Paul Parker breaks his QPR duck - History
Wednesday, 17th Nov 2021 15:04 by Clive Whittingham
All the way back to 1990 for the History this week as Luton visit Loftus Road this Friday, a ground on which they once took such a mauling even Paul Parker scored for the R's.
QPR 6 Luton Town 1, Saturday September 15, 1990, First Division
David Pleat’s running jig across the Maine Road pitch after Luton secured their First Division status with a 1-0 win on the final day of the 1982/83 season is one of the iconic images of the era, but it wasn’t Luton’s only remarkable relegation escape in a decade in which they mixed near misses at the bottom with dramatic cup runs.
With Ray Harford in charge, Luton beat Arsenal 3-2 at Wembley to win the League Cup in 1988 and reached the final again the following season only to be beaten by Nottingham Forest 3-1. But 1989/90 was to be another season of struggle at Kenilworth Road in which Harford departed at Christmas and the Hatters required an unlikely three victories from their final three games at home to Arsenal (2-0), Palace (1-0) and away to Derby (3-2) on the final day to survive on goal difference from Sheffield Wednesday.
Jim Ryan was in charge for the start of the 1990/91 season and began with wins at Southampton (2-1) and at home to Leeds (1-0), defeats at Arsenal (2-1) and at home to Man Utd (1-0) and a 1-1 draw on day one at home to Palace. That set them up for a mid-September trip to Loftus Road to meet a Queens Park Rangers side which had made a rather curious start to the season under the experienced management of Don Howe.
Luton’s survival hopes in 1989/90 had been dealt a blow in December when QPR paid a £1m for a player for the first time, taking top scorer Roy Wegerle to Shepherd’s Bush. Luton’s loss was Rangers’ gain as Wegerle bagged six goals in the second half of the season and he’d begun 1990/91 in flying form. Form so flying, in fact, that nobody else had managed to score for the Hoops by the time Luton came to town on September 15.
Wegerle scored one and hit the post with an effort for a late second in an opening day 1-1 at bogey ground Nottingham Forest, scored a penalty in a 1-0 home win against Chelsea following a single goal to nil loss to Wimbledon in the first home game, then bagged again from the penalty spot as the R’s lost 3-1 at Old Trafford. As it turned, the rest of his team mates were just saving themselves.
Initially it was Wegerle again leading by example for Howe’s men. He picked a Ray Wilkins pass up down by the Loft End corner flag on the Ellerslie Road side of the ground in the first half and through a combination of sublime skill, a brief one two with Andy Sinton, and a little luck along the way, meandered his way past three defenders to the edge of the area where he chopped back inside a fourth and then sought out the far corner with a crisp finish for 1-0. Four goals scored by Rangers in five games, all of them to the South African-born USA international.
It stayed that way until half time, but not much further beyond. Rangers made it 2-0 in the forty eighth minute with exactly the sort of goal this team under first Howe and later Gerry Francis would become known for. Wilkins played out from the back with a sublime pass out to Bardsley down the right side. Making the most of the wing-back freedom offered by a back three (McDonald, Maddix, Parker) Bardsley set off down towards the School End at speed and was played into space via a gorgeous long-range one two with Wegerle. Now in space and in the final third, Bardsley delivered a trademark pinpoint cross to the far post which Andy Sinton didn’t even need to break stride to head into the bottom corner.
Duck broken, floodgates open. The third was, initially at least, more direct as Maddix punted one forwards for Wegerle to compete for and win in the air. Sinton picked up the loos e ball wide on the left, cut back onto his right foot and sent in an inswinging cross which Ray Wilkins, of all people, met and glanced on with the top of his head into the far corner for 3-0. Ceri Hughes pulled one back for the visitors but when Wegerle shouldered his way past one and slalomed past a second after receiving a long pass from Paul Parker in the penalty area before firing in a second goal off the post the three goal advantage was restored.
Still only in the sixty fifth minute, Rangers went from four to five as the outstanding Parker found the unplayable Wegerle in almost identical fashion once more, and this time he crossed to the far side of the penalty area where Mark Falco scored a typically powerful and well-measured first time volley back across the goal and into the far top corner.
The rout was already well complete but with the game over and 25 minutes still to play, Parker had his eyes on a prize which is still remembered and talked about to this day. Parker had become an immensely popular and supremely talented member of the QPR squad after arriving from Fulham in 1987 in a deal that was really more about Rangers getting their hands on Dean Coney – hard to believe in hindsight. He’d played more than 100 times for the R’s, was fresh back from being a starter in Bobby Robson’s superb England team at Italia 90, and would go on to join Alex Ferguson’s burgeoning Manchester United side the following summer. But one thing he hadn’t managed to this point was a goal. That all changed five minutes from time when, with Luton spent, he was able to move into acres of space in midfield to pick up a short free kick from Ray Wilkins, progress into the box unchallenged via a one two with Sinton, and finish nervously but accurately into the far corner for a sixth of the afternoon that raised the roof. So surprising was this turn of events that the scoreboard even initially credited the goal to Clive Wilson.
Sadly, Rangers were quickly beset by injuries after that, and almost all of them in the centre back position – Parker, McDonald and Maddix all sidelined sparking a run of eight straight defeats and ten without a win following a 3-2 success at Leeds in which Wegerle bagged the division’s goal of the season. Howe brought in Bobby Gould to assist, and his famous black book of lower league contacts saw Andy Tillson, Darren Peacock and Rufus Brevett acquired on the cheap to bolster the ranks. A much-needed 3-2 home win against bottom placed Sunderland eased relegation fears and actually Rangers lost only three of the final 16 games of the season, playing some scintillating football along the way, to finish twelfth. Howe was, controversially, ushered aside that summer to herald the return to the club of Gerry Francis.
Luton, it seemed, had chanced their arm once too often. They finished third bottom, with only Derby and Sunderland below them, and Aston Villa four points ahead. But with only two teams relegated, and four promoted, they were given yet another stay of execution. David Pleat returned for 1991/92 when they were finally relegated, missing out on the dawn of the Premier League, thanks in no small part to a Les Ferdinand-inspired 2-1 defeat at Loftus Road that Easter. We’ll maybe do that game next time…
QPR: Roberts, Bardsley, McDonald, Parker, Maddix, Sansom, Wilson, Wilkins, Sinton, Wegerle, Falco (Ferdinand)
LFW regular and AKUTR’s columnist Dave Barton has set up a QPR Memories YouTube channel, with a mixture of clips, classic games, and old highlights packages. His Luton home packages are embedded below, give him a subscribe on YouTube or follow @QPR_Memories on Twitter.
QPR 3 Luton Town 1, Saturday May 8, 2021, Championship
QPR rounded off a fantastic second half to the 2020/21 campaign by completing the double over Luton Town. Lyndon Dykes nodded down for Charlie Austin to score from close range, his second goal against the Hatters having announced his return to QPR with a header at Kenilworth Road back in January. Luton forced a brilliant save from Seny Dieng onto the post and probably deserved their first half equaliser, scored on the rebound by Leicestershire’s premier wedding venue Kiernan Dewsbury-Hall. But QPR pulled clear in the second half as first Stefan Johansen steamed through the heart of the visiting defence to make it 2-1, and then Albert Adomah secured the win with an open goal third in injury time off a Chris Willock assist.
QPR: Dieng 7; Dickie 6, De Wijs 7, Barbet 7; Kakay 6 (Adomah 76, 7), Chair 7 (Thomas 77, 6), Johansen 8 (Cameron 86, -), Willock 8, Wallace 7; Dykes 7 (Field 46, 6), Austin 7 (Bonne 66, 6)
Subs not used: Carroll, Bettache, Walsh, Hämäläinen
Goals: Austin 20 (assisted Dykes), Johansen 60 (assisted Chair), Adomah 90 (assisted Willock)
Bookings: Austin 1 (foul)
Luton: Sluga 5; Bree 5 (Pereira 86, -), Pearson 6, Bradley 6, Naismith 6; Dewsbury-Hall 8, Rea 5 (Berry 71, 6), Mpanzu 6; Cornick 6 (LuaLua 71, 5), Adebayo 6, Moncur 6 (Collins 71, 6)
Subs not used: Shea, Cranie, Potts, Tunnicliffe, Morrell
Goals: Dewsbury-Hall 43 (assisted Moncur)
Bookings: Rea 45 (foul)
Luton Town 0 QPR 2, Tuesday January 12, 2021, Championship
Charlie Austin marked his big return to QPR with a goal, as Rangers snapped a winless run of ten and began their climb back up the Championship table. Austin scored from close range in the first half after Geoff Cameron flicked Ilias Chair’s corner into his path. There were nervy moments thereafter, but Rangers were able to put the game to bed in the last minute when two subs combined – Albert Adomah getting the final ball right as he so often does, Mac Bonne sliding a game-sealing second into the far corner.
Luton: Sluga 5; Bree 5, Lockyer 6, Bradley 5, Potts 5 (Nombe 77, 6); Mpanzu 6 (Berry 83, -), Dewsbury-Hall 5, Rea 5; Cornick 6, Collins 5 (Hylton 83, -), LuaLua 5 (Moncur 83, -)
Subs not used: Shea, Tunnicliffe, Clark, Kioso, Galloway
QPR: Dieng 7; Dickie 8, Cameron 6, Barbet 7; Kane 7, Carroll 6, Ball 7, Chair 6 (Adomah 75, 7), Osayi-Samuel 6; Dykes 8 (Kelman 90+4, -), Austin 8 (Bonne 59, 7)
Subs not used: Lumley, Thomas, Willock, Masterson, Hämäläinen, Bettache
Goals: Austin 38 (assisted Chair/Cameron), Bonne 90 (assisted Adomah)
Bookings: Bonne 90 (referee being one of life’s genuine bell ends)
Luton Town 1 QPR 1, Tuesday July 14, 2020, Championship
QPR’s abysmal form during the summer lockdown had reached a nadir with a 3-0 home defeat to Sheffield Wednesday on the Saturday ahead of a midweek trip to Luton. Things didn’t look like getting a lot better when Ryan Manning clumsily fouled James Bree and James Collins stuck the resulting penalty away after just 20 minutes. But Rangers rallied, showed some spirit, and when a cynical foul by Ruccok-Mpanzu angered Bright Osayi-Samuel the QPR winger finally pulled his finger out and started to play, eventually setting up Dom Ball for a well taken second half equaliser. Rangers were indebted to Joe Lumley for a late save at the death to preserve the point after they’d conceded possession from a foul throw.
Luton: Sluga 4; Bree 5, Carter-Vickers 6, Bradley 6, Potts 6; Ruddock-Mpanzu 6; Shinnie 6 (Moncur 83, -), Berry 6, Lee 6 (Cranie 67, 6), Cornick 6 (LuaLua 83, -); Collins 6 (Hylton 82, -)
Subs not used: Tunnicliffe, McManaman, Butterfield, Kioso, Shea
Goals: Collins 20 (penalty, won Bree)
Bookings: Ruddock-Mpanzu 58 (foul)
QPR: Lumley 7; Rangel – (Masterson 11, 6), Kakay 7, Barbet 6, Manning 5; Amos 6 (Oteh 81, -), Cameron 6, Ball 6; Osayi-Samuel 7 (Shodipo 81, -), Eze 6, Chair 6
Subs not used: Kane, Wallace, Bettache, Kelly, Gubbins, Clarke
Goals: Ball 65 (assisted Osayi-Samuel)
QPR 3 Luton Town 2, Saturday September 14, 2019, Championship
A game that summed up so much that’s been good and bad about Queens Park Rangers in 2019/20. Ebere Eze cut infield and found the top corner after three minutes, then Nahki Wells raced onto a long through ball from Toni Leistner to make it 2-0, and finally Eze beautifully teed up Wells for his second and Rangers’ third just before the half hour. Absolutely motoring, QPOR were stopped dead in their tracks by a dreadful Joe Lumley error which presented Harry Cornick with one goal, then immediately after half time a succession of warnings about James Collins’ danger at the back post went unheeded and he made it 3-2. From an all-guns-blazing start, Rangers were left desperately clinging on to a single goal victory for the whole of the second half.
QPR: Lumley 5; Hall 6, Leistner 7, Barbet 7; Kane 6 (Amos 69, 6), Manning 7; Ball 6, Chair 7 (Pugh 74, 7), Eze 8; Wells 8 (Mlakar 66, 6), Hugill 5
Subs not used: Cameron, Smith, Scowen, Kelly
Goals: Eze 3 (assisted Chair), Wells 20 (assisted Leistner), 28 (assisted Eze)
Bookings: Kane 47 (foul), Hall 90+2 (foul)
Luton: Sluga 5; Tunnicliffe 5, Pearson 5, Bradley 5; Bolton 5 (Galloway 59, 6), Bree 6; Shinnie 6, Lua Lua 5 (Moncur 66, 6), Brown 7; Collins 7 , Cornick 7 (Lee 79, 6),
Subs not used: Mpanzu, Jones, Butterfield, Shea
Goals: Cornick 36 (unassisted), Collins 48 (pre-assist Shinnie, assisted Cornick)
Bookings: Shinnie 65 (foul)
QPR 3 Luton Town 2, Monday April 9, 2007, Championship
John Gregory’s QPR team all but sealed its place in the Championship, while at the same time pushing Luton closer towards relegation, with a thrilling 3-2 Easter Monday win when these sides met over Easter 2007. Rangers had looked dead and buried just a few weeks prior but away wins at Leicester and Coventry and home successes against Cardiff and Preston sparked a revival and survival was in the R’s hands if they could beat the struggling Hatters at home. But things started going awry either side of half time as Chris Coyne and David Bell put the visitors 1-0 and 2-1 up either side of a goal from Dexter Blackstock. It looked like it might drift away to an away win until Blackstock’s penalty nine minutes from time set up a grandstand finish. The script was written for Paul Furlong to step off the bench and stoop to head home the final goal of his QPR career in injury time to win the game and seal safety.
QPR: Camp 6, Kanyuka 5 (Timoska 62, 7), Cullip 6, Stewart 6, Bignot 6, Bolder 6, Ainsworth 6 (Smith 22, 6), Lomas 6, Moore 6, Nygaard 5 (Furlong 64, 7), Blackstock 8
Booked: Bolder (foul)
Goals: Blackstock 41, 81 pen, Furlong 90.
Luton: Brill 6, Keane 5, Coyne 6, Heikkinen 5, Emanuel 5, Brkovic 6 (Morgan 41 4, Langley 5)), Spring 5, Robinson 5, Bell 7, Andrew 5, Talbot 6 (Idrizaj 85, -)
Subs Not Used: Foley, Perrett
Booked: Andrew (foul), Heikkinen (foul)
Goals: Coyne 45, Bell 51 pen.
Luton Town 1 QPR 0, Tuesday January 23, 2007, FA Cup third round replay
The original replay, set up by Shabazz Baidoo’s blatantly handled equaliser at Loftus Road, was postponed for a waterlogged pitch 45 minutes before it began, forcing the Rangers faithful to make a second trek up the M1 a week later. Their reward for this stoicism was 80 minutes of complete dominance over Luton, a succession of missed chances mainly by Marc Nygaard, and then an expertly executed 15-yard volley into his own net by the hapless Zesh Rehmam.
Luton: Brill 8, Foley 6, Davis 6, Coyne 6, Perrett 5, Bell 7, Robinson 6, Langley 7, Emanuel 6, Boyd 5, Brkovic 6 (Morgan 76, 7).
Subs Not Used: Barrett, O'Leary, Keane, Stevens.
Booked: Coyne, Morgan.
Goals: Rehman 80 og.
QPR: Royce 5, Rehman 6, Mancienne 8, Stewart 7, Milanese 7, Smith 6 (Ainsworth 84, -), Bailey 5, Lomas 6, Cook 7, Blackstock 7, Nygaard 5 (Ray Jones 72, 5).
Subs Not Used: Cole, Kanyuka, Furlong.
Sent Off: Bailey (74).
QPR 2 Luton Town 2, Saturday January 6, 2007, FA Cup third round
Joy of joys, QPR also drew Luton Town at home in the FA Cup that season in what turned out to be a typically torturous, seemingly-never ending saga resulting in an embarrassing early exit for the R’s. In torrential rain things initially looked like they might be going ok when Dexter Blackstock picked up where he’d left off at Kenilworth Road in November with the opening goal. But future-R Rowan Vine equalised a minute before half time and Warren Feeney made it 2-1 immediately after. That looked like being enough until Shabazz ‘MC Terminator’ Baidoo punched in an equaliser Devon White style to set up a replay up at Luton anticipated keenly by literally nobody ever.
QPR: Royce 5, Bignot 7, Mancienne 7, Stewart 7, Kanyuka 6, Cook 7, Smith 6, Lomas 4 (Bircham 71, 8), Ward 4 (Baidoo 71, 7), Blackstock 8, Jones 6 (Furlong 63, 6).
Subs not used: Cole, Rehman
Scorers:Blackstock 31, Baidoo 75
Luton Town: Beresford 6, Davis 7, Coyne 7, Perrett 6, Robinson 6, Vine 8, Feeney 7, Morgan 7, Langley 7, Brkovic 7, Barnett 6.
Subs not used: Brill, O'Leary, Boyd, Keane, Holmes.
Scorers: Vine 44, Feeney 46
Bookings: Barnett 82, Langley 90
Luton Town 2 QPR 3, Saturday November 11, 2006, Championship
An immediate revival in results following the arrival of John Gregory as manager, which included a famous 1-0 last minute win at Cardiff, continued in early November at Kenilworth Road. Gregory had plundered Chelsea for loanees Michael Mancienne and Jimmy Smith, and the latter continued his remarkable goalscoring run from midfield with a headed opener on 33 minutes – his fifth goal in seven games. A defence that included Zesh Rehman was never likely to keep many clean sheets, and here it conceded twice in first half stoppage time as Brkovic and Boyd turned the game on its head on the stroke of half time. But Rangers went back in front double lively after half time with Lee Cook’s corners causing havoc, forcing a close range own goal from Marcus Heikkinen and another from Dexter Blackstock after a loose ball dropped in the box. The game was best remembered for Mike Newell’s misogynistic rant against a female linesman after the game.
Luton: Brill 5, Foley 5, Barnett 5, Heikkinen 6, Emanuel 7, Edwards 7, Robinson 6 (Morgan 85, -), Bell 6, Brkovic 7, Vine 7 (Feeney 85, -), Boyd 7.
Subs Not Used: Barrett, Perrett, Holmes.
Goals: Brkovic 45, Boyd 45.
QPR: Royce 7, Mancienne 7, Rehman 5, Stewart 7, Bignot 6, Ainsworth 6,Bailey 8, Smith 8, Cook 7, Blackstock 8 (Gallen 80, - (Ward 90, -)), Nygaard 8
Subs Not Used: Paul Jones, Milanese, Baidoo.
Goals: Smith 33, Heikkinen 51 og, Blackstock 54
Head to Head >>> QPR wins 40 >>> Draws 29 >>> Luton wins 31
2020/21 QPR 3 Luton 1 (Austin, Johansen, Adomah)
* - FA Cup
Roy Wegerle >>> Luton 1988-1990 >>> QPR 1990-1992
American international striker Roy Wegerle was one of those players who just seemed to really suit QPR. He followed in a long and illustrious history of maverick number 10s at Loftus Road and led the line superbly through the Don Howe and early Gerry Francis days at Loftus Road. One of his predecessors in that role and shirt number, Rodney Marsh, spotted the South African born striker playing for Tampa Bay Rowdies in the MLS and recommended him to Rangers for a trial.
Jim Smith, QPR manager in 1986, passed on him as Manchester United had done in 1980 but he was picked up by our near neighbours Chelsea and received a grounding in English football during a loan spell at Swindon. He never played regularly at Stamford Bridge and was eventually offloaded to Luton for £75,000. He starred at Kenilworth Road and 18 months after arriving went back to QPR to sign permanently and become QPR’s first million pound player in the process.
There he became a Loft hero, specialising in spectacular tricks and goals, and cooly taken penalties. He scored 31 goals in 89 league and four cup appearances. In 1990/91 he top scored with 18. That included an incredible run of six goals from his first six games and in fact by the time QPR played their fifth game of that season, at home to Luton on September 15, he was the only player to have scored for Rangers at all. Of course that day, after Wegerle had given the R’s the lead, the team went crazy and bagged six including Paul Parker’s only ever goal for the club.
He continued to score prolifically and the highlight of his time with the club came in October 1990 at Elland Road where Rangers came from two goals down to win 3-2 on goalkeeper Jan Stejskal’s debut. One of Wegerle’s two goals that day saw him ghost past five Leeds players before smashing the ball in from 20 yards and it was later named the Match of the Day Goal of the Season, only the second time a QPR player had won the award at that point and only Trevor Sinclair has won it since.
QPR were famed through the 1990s for immediately selling their best players as soon as a half decent offer came along and in March 1992 they did so again, offloading Wegerle to Jack Walker’s Blackburn Rovers revolution for £1.2m – a record fee paid by a Second Division club at the time. The money was rarely all invested back into the playing squad and indeed it wasn’t on this occasion, the spiral staircases at the back of the South Africa Road stand are still known as the “Wegerle stairs” to this day as that’s apparently where a chunk of the money went. To be fair Gerry Francis had taken over as manager and Les Ferdinand had finally developed into a world class striker by that stage so Wegerle’s star was on the wane slightly in W12.
Wegerle was part of a Blackburn team that won the play offs in 1992 to earn a place in the inaugural Premier League but they then then signed Alan Shearer from Southampton and, as happened to him at Loftus Road after Ferdinand’s emergence, he was sidelined and offloaded – this time to Coventry City. He played just 22 times for Blackburn, and only clocked up 53 appearances for the Sky Blues due to injury but scored nine goals and eventually won 41 USA caps scoring seven times.
When his contract expired at Highfield Road in 1995 he left and went onto play for Colarado, DC United and Tampa Bay Mutiny in the US. After retirement he tried his hand at professional golf and television pundit in the US.
Others >>> Kazenga Lua Lua, Luton 2018-2021, QPR (loan) 2017 >>> Alex Baptiste, Luton (loan) 2019, QPR 2017-2019 >>> Michael Harriman, Luton 2014-2015, QPR 2011-2016 >>> Rowan Vine, QPR 2008-2012, Luton 2004-2007 >>> Iain Dowie, QPR (manager) 2008, 1998-2001, Luton 1988-1991 >>> Paul Furlong, Luton 2007-2008, QPR 2002-2007, 2000 (loan) >>> Kevin Gallen, Luton 2009-2011, QPR 2001-2007, 1994-2000 >>> Gary Waddock, QPR (manager) 2006, 1991-1992, 1979-1987, Luton 1994-1998 >>> Richard Langley, Luton 2006-2008, QPR 2005-2006, 1996-2003 >>> Tony Thorpe, QPR 2003-2005, Luton 2002-2003, 1999 (loan), 1998 (loan), 1992-1998 >>> Mark Stein, Luton 2000-2001, 1984-1988, QPR 1988-1989 >>> Tim Breacker, QPR 1999-2001, Luton 1983-1990 >>> Ray Harford, QPR (manager) 1997-1998, Luton (Manager) 1987-1990 >>> Juergen Sommer, QPR 1995-1998, Luton 1991-1995 >>> Roy Wegerle, QPR 1990-1992, Luton 1988-1990 >>> Plastic Pitch, Luton 1985-1991, QPR 1981-1988 >>> Paul Walsh, QPR (loan) 1991, Luton 1982-1984 >>> Andy King, Luton 1985-1986, QPR 1980-1981 >>> Don Shanks, QPR 1974-1981, Luton 1970-1974 >>> Don Givens, QPR 1972-1978, Luton 1970-1972 >>> Dave Sexton, QPR (manager) 1974-1977, Luton 1951-1952 >>> Alec Stock, Luton (manager) 1968-1972, QPR (manager) 1959-1968, 1938-1939 >>> Mike Keen, Luton 1969-1972, QPR 1959-1969
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