Superfan David Barber saw an FA Cup giant-killing during an exciting Fourth Round weekend
I have no complaints about Saturday: I saw six goals and a genuine FA Cup giant-killing.
I had a ticket in Block B of the South Africa Road Stand at Loftus Road for QPR’s Fourth Round tie with MK Dons and was therefore able to keep up my record of seeing at least one match in every round of this season’s competition. This ‘journey’ started at Wembley FC in the Extra Preliminary Round on 11 August.
I saw Rangers knock MK Dons out in a Third Round replay last season, when the crowd was 10,855, and I was expecting something like that on Saturday. I got there far too early as usual but even then the away end was filling up nicely. As they kicked off I looked round the ground and couldn’t see an empty seat anywhere! There were over 17,000 inside and Dons had brought a club record 3,155 fans with them.
Nothing went right for the home side. Their left-back sliced a corner into his own net in the fourth minute and they went 4-0 down to a team two divisions lower with just 56 minutes on the clock. Even though there was more than half-an-hour to go, most of the people in my row took this as their cue to get up and leave. A family on my immediate left – a mum, dad and two kids – pushed hurriedly past with the dad muttering “It’s a disgrace”.
Rangers did pull two goals back in the last seven minutes and a low shot near the whistle missed the right-hand post by a foot. I heard someone behind me say that Luton had won at Norwich. It was the first time that a Premier League club had lost to a non-League side, the first time for 24 years that a top-flight club had lost (Sutton v Coventry) and the first time for 27 years that a top-flight club had lost at home (Birmingham v Altrincham).
My first FA Cup match at Loftus Road was a First Round tie against Poole Town of the Southern League in 1966, the day after I had broken my arm playing in goal at school. QPR won 3-2 with a Rodney Marsh hat-trick, goalie Mike Kelly was stretchered off after a kick to the head and there was an unusual incident that I’m told that some Rangers fans still remember. Mark Lazarus, their right-winger, had his shorts ripped in a tackle and went towards the touchline at halfway to receive a new pair from the trainer.
Having removed the first pair and still standing a yard inside the pitch, a team-mate passed the ball to him and he set off on a run down the wing minus any shorts. Apparently he did something similar in a League Cup tie against Carlisle. A bit of a character was ‘Lazo’.
My dad lived a couple of hundred yards away from Rangers’ ground as a boy and was taken to see his first match as a tenth birthday present: a Division Three (South) fixture with Reading that finished 0-0. I hope to see some FA Vase action at the weekend but as usual it depends on the weather.
Matches this season = 110
Matches in total = 6,405