On Saturday, Thomas Frank’s side welcome relegation-threatened Oxford United to Griffin Park for the 3rd Round of the FA Cup. Karl Robinson’s side come to West London without a win in four, but will no doubt by a tough opponent for whichever team Frank fields at 3pm. New Beesotted contributor Michael Johnston (@michaeljj__) take a look memory lane and harks back to Bees past cup campaigns that stuck out in his memory over the years
The Football Cups have been somewhat neglected by Brentford in the last few years, with our ex-managers fielding questionable teams against strong opposition. Perhaps the best example came against Saturday’s opponents, Oxford, in the League Cup in 2015. Marinus Dijkhuzen was the new gaffer – and made 11 changes to the side which had drawn against Ipswich in the championship on the previous Saturday. However, Oxford had the game all but won within 12 minutes of the start with the visitors scoring three goals in quick succession.
That wasn’t a great afternoon. However, in my time as a Bees fan, this was not the only spectacle I have witnessed in the cup. I thought I’ll run through a few:
Brentford 1 Everton 1 (4-3 penalties). Carling Cup 3rdRound. Sept 2010
I’ll start with Everton at home in 2010 in the 3rdround of Carling Cup as it was called back then – my first ‘big’ game as a Bees fan. I remember thinking I’d never seen Griffin Park so packed and so loud. I had that wonderful buzz you get whenever a giant-killing may be on the cards and the 8,000 in the stands enhanced that feeling 100-fold.
Tuesday night under the lights against Everton FC. The stage was set. And the Brentford players delivered. After being pegged back by an early Seamus Coleman goal, cult hero (at the time), Gary Alexander rose at the back stick to head home an equaliser in the 41stminute. The game may have even gone Brentford’s way in the second half, had Charlie Mac Donald managed to convert a penalty, but instead it went to extra time.
Some heroics in between the sticks from Bees keeper Richard Lee as Jagielka’s missed penalty sparked a pitch invasion and gave me one of my best memories of being a Brentford fan. “Premier League, you’re having a laugh” rang out aaround Griffin Park.
The Bees’ reward. An away tie at eventual Carling Cup winners, Birmingham City
Unfortunately, we were unable to mirror the penalty heroics at St. Andrews, but that cup run was certainly one to remember.
Chelsea 2 Brentford 2. FA Cup 4thRound. Jan 2013
A more recent FA Cup memory came in our League One promotion season when we drew holders Chelsea at home in 2013. Chelsea set up at Griffin Park with a star-studded squad- Frank Lampard, John Terry, Juan Mata… the list goes on.
Again came that buzz.
I tried not to let my imagination run away with me, but Marcello Trotta’s brilliantly taken volley in the first half had me, and everyone else inside a packed Griffin Park, believing that we could actually win. And if it were not for a £50million striker (not worth a quid in the eyes of the Ealing Road faithful), we may have progressed. Fernando Torres made it 2-2 in the last 10 minutes of the game and proceeded to ‘shhh’ the Ealing Road. That image of a world class striker celebrating so arrogantly after just equalising against League One Brentford is a somewhat bitter-sweet memory.
6,000 Brentford fans made the short trip down the Thames to Stamford Bridge for the replay only to be thumped 4-0. Frank Lampard became Chelsea’s all-time FA Cup leading goal scorer in that game and the Bees left the Bridge humbled by Premier L
Brentford 0 Carlisle 1. Johnstones Paint Trophy Final. Wembley – 2012
Another trip down memory lane next. The Johnstones Paint Trophy – otherwise known as The Paint Pot trophy. A knockout competition that has come under huge scrutiny this season but brought me so much joy when I was a kid. The competition had none of the out and out glory of the FA Cup and the League Cup but gave Football League teams an opportunity to play at Wembley, should they get all the way to the final.
An emphatic performance in the Southern Area final against Exeter City set up a final at the home of football against fellow league one team, Carlisle. For me, and for a lot of younger Brentford fans, it was my first ever trip to Wembley. And the fact that I was watching the team I supported there made the occasion that bit more special.
However, our history in the competition was laid out to me by my uncle – two losses in the final of the competition; 3-1 to Wigan Athletic in 1985 at Wembley and 2-1 to Port Vale in 2001 at Cardiff. Nevertheless, I was hopeful of the curse being lifted.
Nicky Forster’s team crashed out of that final with a fairly lacklustre performance- the Bees losing 1-0 with the glory of being Johnstone Paint Trophy winners snatched from us. The Wembley curse continued and we are still yet to win under the Wembley arch – a play off final loss to Yeovil Town in 2013 being our most recent visit.
Brentford v Oxford. FA Cup 3rd Round. Jan 2019
Back to Saturday’s cup tie and from Thomas Frank’s pre-match comments, Bees fans can expect to see a strong team fielded against Karl Robinson’s U’s.
Chris Mepham and Marcus Forss have both been training this week and are expected to feature in some way. Alan Judge is another player who will be expected to start amidst all the contract speculation surrounding him.
Frank also commented on the history of the FA Cup labelling it ‘the most famous cup in history’. I’m sure all Brentford fans will be glad to hear of how highly speaks of the cup considering our league position.
Perhaps our recent form has written off the premier league charge that was promised at the start of the season. But I’m sure a fruitful run in the cup, and maybe a giant killing on the way, will be welcomed with open arms by all Bees fans.
Onto Saturday. Come on you Bees.
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