QPR’s Premiership Years – Ten best goals scored
Sunday, 12th Jun 2011 19:39 by Clive Whittingham
LoftforWords begins its look back at QPR’s four previous Premiership seasons with a countdown of the ten best goals the R’s scored between 1992 and 1996.
Top ten best… Goals scored
1 – Les Ferdinand v Man Utd, December 10 1994
Later this week I will contest that Les Ferdinand was a good deal better than Didier Drogba is in modern day football and it’s goals like this one that make me believe that. Against the reigning, and soon to be crowned, champions Ferdinand gave QPR the lead at the exact midway point of the first half with a bolt out of the blue from the best part of 35 yards. He received the ball with his back to goal and was immediately challenged from behind by Ince, he used his strength to turn past the self styled ‘Guv’nor’ and the let rip with an incredible strike that was still rising as it rocketed into the top left corner of Gary Walsh’s net. The only thing that could have made this goal better was if it had gone past Schmeichel instead. Sadly Rangers quickly shipped three goals at the other end and although Ferdinand made it a brace later on with a powerful header he missed a sitter that would have made it 3-3 and a hat trick and Rangers finished the match on the wrong end of a 3-2 reverse.
2 – Les Ferdinand v Oldham, April 2 1994
Item two for the Drogba prosecution – Ferdinand took free kicks as well. While he never stepped up for penalties, robbing him of another five goals a season at least for his totals, a couple of his finest QPR goals came from long range set pieces. You’ll never see a free kick struck better than his goal at Boundary Park, which was boasting its usual unplayable mudbath pitch, icy wind and driving rain on the day. Ferdinand, from fully 30 yards, found the top corner with an immensely powerful strike that was all the more remarkable given it hadn’t been touched off to him and was still when he struck it. Ferdinand said: “Devon was brought down about 35 yards out. Usually David Bardsley takes our free kicks but he was injured at the time so I stepped up. I can remember Ray Wilkins saying just hit the target so I stepped up and it just rose into the top corner. Ray said ‘I didn’t mean to hit it as well as that, but that will do.’” Indeed.
3 – Simon Barker, v Sheff Wed, February 17, 1996
There weren’t many highlights from the 1995/96 season, in fact the campaign as a whole will almost exclusively provide content for our ‘worst moments’ feature later this week. However randomly, when all hope seemed lost, Rangers went up to Sheffield Wednesday where they had a dreadful record at the time and won 3-1 with an excellent performance. Wednesday had gone ahead early in the first half when Graham Hyde headed home and it looked like business as usual for QPR on the same ground where they lost five of their previous six games. But Barker equalised with a header of his own and then midway through the second half produced an outrageous goal to put the R’s in front. Trundling towards the left corner of the Wednesday penalty area in typically ambling style Barker, known as Mavis to the QPR fans, suddenly, for reasons known only to himself, decided to execute an ambitious 20 yard chip effort right across the face of the goal and into the far corner over the despairing, and somewhat surprised, Kevin Pressman. It was a ridiculous thing to even attempt but it produced a truly outstanding goal. Rangers went on to win 3-1 when Gregory Goodridge scored his one and only goal for the club direct from an injury time corner that referee Paul Durkin had previously booked him for delaying and wasting time.
4 – David Bardsley v Southampton, August 19 1992
Rangers really hit the ground running with the Premiership got underway in 1992 and found themselves third in the table after the initial five games in August. That was a remarkable run considering they all came within a fortnight, and having taken part in the first ever Monday night football game on Sky the R’s then went toe to toe with Southampton at Loftus Road just 48 hours later – two of the goals in our top ten come from those first two Premiership fixtures. Matthew Le Tissier had given Southampton the lead but Les Ferdinand equalised and then David Bardsley brought the house down with a 25 yard free kick that was touched off to him by Ian Holloway and was then fired into the top right hand corner with awesome power.
5 – Les Ferdinand, second goal, v Wimbledon, March 4 1995
And we’re back to Les again, displaying another key facet of his game – strength and control when running with the ball. He’d already equalised for Rangers in this game with another master blaster free kick from long range and Ian Holloway had scored his first goal in two years at the start of the second half to put Ray Wilkins’ side in front. But it was Ferdinand’s second goal that sealed the points and makes our countdown. Collecting the ball five yards inside the Dons’ half with his back to goal he was allowed to turn by the home side and they were ruthlessly punished. Ferdinand exhibited admirable pace and ball control as he accelerated through the heart of the Wimbledon team on a run that carried him past four players and ended with an accurate finish low into the bottom corner past Hans Segers. A goal sadly tainted slightly by the ridiculous “Ferdinand is massive, Ferdinand is massive, booyakasha booyakasha, INCREDIBLE” commentary on the season video.
6 – Andy Sinton v Man City, August 17 1992
The second goal from that opening week of the Carling Premiership, the first goal QPR scored in the newly formed top flight of English football. Man City had taken a first half lead when David White stuck in the rebound from close range after Jan Sejskal had parried an initial effort from Niall Quinn. Rangers won a point though thanks to Sinton who collected the ball 25 yards out from goal from Wilkins, widened the angle with his first touch and then sought out the top corner with an unstoppable drive on his left foot.
7 – Ray Wilkins v Wimbledon, November 7 1992
There’s been a lot of talk about power and pace in this run down so far, but Ray Wilkins’ goal at Selhurst Park late on in 1992 was all about guile and craft. Rangers were already in the lead by this point thanks to Bradley Allen whose ambitious 30 yard effort had deflected off McAllister and looped high over Hans Segers and into the Wimbledon net. There was nothing fortuitous about Wilkins’ strike though. A through ball into a crowded defensive area almost had Ferdinand in for the second goal himself but Segers raced from the line and tackled the big striker on the edge of the area. The ball ran loose though, and with all around him scrabbling for position and panicking Wilkins showed calmness and composure that could only come from such an experienced player and simply put his foot under the ball and delicately chipped it over the crowded penalty area and into the gaping net from 25 yards out. Oustandng.
8 – Devon White, second goal, v Ipswich, October 2 1993
If there was a goal I had to pick to sum up the style and philosophy of Gerry Francis’ QPR team this one would probably be it. There was some patience, some style, a dash of real quality, and it was finished off by somebody who used to play for Bristol Rovers. Big Devon, a favourite of mine but clearly a limited player, had already stuck in the first goal of the game from close range shortly after half time when he got on the end of David Bardsley’s cross. A header from a cross, what’s so special about that? Well, you really have to see the cross and the header to understand. Firstly it’s worth pointing out that Rangers had progressed down the field, and moved right to left and back again, with a flowing nine pass move when David Bardsley finally collected possession just inside the Ipswich half on the right wing. He drew back his right foot and launched a perfectly paced and placed cross into the penalty area where White strode onto it and sent the ball flying into the top corner from 15 yards out with a header more powerful than most people can kick the ball. A screamer.
9 – Les Ferdinand v Aston Villa, August 14 1993
Another one from Les before we finish. Rangers opened the 1993/94 season at Aston Villa on a scorching hot day in an all black kit – a mistake Blackpool repeated at Loftus Road a decade later. Eventually, thanks to three fabulous Villa goals in the last ten minutes that we’ll talk about shortly, Rangers were well beaten on the day but Ferdinand had a borderline offside decision go against him in the second half which would have put the R’s ahead. He got it dead right in the first half though, striding onto a loose ball 25 yards out from goal and unleashing an unstoppable half volley into the roof of the net. Like I say, better than Drogba ever has been.
10 – Trevor Sinclair v Liverpool, October 31 1994
This game will always be overshadowed by events off the field taking place around it. Rodney Marsh was in the directors’ box preparing to take over as Director of Football over the head of manager Gerry Francis who had seen several of his better players sold prior to this, and decided during the week that followed that he could stand it no more and resigned. A shame, because the performance against Liverpool at Loftus Road live on Sky on Halloween Monday night was one of the best performances we produced in the Premiership with Ferdinand, Kevin Gallen, Steve Hodge, Alan McDonald and others all absolutely outstanding on the night. Trevor Sinclair had an outstanding game as well, around the time of his England Under 21 goal scoring debut. He opened the scoring in the first half, attacking the near post and diving full length to power home a fine header from yet another outstanding right wing cross from David Bardsley.
Those that didn’t make it…
Plenty of Les Ferdinand strikes that haven’t made the list or been mentioned already – he rated his goal against Sheffield United at Loftus Road in August 1992 where he collected the ball in the centre circle, powered past three and then lashed home from the edge of the box as one of his best. Trevor Sinclair scored a similar goal to that in 1994 at the start of Ray Wilkins’ managerial reign against West Ham. Impressive long range strikes that didn’t make the list include Wilkins’ stunning effort against Liverpool at Loftus Road in August 1993, Devon White’s 20 yarder into the top corner at Sheffield Wednesday in 1994, Sinclair’s last minute winner at Coventry in 1995 and Andy Sinton at Oldham in 1993, making light work of a pitch without a single blade of grass on it to arrow the ball into the corner from distance. We should also mention Nigel Quashie’s blinding half volley into the top corner against Chelsea in the FA Cup in 1996 – although the game ended in defeat.
…and a few we conceded as well
Aston Villa seemed to enjoy their time against QPR last time we were a Premiership side, scoring spectacular goals for fun. In the 1992/93 season Les Ferdinand and Bradley Allen ensured Rangers ran out 2-1 winner sat Loftus Road, but only after winger Tony Daly had slalomed his way through the QPR defence to score a fine solo effort in the first half. One game, but also one season, later on the opening day of the following campaign Rangers lost 4-1 thanks to three late Villa goals in Birmingham. Dean Staunton’s right footed strike from range was impressive and heartbreaking enough without Steve Staunton lashing an outstanding left footer into the top corner from 30 yards thereafter.
Man Utd had fun too – in the 1992/93 season Paul Ince produced an unlikely bicycle kick at the Loft End to give them the lead and then a season later Ryan Giggs embarked on a mazy dribble not dissimilar to a more famous goal later in his career against Arsenal before finishing down at the School End.
And no round up of spectacular goals from the Premiership in the 1990s would be complete without mention of Matthew Le Tissier. He scored several goals in his career against QPR none more impressive than his whipped free kick from wide on the left at the Dell in early 1996. The goal was tainted slightly by the incident that led to it, where David Bardsley was harshly penalised and ridiculously sent off by referee Roger Gifford for an alleged elbowing offence.
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