Spread the love


The above clip shows action from Brentford’s 5-1 thrashing of Bury from October 2001, but in this week’s Don’t Look Back In Anger piece, Mark Croxford looks back to 1989, when once again, a match against the Shakers coincided with an eagerly-anticipated FA Cup tie.

Cup Fervour interrupted by a visit from Bury

Brentford 2, Bury 2

Bury’s visit to Griffin Park on Saturday 25th February 1989 came in the aftermath of the never-to-be-forgotten FA Cup Fifth Round victory at Blackburn Rovers and amidst the excitement generated by the Quarter-Final draw, pitting the Bees away to Liverpool.

The general euphoria appeared not be reflected by programme editor Eric White whose two-page ‘Around the Hive’ editorial made scant mention of the big event other than his bizarrely under-stated observation that:

“It was not surprising that once the facts decreed that we were drawn away that we should be paired with Liverpool. This tie will take place on Saturday 18th March with a 3.00pm kick off.”

Bury arrived sitting in third place in the table, behind Wolves and Port Vale, and with former Manchester United star Sammy McIlroy pulling the strings in their midfield. The high-flyers were certainly not all silky skills though, as demonstrated by a scything first-half challenge on Richard Cadette, described by the Middlesex Chronicle reporter as a ‘chilling two-footed tackle’, which forced the tricky little front man into an early exit from the game.

Steve Perryman’s post-match comment was simple and tactful,

“People do respect Richard and the sooner they get a heavy challenge in, the better. I am not prepared to say anything about the referee (Mr John E. Martin).”

Kevin Godfrey had opened the scoring on the half-hour mark after a free-kick from Roger Stanislaus had been headed down by the towering Terry Evans and Godfrey was hand to tap home the rebound after Cadette’s shot had been parried by the ‘keeper.

Bury equalised in the 51st minute and the afternoon looked set to peter out into a draw but in the 83rd minute McIlroy set up a simple goal to give the Shakers a 2-1 lead and the late goal prompted the terraces to empty as fast as anything seen at Griffin Park for many-a-year. Hoards of supporters headed for the exits in their droves leaving the ground seemingly half-empty as the above-average crowd of 6,077 rapidly diminished in numbers.

The hasty departures were for good reason though. Tickets for the Liverpool match were due to go on sale from the club offices after the final whistle and, with the game seemingly lost, hundreds took the opportunity to secure their place in the queue which had already started forming in Braemar Road.

Those who left early, though, missed the best goal of the afternoon as the match ended with a flurry. With just three minutes left on the clock Simon Ratcliffe drove forward, found Gary Blissett on the edge of the penalty area and the FA Cup goal hero hit a skidding shot which nestled perfectly in the bottom corner of the net for just his third League goal of the season – a figure that he had more than doubled in Cup games.

Those who stayed and witnessed the game through to the end were rewarded with a well-deserved point against the promotion hopefuls, whilst those who joined the queue had at least earned the consolation of avoiding waiting late into the evening for a prized Anfield ticket.

Bury’s point came in the middle of a run of seven visits to Griffin Park during which they remained unbeaten, with five victories and two draws. Fortunes have since swung the other way with Brentford securing maximum points in five of the last six home meetings – here’s hoping that sequence continues.


Mark Croxford