Monday, March 12, 2012

English Leagues the 70s: Queens Park Rangers Chelsea "The West London Derby" FA Cup 1969 1970

6th Round
21 February 1970

Attendance 33,572
 In 1969-1970, Sextone was happy with the talent available on the staff and, apart from Paddy Mulligan, a no-nonsense and versatile Irish defender signed in October, there were no newcomers of note. Chelsea never at anytime appeared likely champions, the Merseyside duo, together with Leeds United and Derby County, setting a hot pace as front runners. And, in truth, much of the flair and somewhat wayward genius in the Blues' ranks was always more likely to blossom on the big occasion, and most especially in knock-out football. And so it proved. The shock defeat, on a wintry October night, in the fifth round of the League Cup in Carlisle may even have acted as the spur when the more prestigious FA Cup competition began three months later.

Birmingham City were disposed of with a minimum of fuss at the first hurdle, the much-feared striking twins, Osgooil and Hutchinson, sharing the goals. Burnley proved a slitter hurdle fighting hack, late on, from a two-goal deficit at Stamford Bridge to force an uninviting replay in Lancashire. And, indeed, what a battle royal that challenge proved. Alan Hudson hit a post. Burnley then took a lead which they kept until I is minutes from time, only lor Peter Houseman to score probably the most spectacular goal of his career, hammering the ball into the corner of the net from outside the penalty area. The nearest either side could get to scoring after that was when Ian Hutchinson hit the bar. So to extra-time. With Ron Harris man-marking, and man-handling. Burnley's Ralph Coates, who earlier had caused problems to Chelsea's defenders, first Baldwin, and then Houseman, the man of the match, scored precious goals with fog almost obliterating the final stages of an epic struggle. The victory in the fifth round at Crystal Palace was more convincing, Osgood starting a landslide before half-time, briefly disturbed by a Palace equaliser which never threatened to stop the Chelsea bandwagon. The final score of -1-1 Ijeing a just reward lor an impressive afternoon's work.

Next stop on the Wembley trail was Queen's Park Rangers, and Terry Venables, who were quite unable to prevent Chelsea putting on a marvellous exhibition of skilful play on the difficult, muddy, surface. A 4-2 scoreline in no way truly reflected Chelsea's superiority, emphasised by Osgood's hat-trick. The reward was a semi-final draw against Third Division Watford at White Hart Lane, almost too good to be true. At long last was Chelsea's name already on the Cup? The Hertfordshire side proved themselves game competitors by equalising an early David Webb goal. But the final 5-1 margin of victory was the biggest in any FA Cup semi-final for 11 years. In the other semi-final Don Kevie's fearsome Leeds United overcame Manchester United and so the Wembley stage was set for an epic struggle. Twelve days before the great day, fate dealt Chelsea a cruel blow. In a rearranged League fixture at West Bromwich, Alan Hudson tore bis ankle ligaments and was at once ruled out of what would, up to then, have been the most important game of his lite. Throughout the season he had been quite outstanding, his creative play from midfield inviting favourable comparisons with anyone who had occupied his position throughout Chelsea's history. Cleverly Sexton rearranged his team to accommodate replacement, Tommy Baldwin, by no means a straight swap for Hudson. Leeds were already the clear favourites, few experts apart from Geoffrey Green of The Times, seriously fancying the 'old unpre-dictables'. Chelsea will win that FA Cup.

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Bitrate 1200
Sound 128 kbps
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