (Mackie 89, -), Jenas 6, Taarabt 5 (Hoilett 68, 5), Bothroyd 5, Remy 5
Subs not used: Cesar, Ben Haim, Derry, Park
Bookings: Granero 71 (foul), Da Silva 90 (foul)
QPR 1 Reading 1, Sunday November 4, 2012, Premier League
QPR’s winless run at the start of last season stretched out to ten league matches with another poor performance and result against lowly Reading at Loftus Road in November that season. The Royals had already been to W12 and triumphed 3-2 in the League Cup the month before, and those familiar defensive fragilities were on display again when former QPR favourite Kaspars Gorkss scored from a set piece after a quarter of an hour – his second goal in as many appearances against his former employers. Rangers rallied slightly after half time and Djibril Cisse seized on a through ball from Jose Bosingwa to notch an equaliser, but the display and scoreline left a lot to be desired. Things deteriorated further with subsequent defeats against Stoke and Southampton which ultimately saw Mark Hughes sacked as manager.
QPR: Cesar 6, Bosingwa 4, Ferdinand 4, Nelsen 8, Traore 5 (Onuoha 84 -), Hoilett 6, Granero 6, Diakite 7, Taarabt 7, Mackie 5 (Zamore 81,-), Cisse 6
Subs Not Used: Green, Hill, Derry, Wright-Phillips, Faurlin
Goals: Cisse 66 (assisted Bosingwa)
Reading: McCarthy 8, Gunter 6, Morrison 6, Gorkss 7, Shorey 6, McCleary 5 (Kebe 62, 7), Tabb 7, Leigertwood 7, McAnuff 6 (Robson-Kanu 79, 6), Roberts 7 (Le Fondre 88, -), Hunt 6
Subs: Federici, Pearce, Cummings, Pogrebnyak
Goals: Gorkss 16 (assisted Morrison)
Bookings: Hunt 33 (foul), Le Fondre 90 (diving)
QPR 2 Reading 3, Wednesday September 26, 2012, League Cup
After a patchy start to the campaign, QPR’s 2012/13 season really started to come off the rails in September when newly promoted West Ham and Reading both came to Loftus Road and won, scoring six goals between them in the process. The Royals went first, without a win themselves in the league and fielding a mixture of first and reserve teams for a League Cup clash. QPR stuck their first choice 11 out there and seemed to be on course for due reward when Junior Hoilett powered through the visiting defence and scored his first QPR goal. Although Reading subsequently equalised when former QPR defender Kaspars Gorkss headed in a free kick, the home side restored their advantage after half time with a fabulous long range strike from Djibril Cisse. That looked like being that, but a physical Reading side forced their way back in and a mixture of their persistence and QPR’s defensive incompetence allowed first Nicky Shorey to curl in a long range free kick and then Pavel Pogrebnyak to back heel in from close range. The Russian subsequently missed a stoppage time penalty that would have made it 4-2. Reading went on to lose 7-5 to Arsenal in remarkable circumstances in the next round.
QPR: Cesar 6, Dyer 6 (Nelsen 64, 5), Mbia 6, Hill 7, Onuoha 5, Mackie 5, Granero 6, Faurlin 7 (Diakite 87, -), Park 5 (Zamora 67, 6), Hoilett 6, Cisse 6
Subs not used: Green, Derry, Wright Phillips, Ehmer
Goals: Hoilett 14 (unassisted), Cisse 71 (unassisted)
Bookings: Mbia 26 (foul), Cisse 71 (over celebrating)
Reading: McCarthy 7, Cummings 6, Gorkss 7, Mariappa 6 (Morrison 79, -), Shorey 7, Kebe 6 (McCleary 69, 6), Karacan 6, Tabb 6, Robson Kanu 6, Pogrebniak 6, Hunt 7
Subs not used: Taylor, Gunter, McAnuff, Le Fondre, Church
Goals: Gorkss 15 (assisted Shorey), Shorey 76 (unassisted – free kick), Pogrebnyak 81 (assisted Hunt)
Bookings: Kebe 60 (foul), Robson Kanu 84 (dissent)
Head to Head >>> QPR wins 40 >>> Draws 23 >>> Reading wins 32
2020/21 QPR 0 Reading 1
2019/20 Reading 1 QPR 0
2019/20 QPR 2 Reading 2 (Wells, Hugill)
2018/19 QPR 0 Reading 0
2018/19 Reading 0 QPR 1 (Leistner)
2017/18 Reading 1 QPR 0
2017/18 QPR 2 Reading 0 (Washington 2)
2016/17 Reading 0 QPR 1 (Mackie)
2016/17 QPR 1 Reading 1 (Wszolek)
2015/16 QPR 1 Reading 1 (Hall)
2015/16 Reading 0 QPR 1 (Onuoha)
2013/14 QPR 3 Reading 1 (Doyle)
2013/14 Reading 1 QPR 1 (Barton)
2012/13 QPR 1 Reading 1 (Cisse)
2012/13 QPR 2 Reading 3** (Hoilett, Cisse)
2010/11 Reading 0 QPR 1 (Routledge)
2010/11 QPR 3 Reading 1 (Taarabt, Faurlin, Smith)
2009/10 Reading 1 QPR 0
2009/10 QPR 4 Reading 1 (Buzsaky, Simpson, Vine, Agyemang)
2008/09 QPR 0 Reading 0
2008/09 Reading 0 QPR 0
2005/06 Reading 2 QPR 1 (Furlong)
2005/06 QPR 1 Reading 2 (Cook)
2004/05 QPR 0 Reading 0
2004/05 Reading 1 QPR 0
2001/02 Reading 1 QPR 0
2001/02 QPR 0 Reading 0
1997/98 QPR 1 Reading 1 (Spencer)
1997/98 Reading 1 QPR 2 (Spencer, Swales og)
1996/97 QPR 0 Reading 2
1996/97 Reading 2 QPR 1 (Spencer)
1966/67 QPR 2 Reading 1 (Marsh, R Morgan)
1966/67 Reading 2 QPR 2 ( Langley pen, I Morgan)
1965/66 Reading 2 QPR 1
1965/66 QPR 0 Reading 2
1964/65 Reading 4 QPR 0**
1964/65 Reading 5 QPR 3 (Keen 2, Bedford)
1964/65 QPR 0 Reading 1
1963/64 QPR 4 Reading 2 (Bedford, Kean, Leary, Vafiadis)
1963/64 Reading 1 QPR 2 (McLeod 2)
1962/63 Reading 1 QPR 1 ( Bedford )
1962/63 QPR 3 Reading 2 (Large, Collins, Malcolm)
1961/62 Reading 0 QPR 2 (Towers 2)
1961/62 QPR 3 Reading 6 (Lazarus 2, Angell)
1960/61 Reading 3 QPR 1 (Longbottom)
1960/61 QPR 5 Reading 2 (Bedford 2, Lazarus 2, Barber)
1959/60 Reading 2 QPR 0
1959/60 QPR 2 Reading 0 (Andrews, Bedford )
1958/59 QPR 2 Reading 0 (Kerrins, Pearson)
1958/59 Reading 2 QPR 2 (Longbottom 2)
1957/58 QPR 3 Reading 0 (Woods, Longbottom, Petchey)
1957/58 Reading 3 QPR 0
1956/57 QPR 1 Reading 1 (Peacock)
1956/57 Reading 1 QPR 0
1955/56 Reading 3 QPR 1 (Cameron)
1955/56 QPR 3 Reading 3 (Smith 2, Angell)
1954/55 Reading 3 QPR 1 (Kerrins)
1954/55 QPR 2 Reading 3 (Shepherd, Smith)
1953/54 QPR 2 Reading 0 (Smith, Tomkys)
1953/54 Reading 3 QPR 1 (Shepherd)
1952/53 Reading 2 QPR 0
1952/53 QPR 1 Reading 0 ( Harrison )
1947/48 QPR 2 Reading 0 (Boxshall, Hatton)
1947/48 Reading 3 QPR 2 (Durrant, Boxshall)
1946/47 Reading 1 QPR 0
1946/47 QPR 2 Reading 0 (Heath, McEwen)
1938/39 QPR 2 Reading 2 (Bott, Devine)
1938/39 Reading 2 QPR 4 (Fitzgerlad 2, Bott, Fulwood og)
1937/38 QPR 3 Reading 0 (Fitzgerald 2, Stock)
1937/38 Reading 1 QPR 0
1936/37 Reading 2 QPR 0
1936/37 QPR 0 Reading 0
1935/36 QPR 0 Reading 1
1935/36 Reading 1 QPR 2 (Cheetham 2)
1934/35 Reading 0 QPR 0
1934/35 QPR 2 Reading 0 (Dutton, Watson)
1933/34 Reading 5 QPR 0
1933/34 QPR 0 Reading 0
1932/33 Reading 3 QPR 1 (Goddard)
1932/33 QPR 0 Reading 3
1931/32 QPR 2 Reading 0 (Wiles 2)
1931/32 Reading 3 QPR 2 (Blackman 2)
1925/26 Reading 2 QPR 1 (Burgess)
1925/26 QPR 1 Reading 2 ( Campbell )
1924/25 QPR 1 Reading 0 (Johnson)
1924/25 Reading 2 QPR 1 (Hart)
1923/24 Reading 4 QPR 0
1923/24 QPR 1 Reading 4 (Birch)
1922/23 Reading 0 QPR 0
1922/23 QPR 1 Reading 0 ( Davis )
1921/22 QPR 1 Reading 1 (Birch)
1921/22 Reading 0 QPR 1 (Gregory)
1920/21 Reading 0 QPR 0
1920/21 QPR 2 Reading 0 (Gregory, Smith)
1907/08 QPR 1 Reading 0* (Barnes)
* - FA Cup
** - League Cup
Brian Bedford >>> QPR 1959-1965 >>> Reading 1954-1955
Welsh born centre forward with an astonishing goal scoring record during his six years with QPR – second only to George Goddard in Rangers’ all-time scoring charts.
Bedford initially attracted the attention of Charlton while in the RAF but went on to make only a handful of appearances for Reading and Southampton as a youngster before catching QPR’s eye with 32 league goals in 75 appearances along the south coast at Bournemouth.
Alec Stock paid a whopping £750 to bring him to Loftus Road from Dean Court and he proceeded to terrorise the Third Division over the coming years. He scored 180 goals for Rangers in 283 appearances, including seven against Bournemouth in meetings with his former employers.
In 1960/61 he scored 37 goals in 48 appearances but QPR narrowly missed out on promotion into the Second Division. Two seasons after he left for Scunthorpe Stock’s QPR side cruised to the title and League Cup success while Bedford scored a respectable 23 goals in 37 appearances for the Iron in 1965/66. He spent our double year down the road at Brentford before winding down his football career with the Atlanta Chiefs. He retired from the game aged 36 and then went on to be a professional tennis player for the next 17 years.
Bedford said: “I didn't pick up a tennis racket until I was 33, when I was playing football in the American league for Atlanta and living in Williamsburg. Some friends over there got me hooked on tennis and I carried on playing when I got back from England. After I retried in 1968 I got all the necessary tennis coaching qualifications and turned pro in 1970. I carried on in tennis until my knees have out but I spent a very happy 17 years coaching at the Barn Elms Sports Centre in Barnes.
"When I signed for QPR, Alec Stock had just been named as the new manager. I travelled up to West London to be interviewed by the Club and Alec said: 'You'll score 30 goals a year for me son.’ Just like that! So I said 'You're joking?' as my record down at Bournemouth was something like 32 goals over three years. But Alec said 'Yes you will!' And he wasn't far wrong, was he? Alec played a big part in my goal scoring. We used to play with those old fashioned players called wingers. We always seemed to get good wide men at the club like Mark Lazarus who could provide excellent crosses. So I was the benefactor of that.
"I recall that the top wage in the Third Division - which Rangers were in at the time - was about £35 to £40 a week. Ridiculous really, but it was still much better than the average working man's salary. Not only that, as far as I was concerned I was getting paid for something I loved doing. That was a big thing for me.
"Jim Gregory was appointed as chairman of QPR and he started pouring some money in with new players being signed. Unfortunately, I was just starting to go a little bit over the hill as far as age was concerned. I was nearly 32 years old then. The club had to offload some of the playing staff and I was one of them, I'm afraid. I had six very happy seasons at Rangers. Then they transferred me to that Godforsaken place called Scunthorpe. I don't think Alec Stock wanted me to sign for any other London team or any nearby club in case I embarrassed him. It was very sad. I didn't like leaving Loftus Road. But you have to move on don't you? That's life."
He worked later as a tennis coach, and the stadium manager at Loftus Road, before returning to Wales for his retirement.
A more fulsome interview with Brian is available on the always excellent QPRNet.com website.
Others >>> Jamie Mackie, QPR 2015-2018, 2010-2013, Reading (loan) 2014-2015 >>> Stephen Kelly, Reading 2003-2005, QPR (loan) 2003 >>> Alex McCarthy, QPR 2014-2015, Reading 2007-2014 >>> Kevin Doyle, QPR (loan) 2014, Reading 2005-2009 >>> Anton Ferdinand, Reading 2014-2016, QPR 2011-2013 >>> Matt Connolly, Reading (loan) 2012, QPR 2008-2012 >>> Kaspars Gorkss, Reading 2011-2015, QPR 2008-2011 >>> Mikele Leigertwood, Reading 2010-2014, QPR 2008-2011 >>> Jamie Cureton, QPR 2004-2005, Reading 2000-2003 >>> Tony Thorpe, QPR 2003-2005, Reading (loan) 1998 >>> Steve Morrow, QPR 1997-2001, Reading (loan) 1991 >>> Les Ferdinand, Reading 2005, QPR 1987-1995 >>> Simon Osborn, QPR 1995, Reading 1994-1995 >>> Michael Meaker, Reading 1995-1998, QPR 1990-1995 >>> Brian Bedford, QPR 1959-1965, Reading 1954-1955
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Letters from Wiltshire #48 by wessex_exile
“And now the end is near, and so we face the final curtain…regrets, we’ve had a few, but then again, too few to mention”. Not quite right Paul Anka, probably more than a few, but otherwise a fair assessment of where the U’s are today. It’ll be interesting to see how we perform with the relegation monkey finally off their back – I’m not expecting miracles, particularly with Tranmere needing at least a point to guarantee making the play-offs, but they’ll certainly be more nervous than we will be, so can we make that count? This will be my last blog of the season, and not yet sure what I may or may not do for next season, but suggestions are always welcome.
Letters from Wiltshire #47 by wessex_exile
Here we are, at the penultimate game of the season, and our last game in front of the cardboard U’s faithful at the JobServe. It has been a long, difficult, and definitely strange season, which frankly I’ll be glad to see the back of. That’ll we’ll be here again in August is definitely going to be something to celebrate, but I suspect we’re facing a summer of significant rebuilding both on the pitch, and possibly off it too. I won’t be the only one, but the biggest oddity for me has been being able to watch every single game – not always easy viewing, but something I’ve never done before, and probably never will again. But it doesn’t really make up for not being there in person, the long train journey away-days, meeting fellow U’s and other supporters, and of course sharing a beer or three. Fingers-crossed we can return to the terraces in 2021/22.
Letters from Wiltshire #46 by wessex_exile
That was quite a week for us all then. In the space of four short but remarkably tense days we have gone from having to take shoes and socks off to check how many more points we need to guarantee survival, or whether we would even achieve it, to breathing a huge sigh of relief knowing we’re almost there. But close of play this afternoon, whether by our own actions or the failure of others, I am sure survival will be confirmed. Of course, Tuesday night not only all but guaranteed it, it also virtually condemned local rivals Southend United to non-league football for the foreseeable. Looking at the host of fully professional former football league sides currently battling it out for the two promotion slots out of the National league (including Hartlepool, Torquay, Stockport, Wrexham, Chesterfield and Notts County), it is not going to be a walk in the park for Southend to return any day soon.
Letters from Wiltshire #45 by wessex_exile
Tonight, Colchester United face Southend United in what may not necessarily be the most important game of our respective histories (though it’s certainly very close), but is almost certainly the most important Essex derby ever. However this season pans out, by the end of it there’ll either be only one team in Essex, or worst case scenario, none at all. If the U’s win, then Southend will be 9pts behind with just three games to go, and a minimum of a -12 goal difference to overturn if they want to overtake us. Certainly mathematically possible, but that would rely on a remarkable turnaround in their form, form that they’ve shown precious little sign of achieving so far this season. The stalking horse is Grimsby, with their game in hand, who have rather belatedly shown an improvement in form, so their match against automatic promotion chasing Morecambe tonight is equally important, particularly if we want to avoid the unthinkable, with both Essex clubs dropping out of the league.
Letters from Wiltshire #44 by wessex_exile
So here we are, as the nation mourns the passing of His Royal Highness, Duke of Edinburgh, the U’s face the first of two season-defining moments, with our late kick-off match at home to Walsall. Before then, no doubt many will have been focused on events elsewhere, not least the early kick-offs for Grimsby (at home to promotion-chasing Bolton Wanderers), and particularly Essex rivals Southend United, who faced a tricky visit to Exeter City – still very much in the hunt for at least a play-off spot. As I finalise this blog, I know that Grimsby have beaten Bolton 2-1, and Southend earned a credible 0-0 draw in the West Country. More to the point, the U’s will know this too. Whilst I can’t help but feel that will ought to be to our advantage, it surely must also put additional pressure on a squad whose confidence is paper-thin. We must hope that Hayden Mullins, assisted by Paul Tisdale, get their heads right, and send the lads out this evening fired up with self-belief.
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