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Ray Jones' last-minute winner - History
Friday, 25th Aug 2017 15:06 by Clive Whittingham

On the anniversary of Ray Jones' death, and with QPR back at Cardiff tomorrow afternoon, LFW looks back at a memorable meeting between the two sides settled by the young striker.


Memorable Match

Cardiff City 0 Queens Park Rangers 1, Friday November 17, 2006, Championship

The old Ninian Park ground was never the most hospitable place for a visiting team from England.

The tendency of QPR and Cardiff to compete for promotions at the same time in the early part of the last decade, with Ian Holloway in one dugout and Lennie Lawrence in the other, meant trips to South Wales were often more fraught for Rangers than most.

A last minute winner from Richard Langley in the 2002/03 season as the R's chased a play-off spot, followed by the QPR fans being held in afterwards just long enough for the locals to get nice and organised outside, a particularly interesting experience.

By the time the R's paid a visit in November 2006, however, minds were more occupied with relegation worries than promotion hopes. Holloway had gone, and Gary Waddock hadn't lasted long as his replacement. A weird and wonderful collection of cheap buys from favoured agents by chairman Gianni Paladini had lumbered the club with what was obviously one of the worst teams in the division. The task of keeping it up, after just one win from the first eight matches, was handed to Paladini's good friend, and former QPR midfielder, John Gregory.

He'd started with a pair of wins, at home to Hull and very impressively away at Southampton, but had then gone five without a victory despite the team scoring prolificly. Lee Cook and Jimmy Smith formed a goalscoring pair from midfield, with Dexter Blackstock and young Ray Jones in attack. Sadly, a defence including Zesh Rehman couldn't match those standards and 3-3 draws with Norwich and West Brom were quickly clocked up.

Cook was insatiable in a 4-2 home win against Palace and Smith scored again a week later in a 3-2 success at Luton Town to start moving Rangers clear of danger. But a Friday night trip to Cardiff, with the Sky cameras in situ, didn't immediately scream points.

The Bluebirds had set the early pace in the division, winning 11 of their first 17 matches including five straight through September. Wolves had been beaten 4-0 at Ninian Park and the best anyone had done as an away team so far was a draw – which West Brom and Derby had managed.

But Gregory's side discovered its defensive metal at just the right time, and looked good for a 0-0 draw right up until stoppage time when Australian midfielder Nick Ward knocked in a perfect centre for Ray Jones to slide in at the back post and win the game. Jones, sadly, died in the early part of the following season in a car accident leaving this goal as one of the main memories of a tragically short life and career.

Rangers, with Stefan Bailey in wonderful form in midfield, even had the cheek to perform a clear-the-box offside trap under a last minute Cardiff free kick.

The result sent Cardiff into a bizarre spiral. They didn't win any of the next 13 games through to the middle of January and actually only won six more matches in total for the whole season, slipping into the bottom half of the table.

QPR recovered from their own winter slump to string wins together at just the right time through April and saved themselves from relegation with a 3-2 home win against Luton and a 1-0 win at Coventry during the Easter weekend paving the way for the Flavio Briatore takeover later that summer.

Jones, tragically, never got to fulfil his potential. Out of favour at the start of the following season, and linked with a move to Colchester, he was left out of the matchday squad for a trip to Burnley with awful consequences. That Friday, with the rest of the team travelling north, he crashed his car into a London bus at high speed killing himself and two of his passengers.

Cardiff City: Alexander 7, McNaughton 8, Purse 7, Loovens 6, Gunter 8, McPhail 6, Parry 7 (Kamara 81, -), Ledley 6, Scimeca 6, Chopra 7, Thompson 6.

Subs: Johnson, Howard, Cooper, Campbell.

Bookings: Parry 45

QPR: Royce 7, Bignot 7, Rehman 7, Stewart 9, Mancienne 7,Ainsworth - (Ward 14, 6), Cook 7, Bailey 8, Nygaard 7, Blackstock 7 (R Jones 65, 7), Smith 7.

Subs: Milanese, P Jones, Baidoo.

Scorers: R Jones 87 (assisted Ward)

Bookings: Bignot 76, Nygaard 85, Bailey 91

Recent Meetings:

QPR 2 Cardiff 1, Saturday March 4, 2017, Championship

QPR came from behind to beat Cardiff at Loftus Road last season on a special day to commemorate the lifting of the League Cup in 1967. Playing in all white, Rangers hit the post early through Conor Washington but were punished for leaving Sol Bamba unmarked at a first half corner when he headed home. The introduction of Yeni Ngbakoto on the hour changed the game. He burst through immediately to equalise then crossed for Matt Smith to head a winner in with seven minutes left for play.

QPR: Smithies 7; Perch 7, Onuoha 6, Lynch 6, Bidwell 6; Goss 6 (Ngbakoto 58, 7), Hall 6, Luongo 5 (Morrison 76, 4); Mackie 6 (Wszolek 81, -), Smith 6, Washington 6

Subs not used: Ingram, Furlong, Sylla, Manning

Goals: Ngbakoto 62 (assisted Mackie), Smith 83 (assisted Ngbakoto)

Bookings: Luongo 40 (foul), Perch 88 (standard Perch shin rattler)

Cardiff: McGregor 6; Connolly 5 (Bennett 86, -), Morrison 6, Bamba 6, Richards 6; Noone 6 (Pilkington 72, 6), Gunnarsson 6 (Halford 90, -), Ralls 6, Harris 8; Hoilett 6, Zohore 6

Subs not used: Whittingham, John, Murphy, Harris

Goals: Bamba 44 (assisted Noone)

Bookings: Morrison 66 (foul)

Cardiff City 0 QPR 2, Sunday August 14, 2016, Championship

Hard to comprehend, given what happened to the two sides over the rest of the season, but when QPR won at Cardiff back in August it put them top of the fledgling table with two wins from two games and no goals conceded. Cardiff meanwhile kicked around the bottom three until Paul Trollope was replaced by Neil Warnock. Goals from Steven Caulker, and a penalty from Tjaronn Chery after Seb Polter had been fouled, secured the points for Jimmy Floyd Hasselbaink’s team. Both clubs have since changed manager.

Cardiff: Marshall; Peltier, Manga, Connbolly, Richards (Noone 77); Whittingham, John, Ralls; Immers (Huws 75), Pilkington, Gounongbe (Zohore 75)

Subs not used: Morrison, Gunnarsson, Moore, Ajayi

Bookings: Ralls 90+4 (foul)

QPR: Smithies 7; Onuoha 7, Caulker 8, Hall 7, Bidwell 6; Cousins 6, Luongo 6, Henry 6, Gladwin 5 (N'Gbakoto 25, 7); Chery 7 (Washington 91, -), Polter 6 (Perch 90+2, -)

Subs not used: Ingram, El Khayati, Shodipo, Kpekawa

Goals: Caulker 76 (assisted Bidwell), Chery 85 (penalty, won Polter)

Bookings: Onuoha 8 (foul), Chery 21 (dissent), Luongo 61 (foul), Henry 86 (repetitive fouling)

Cardiff City 0 QPR 0, Saturday April 16, 2016, Championship

Matt Ingram impressed on his QPR debut when these sides met in South Wales in April last year, but an insipid fixture looked destined to finish goalless long before the end and the away following had to make do with taunting one sensitive soul to the right of the away end or most of the second half.

Cardiff: Marshall 6; Peltier 5, Morrison 6, Connolly 6, Malone 6; Noone 6, O’Keefe 6 (Ameobi 66, 7), Ralls 6, Whittingham 5 (Gunnarsson 81, -); Immers 5 (Zohore 80, -); Pilkington 5

Subs not used: Turner, Dikgacoi, Moore, Lawrence

Bookings: Pilkington 13 (diving), Peltier 49 (foul)

QPR: Ingram 7; Onuoha 6, Hall 6, Hill 6, Konchesky 4; Henry 6, Luongo 6, Faurlin 6, Phillips 6 (Washington 84, -); Chery 5 (El Khayati 72, 6); Polter 5 (Gladwin 66, 6)

Subs not used: Lumley, Hoilett, Petrasso, Kpekawa

Bookings: Konchesky 81 (foul)

QPR 2 Cardiff City 2, Saturday August 15, 2015, Championship

QPR contrived to blow a two goal lead in the final half hour of the first meeting between these sides last season, way back in August. Newly-relegated Rangers looked all set to get off to a winning start at home back in the second tier when Clint Hill headed home in first half stoppage time from a corner, then Charlie Austin did likewise before the hour with a heavy hint of handball along the way. But Rangers were slack at marking from set pieces themselves, allowing Morrison to pull once back for the visitors and when the referee missed a foul on Michael Doughty in injury time, Joe Mason was able to volley home a last-gasp equaliser from long range.

QPR: Green 5; Perch 5, Onuoha 7, Hill 6, Konchesky 5; Luongo 7, Henry 5; Phillips 6, Chery 7 (Doughty 55, 6), Gladwin 5 (Emmanuel-Thomas 76, 5); Austin 6 (Polter 68, 6)

Subs not used: Hall, Kpekawa, Faurlin, Lumley

Goals: Hill 33 (assisted Phillips), Austin 56 (assisted Phillips/Hill)

Cardiff: Moore 7; Peltier 5, Connolly 5, Morrison 6, Malone 7; Pilkington 6 (Ameobi 82, -), Dikgacoi 5 (Noone 68, 6), Whittingham 6, Ralls 7; Mason 8, Revell 5 (Jones 59, 7)

Subs not used: Fabio, Doyle, Gunnarsson, Wilson

Goals: Morrison 64 (assisted Whittingham), Malone 90 (assisted Ralls)

QPR 2 Cardiff City 1, Saturday November 27, 2010, Championship

QPR came out on top in the first meeting between these two sides during that promotion season. In a clash between first and second in the Championship, Cardiff drew first blood when a sloppy piece of QPR possession on halfway turned into a total disaster as Kaspars Gorkss lost his footing and presented the ball to Jay Bothroyd. He subsequently played in Craig Bellamy who looked offside but was allowed to continue and just about beat Paddy Kenny for the opening goal. Gorkss swiftly made amends though, planting a powerful header beyond Tom Heaton after meeting Tommy Smith’s well-flighted cross for the equaliser. Rangers went close to taking the lead for the first time midway through the second half when Jamie Mackie’s snap shot from long range was saved by Heaton but from the resulting corner Adel Taaabt regathered possession, rode the tackle of Naylor, and then danced his way into the penalty area before dispatching the ball into the top corner. Cardiff were denied a blatant late penalty when Matt Connolly tripped Jay Bothroyd but QPR should then have had one of their own when Leon Clarke was obviously bundled over in the penalty area while clean through on goal.

QPR: Kenny 8, Walker 7, Gorkss 6, Connolly 6, Hill 6, Derry 7, Faurlin 7, Mackie 7 (Agyemang 90, -), Taarabt 8 (Clarke 87, -), Smith 7 (Hall 90, -), Hulse 8

Subs Not Used: Cerny, Orr, Helguson, Ephraim

Booked: Hill (foul), Clarke (foul)

Goals: Gorkss 18 (assisted Smith), Taarabt 68 (assisted Derry/Smith)

Cardiff: Heaton 7, McNaughton 7, Hudson 5, Blake 6, Naylor 6, Drinkwater 7 (Koumas 57, 5), Whittingham 6, Olofinjana 7, Burke 7 (Chopra 80, -), Bellamy 8, Bothroyd 8

Subs Not Used: Marshall, Gyepes, McPhail, Keogh, Matthews

Booked: Koumas (foul), Whittingham (foul), Bellamy (dissent)

Goals: Bellamy 13 (assisted Bothroyd)

Previous Results

Head to Head >>> QPR wins 34 >>> Draws 14 >>> Cardiff wins 25

Scores and Scorers:

2016/17 QPR 2 Cardiff 1 (Smith, Ngbakoto)

2016/17 Cardiff 0 QPR 2 (Caulker, Chery)

2015/16 Cardiff 0 QPR 0

2015/16 QPR 2 Cardiff 2 (Hill, Austin)

2010/11 Cardiff 2 QPR 2 (Taarabt 2)

2010/11 QPR 2 Cardiff 1 (Gorkss, Taarabt)

2009/10 QPR 0 Cardiff 1

2009/10 Cardiff 0 QPR 2 (Simpson 2)

2008/09 Cardiff 0 QPR 0

2008/09 QPR 1 Cardiff 0 (Mahon)

2007/08 Cardiff 3 QPR 1 (Agyemang)

2007/08 QPR 0 Cardiff 2

2006/07 QPR 1 Cardiff 0 (Blackstock)

2006/07 Cardiff 0 QPR 1 (Jones)

2005/06 Cardiff 0 QPR 0

2005/06 QPR 1 Cardiff 0 (Nygaard)

2004/05 Cardiff 1 QPR 0

2004/05 QPR 1 Cardiff 0 (Shittu)

2002/03 Cardiff 1 QPR 0 (Play Off Final)

2002/03 Cardiff 1 QPR 2 (Furlong, Langley)

2002/03 QPR 0 Cardiff 4

2001/02 Cardiff 1 QPR 1 (Pacquette)

2001/02 QPR 2 Cardiff 1 (Thomson 2)

1999/00 QPR 1 Cardiff 2** (Peacock)

1999/00 Cardiff 1 QPR 2** (Langley, Fowler og)

1989/90 QPR 2 Cardiff 0* (Wilkins, Wegerle)

1989/90 Cardiff 0 QPR 0*

1988/89 Cardiff 1 QPR 4** (Falco 2, Maddix, Stein)

1988/89 QPR 3 Cardiff 0** (Francis, Fereday, Allen)

1981/82 Cardiff 1 QPR 2 (Allen, Mickelwhite)

1981/82 QPR 2 Cardiff 0 (Stainrod)

1980/81 QPR 2 Cardiff 0 (Fenwick, Langley)

1980/81 Cardiff 1 QPR 0

1979/80 QPR 3 Cardiff 0 (Allen 2, Roeder)

1979/80 Cardiff 1 QPR 0

1976/77 Cardiff 1 QPR 3** (Bowles, Thomas, Clement)

1972/73 Cardiff 0 QPR 0

1972/73 QPR 3 Cardiff 0 (Givens 2, Bowles)

1971/72 QPR 3 Cardiff 0 (Ferguson, O’Rourke, Leach)

1971/72 Cardiff 0 QPR 0

1970/71 Cardiff 1 QPR 0

1970/71 QPR 4 Cardiff 0** (Bridges, Saul, Marsh, Venables)

1970/71 QPR 0 Cardiff 1

1969/70 QPR 2 Cardiff 1 (Gillard, Marsh)

1969/70 Cardiff 4 QPR 2 (Venables, Bridges)

1967/68 Cardiff 1 QPR 0

1967/68 QPR 1 Cardiff 0 (I Morgan)

1951/52 QPR 1 Cardiff 1 (Smith)

1951/52 Cardiff 3 QPR 1 (Gilberg)

1950/51 Cardiff 4 QPR 2 (Shepherd 2)

1950/51 QPR 3 Cardiff 2 (Hatton, Heath, Wardle)

1949/50 Cardiff 4 QPR 0

1949/50 QPR 0 Cardiff 1

1948/49 Cardiff 3 QPR 0

1948/49 QPR 0 Cardiff 0

1946/47 QPR 2 Cardiff 3 (Wardle og, Pattison)

1946/47 Cardiff 2 QPR 2 (Durrant, Hatton)

1938/39 QPR 5 Cardiff 0 (Cheetham 2, Devine, McCarthy, Cape)

1938/39 Cardiff 1 QPR 0

1937/38 Cardiff 2 QPR 2 (Fitzgerald)

1937/38 QPR 2 Cardiff 1 (Cape, Lowe)

1936/37 QPR 6 Cardiff 0 (Charlton 3, Fitzgerald 3)

1936/37 Cardiff 2 QPR 0

1935/36 Cardiff 3 QPR 2 (Crawford, Lowe)

1935/36 QPR 5 Cardiff 1 (Lumsden 3, Cheetham 2)

1934/35 QPR 2 Cardiff 2 (Blackman, Dutton)

1934/35 Cardiff 2 QPR 1 (Farquarson og)

1933/34 Cardiff 3 QPR 1 (Brown)

1933/34 QPR 4 Cardiff 0 (Blake 2, Emmerson, Blackman)

1932/33 QPR 5 Cardiff 1 (Goddard 2, Rounce 2, Collins)

1932/33 Cardiff 2 QPR 5 (Marcroft 3, Goddard, Blackman)

1931/32 QPR 2 Cardiff 3 (Rounce, Haley)

1931/32 Cardiff 0 QPR 4 (Cribb 2, Goddard, Roberts og)

** - League Cup

* - FA Cup

Connections

Richard Langley >>> QPR 1996-2003, 2006-2006 >>> Cardiff 2003-2005

Richard Langley was the last QPR youth team player to graduate from the academy set up and establish himself as a regular first team player.

Viewed by many QPR fans as a superb midfield ball player capable of scoring world class goals and producing killer passes, he was neverthless somebody whose career never progressed as it threatened to do having suffered two horrendous knee injuries.

Langley made his first team debut for QPR as a sub during a 3-1 defeat to Swindon in October 1998, at only 18 years old. A month later Langley got his first goal for the club in only his second appearance, opening the scoring in a 2-1 win over Barnsley at Loftus Road. Manager Gerry Francis has since said he had tried to get the groundsman to deliberately waterlog the Loftus Road pitch that night to try and get the game off such was his shortage of options but a lack of established first team players gave Langley his chance and he grabbed it with both hands. Langley looked like a great prospect and under Francis and formed an eye catching partnership the following campaign with Gavin Peacock and Stuart Wardley in the centre of the park, in a season where he only missed two league games for the Super Hoops.

Unfortunately the following season was a disappointing one for both Langley and Rangers as the team was relegated to the third tier for the first time since the 1970s. Langley missed the second half of that campaign and the start of the new season after suffering a serious knee injury in a home match against Fulham. While undoubtedly a tragedy for the player, and his team mate and close friend Clarke Carlisle who remarkably suffered the same injury in the same match, it actually did Rangers a favour as the club descended into administration, released the majority of the squad and sold anybody worth selling that summer. Undoubtedly had they been fit Langley and Carlisle would both have been flogged. When they returned to the team Ian Holloway was in charge but he still saw the midfielder as a key part of his Rangers side.

The 2002-03 season was arguably Langley’s best in a QPR shirt. Playing on the right-wing he helped Rangers finish in the top six and make the play-offs, scoring a hat trick in a memorable 3-1 win at Blackpool towards the end of the season. His goal in the semi-final first leg against Oldham vital in seeing Rangers make the final, but a sending off, and another red card earlier in the season in an LDV Vans game with Bristol City, in the same game meant that a gutted Langley would miss the final which the R’s went on to lose 1-0 to Cardiff.

That summer there was plenty of speculation about his future in W12 and although he started the 2003/04 season for Rangers, scoring in the first two games against Blackpool and Cheltenham, the club then accepted an offer just shy of a quarter of a million pounds from Cardiff who had been promoted in our stead. He spent two uneventful seasons in Wales, where the fans never really warmed to him, and won caps for Jamaica before returning to Rangers, now back in the Championship, on deadline day 2005, signing a one-year deal. He played 33 times that season and Rangers finished in the top half but was released that summer and joined Luton Town.

His career curtailed somewhat after that with further horrific knee injuries all but retiring him early. His time at Bristol Rovers was cut short and a subsequent move to Mansfield fell through. Played briefly in Thailand but can now be found summarising QPR games for local radio among other things.

Others >>> Steven Caulker, QPR 2014-present, Cardiff 2013-2014 >>> Matt Connolly, Cardiff 2012-present, QPR 2008-2012 >>> Fabio, Cardiff 2014-present, QPR 2013-2014 >>> Federicho Macheda, Cardiff 2014-present, QPR (loan) 2012 >>> Jordon Mutch, QPR 2013-2014, Cardiff 2012-2014 >>> Heidar Helguson, Cardiff 2012/13, QPR 2008-2012 >>> Jay Bothroyd, QPR 2011-2013, Cardiff 2008-2011 >>> Wayne Routledge, QPR (loan) 2011, 2009-2010, Cardiff (loan) 2008-2009 >>> Chris Barker, QPR 2007-2008, Cardiff 2002-2007 >>> Leon Jeanne, Cardiff 2000-2001, QPR 1998-2000 >>> Matt Brazier, Cardiff 1999-2002, QPR 1994-1998 >>> Robbie James, Cardiff 1992-1993, QPR 1984-1987 >>> Wayne Fereday, Cardiff 1994-1995, QPR 1980-1989 >>> Andy McCulloch, Cardiff 1972-1974, QPR 1970-1972

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Antti_Heinola added 15:52 - Aug 25
Christ, that win over Cardiff last season felt good, but not hugely vital. But we'd have gone down without it.
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