There have been numerous stand-out Bees home performances against the O’s in recent seasons, in fact Leyton Orient’s last win at Griffin Park was on 14th September 1993 when a Brentford performance described as ‘dire’ by manager David Webb, allowed all three points to travel back to East London, courtesy of a dismal 1-0 defeat.
The O’s have made several midweek journeys across the capital for Football League Trophy ties, but we look back to Tuesday 28th August 1973, when the Eastenders arrived as Second Division side for a League Cup First Round tie.
The match was the first competitive fixture of the season at Griffin Park, and a first opportunity for supporters to see newly-appointed manager Mike Everitt, who had only been in the post for one week and had started his reign with a 1-0 defeat at Hartlepool three days earlier. In his programme notes he said:
“Our main objective is to get promotion back to the Third Division and the players and myself will be striving to achieve this. We shall be giving one hundred percent effort in every way and I feel that with the support of you, our loyal fans, you too can help us to reach our goal by your continued encouragement at all times.”
That glint of optimism was probably as good as it good for Everitt and it was downhill all the way during his disappointing 18-month tenure. The game against Orient (no Leyton at that stage, just plain and simple Orient) ended in a [2-1] defeat, which became customary under Everitt’s management and is described by George Sands in his own inimitable journalistic style.
“Brentford got off the mark with repeated surges into Orient territory and the visitors had to defend stubbornly. Stan Webb just failed to make contact with a long forward centre from Scales; a strong drive from Roger Cross was saved and every run by Salvage on the left held its menace. Altogether keeper Goddard had a very busy and occasionally anxious time.
But sustained pressure without a goal as the end product counts for nought in football and the lesson was driven home when Orient went in front. Stewart Houston’s short back-pass was intended for Priddy and the ball would probably have gone over the line for an own goal without a further touch, but Bowyer nipped in to make sure.
Thereupon the band of Orient supporters, who had observed 22 minutes silence (albeit not in reverence) suddenly found their voices. Up to that point, the visiting strikers had given Paul Priddy little more than a passing glance but in the 33rd minute, with the home defence caught napping, a move initiated by Downing and carried on by Bullock, ended with Fairbrother firing powerfully past Priddy.
At the change-round the Second Divisioners, leading 2-0, seemed home and dry but in minute number 49 came Brentford’s goal. Hawley took a free-kick only a couple of yards from the bye-line and the ball went across the goalmouth in a rapid move involving Salvage and Cross before Mike Allen’s nodded pass was netted by Webb for Brentford’s first goal of the season.
In the 60th minute Andy Woon was sent on a substitute to the general approval, but the multitude were mystified by the calling off of Salvage who, for the previous hour, had seemed to constitute the Orient’s biggest worry.
Alan Nelmes was booked for a foul on Bowyer and a minute later Payne suffered the same official treatment for bringing down Nelmes. Woon, with a header from Hawley’s cross, went nearest to an equaliser but Orient retained their lead to the end and might have increased it but for two timely run-out clearances by Priddy. In the closing 10 minutes, Orient were twice reprimanded for time-wasting at throw-ins.
So, Brentford went out of the Cup but if “beaten but not disgraced” wasn’t the most overworked cliché in the reporting business, I’d have used it here.”
Mark Croxford is one of the co-authors of the Big Brentford Book series