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With the last ‘away’ meeting between Coventry and Brentford taking place (at Highfield Road) almost 50 years ago and far-from-fresh-in-the-minds of Bees fans, this week Mark Croxford looks back to more recent crucial matches played out on the date of 6thApril.

The last time a League campaign was scheduled to finish before the start of May was in 2002 – in readiness for the World Cup, rather than a ‘who-really-cares’ Champions League Final at Wembley – and back on 6th April 2002, a crunch affair took place at Griffin Park, with promotion rivals Huddersfield Town providing the opposition


Brentford 3  v Huddersfield Town 0  – Saturday 6th April 2002

There were just two games remaining after the visit of the Terriers and, with Brentford sitting in third position in the table, the all-ticket match followed closely on the heels of a disappointing and surprise 2-0 Easter Monday defeat at Bury. Brentford were five points behind the leaders Brighton, and three points behind second-placed Reading.

Something sounds remarkably familiar?

Steve Coppell was in buoyant and optimistic mood, saying:

”We have three games remaining and, if we win them all, we will go up. I never have and never will have any complaints about the commitment of my players. We will regroup, get back to training, talk things through and concentrate on Huddersfield. It’s all about finding rhythm in individual matches and in a series of matches.”

The crowd of 7,393 saw a barnstorming Brentford take a big step towards automatic promotion with a convincing 3-0 win against Lou Macari’s play-off hopefuls. In one of the most impressive first-half performances of the season, the Bees combined pace, passion, power and skill to storm into an unassailable three-goal half-time lead.

An early scare was averted when on-loan Chelsea striker Leon Clarke’s ‘goal’ was disallowed for offside but Brentford took a firm grip on proceedings thereafter and never looked back.

In the 27th minute Paul Evans took a free-kick wide on the right and the dipping ball was spilled invitingly by ‘keeper Margetson for Lloyd Owusu to pounce and prod home his 21st goal of the season.

On 35 minutes the lead was stretched. Powerhouse Owusu looked on fire throughout the game and he latched onto a ball through the middle, held off two defenders and squared the ball into the path of Steve Sidwell, who brilliantly picked his spot into the bottom corner of the net from the edge of the box.

Brentford were winning every tackle and hunting in snarling packs, dominating in midfield with a high-energy, high-tempo display and it was goalkeeper Paul Smith who began the move which led to the third goal four minutes before the break. His trademark throw-out saw Ijah Anderson speed down the left flank before picking out Martin Rowlands with a glorious cross field ball. The midfielder cut inside his marker, coolly slipping the ball underneath the body of the sprawling and exposed Margetson.

The devastating first-half brought back memories of the four-goal demolition of Fulham in April 1992 and left supporters eagerly awaiting the trip to Loftus Road seven days later.

The victory temporarily lifted Brentford into second spot in the table, until Alan Pardew’s Reading regained the automatic promotion place 24 hours later with a 2-2 Sunday afternoon draw at Tranmere Rovers, where they had to come from two goals down.

That season, as Bees supporters will painfully remember, the outcome went right to the wire and this year looks to be heading towards another monumental last day.