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With the games coming thick and fast at the moment, the Bees have hardly had time to draw breath since the Carlisle match… and nor has Beesotted’s Mark Croxford who’s fingers were still wore from typing the previous article. Today the co-author of the Big Bees Books casts our minds back to a previous clash with Swindon Town – while the YouTube footbage above is from 1995.

… “Whilst Jim Bowen was making the first draw for Griffin Gold on Tuesday, Brentford were left reflecting on what they could have won just days earlier…”

That was the opening line of the Ealing Gazette’s match report on the previous weekend’s goal-less draw against Swindon at Griffin Park in March 1993 – an apt match to reflect back on almost 20 years to the day prior to the forthcoming clash between the two teams.

Brentford 0 v Swindon Town 0 (Saturday 27th March 1993)

The encounter came with Brentford in the midst of one of the worst sequences of results in the Club’s recent history – a run which would ultimately end in a devastating relegation after just one season in the modern-day Championship. The previous 16 games had resulted in 13 defeats and one draw as the slide from the comfort of mid-table at Christmas had rapidly led to a desperate scrap to keep out of the bottom three but the visit of high-flying Swindon, who were sitting in 4th place, came on the back of a midweek victory at Grimsby Town.

Even so, optimism was low and although the majority of Bees fans in the 10,197 crowd would probably have settled for a 0-0 draw before the start, most left hugely disappointed after watching the team struggle to create chances, even after Swindon had had two men sent off in the first-half.

Glenn Hoddle’s team had acquired a reputation for being a cynical (better described as ‘dirty’ team) and that tag seemed to be proved correct early in the afternoon. Striker Steve White was the first to go, blatantly elbowing Keith Millen in a challenge on the halfway line. The blow left Millen dazed and unable to get up for several minutes, although Swindon’s players were quick to accuse him of play-acting.

Within minutes, White’s fellow-strike-partner Dave Mitchell went looking for retribution and his second foul, for a needless kick-out at Millen after the ball had gone, saw him deservedly ordered off.

Those two red cards should have been a turning point for Brentford and could have provided the spark to ignite a first home victory in nine attempts but instead it was the cue for the action to end and a scintillating opening spell was followed by a massively disappointing rest of the encounter. The irony was that when both teams had 11 men, Brentford looked particularly impressive.

Perhaps indicative of the pressure being felt by manager Phil Holder, the line-up for the game was a somewhat perplexing one, with Billy Manuel looking uncomfortable in a left-wing role as new signing Kenny Sansom made his debut at left-back whilst in the second period, recently-returned-from-injury Terry Evans was pushed up front to complement Gary Blissett and Marcus Gayle. The ploy failed miserably – and even more so following the 78th minute replacement of Evans by Murray Jones.

Phil Holder was understandably frustrated and disappointed after the final whistle, “The bottom line was we didn’t work hard enough. It makes it very difficult when a team has nine men in defence. I got the impression that we thought it was just going to happen but it doesn’t work that way. You have to work even harder than normal and we didn’t. I was disappointed with our lack of urgency.”

Holder did, however, reserve some praise for one of his players, “I thought the young left-back did quite well” he said, referring to 34-year old former Crystal Palace, Arsenal, Newcastle, QPR, Coventry and Everton defender Kenny Sansom. The ex-England full-back, with 86 international caps under his belt, had arrived a few days earlier to replace the unfortunate Chris Hughton who had been forced into retirement through injury. Sansom’s stay proved to be brief, uneventful and pretty much forgettable.