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FA Cup fifth round preview special: Swansea City v Brentford

FA Cup fifth round preview special: Swansea City v Brentford

In this special Beesotted FA Cup fifth round preview, we look at Brentford’s previous appearances at this stage of the competition, talk to BBC Wales football correspondent Rob Phillips about Swansea – how seriously they are taking the tournament and his cup memories – see what the Beesotted crew think the result is going to be and explain how to watch the match if you are not able to travel to the Liberty Stadium.


Brentford have been in the FA Cup fifth round on only eight previous occasions in our entire history – with just four of those times happening in the past 70 years.

I focus in depth on the later four times below, but here are the results from the first four.

1926/27 – (Div 2) Reading 1-0 Brentford (Div 3 South)

1937/38 – (Div 1) Brentford 2-0 Manchester United (Div 2) (Bees lost 3-0 at home to Preston in quarter-finals)

1945/46 (two legs) QPR 1-3 Brentford, Brentford 0-0 QPR (Wartime so league divisions not set)

1948/49 – (Div 2) Brentford 4-2 Burnley (Div 2) (Bees lost 2-0 at home to Leicester in quarter-finals)

DATE: 13 FEBRUARY 1971 – (Div 2) HULL CITY v BRENTFORD (Div 4)

Bobby Ross celebrates his goal at Hull

How did we get there? Home wins over Third Division Gillingham (2-1) and Walsall (1-0) were followed by a 1-0 triumph at fellow Fourth Division outfit Workington and then another giant-killing – this time 2-0 at Second Division Cardiff, to set up the trip to another Division Two side in Hull.

What happened on the day? This is one of the great “we were robbed” moments in Brentford history, as Hull went through to the quarter-finals with a controversial winner. Bobby Ross headed us into a first-half lead but Chris Chilton fired the Tigers level after the break. Then came the moment that decided the tie as Bees goalkeeper Gordon Phillips appeared to be fouled as he tried to collect a deep cross from the left and Ken Houghton swept home the loose ball.

Result: Hull City 2-1 Brentford

What happened next? Hull lost 3-2 at home to Stoke in the quarter-finals, with the Potters going on to win a rare third-place play-off.


How did we get there? The Bees needed six matches to reach the fifth round. Non-league Halesowen were despatched 2-0 before Division Four Peterborough were overcome 3-2 in a Griffin Park replay after a goalless draw. Another home replay was needed to beat Second Division Walsall 1-0, after a 1-1 draw, before the famous 3-1 fourth round victory over then Second Division Manchester City.

What happened on the day? Cheered on by more than 2,000 fans, Brentford held their own against yet another Division Two side before Gary Blissett struck twice in the final 10 minutes – finishing off a centre from Richard Cadette and then pouncing on a misplaced backpass from Colin Hendry to take us into our first quarter-final for 40 years.

Result: Blackburn Rovers 0-2 Brentford

What happened next? Brentford drew Liverpool away and almost took a shock early lead when Richard Cadette’s shot rolled just wide of the far post. However, Kenny Dalglish’s side, fielding all their stars in the era before squad rotation, then took over and hammered us 4-0 with an outstanding individual performance by John Barnes.


Isaiah Rankin celebrates his goal

How did we get there? Brentford had to play seven matches to reach this stage, after being taken to replays in rounds one, three and four. We shared two 1-1 draws with League One Bristol City before winning the home replay 4-3 on penalties. We then drew 0-0 at non-league Hinckley United before beating them 2-1 at Griffin Park and then won 2-0 at League One rivals Luton and 1-0 in a replay at Hartlepool after a goalless draw in TW8.

What happened on the day? Southampton started well and were two up just past the half-hour mark thanks to comfortable finishes from Henri Camara. But importantly, the Bees pulled one back before the break when Isaiah Rankin cut in from the left and drilled a low shot past ex-Brentford goalkeeper Paul Smith. And the away corner of the stadium erupted 15 minutes into the second half when Sam Sodje headed home Jay Tabb’s cross right in front of us to earn the replay.

Result: Southampton 2-2 Brentford


Deon Burton goes close against Southampton

What happened on the day? Despite taking a fourth-minute lead through Eddie Hutchinson, two goals from Peter Crouch ended Brentford’s cup run. The England striker equalised in the 11th minute and made the game safe in second half stoppage-time after Kevin Phillips had put the Saints ahead midway through the second half.

Result: Brentford 1-3 Southampton

What happened next? Southampton bowed out in the quarter-finals, losing 4-0 at home to Manchester United.


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How did we get there? We were drawn away in the first three rounds – winning 1-0 at League Two Rochdale, beating League One Oldham 1-0 in a Griffin Park replay after a 1-1 draw, and triumphing 3-2 at League Two Stockport before finally being drawn at home to a Premier League club. Two goals from DJ Campbell earned the famous 2-1 win over Sunderland to set up our trip to the Valley.

What happened on the day? Brentford were second best at The Valley and never looked like repeating their Southampton scoreline, once Darren Bent had given the Addicks a fourth-minute lead. Jay Bothroyd doubled the advantage on the stroke of half-time and Bryan Hughes made it three in the 62nd minute, before substitute Isaiah Rankin hit a late consolation.

Result: Charlton Athletic 3-1 Brentford

What happened next? Charlton’s run ended in the next round as they lost 4-2 in a replay at Middlesbrough, following a 0-0 draw in south-east London.


BBC Wales football correspondent Rob Phillips tells us whether Swansea have been taking the FA Cup seriously this season, what winning the League Cup meant to the club and analyses Sunday’s tie.

Q – How seriously have Swansea been taking the FA Cup this season – have they made loads of team changes, or stuck largely to their Championship line-up for each tie?

A – I would say they are taking it very seriously. Indeed, though Graham Potter has a habit of changing teams weekly and early season had a reputation as a “Tinkerman,”  he made only one change for the third round tie at Aston Villa.

Q – Swansea’s FA Cup record in the past 10 years isn’t much better than Brentford’s, although they did win the Capital One Cup in 2013. What impact did that have on the club?

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A – The impact of winning the Capital One Cup was huge. It was the club’s first major trophy and a memorable occasion for all at Swansea City.

And, of course, it led to an adventure in Europe under Michael Laudrup, the manager.

The Europa League was yet another unexpected chapter in Swansea history and included an iconic win over Valencia, at the Mestalla, as well as a trip to Napoli.

The fans won’t forget the golden part of an unforgettable era in the club’s history.

Q – This has been a mixed season for the Swans, both on and off the pitch. What are the chances of a long run in the FA Cup having a similar effect?

A – Not sure there are many comparisons with the FA Cup – unless they can stun British football by winning the competition. That said, the lucrative nature of an FA Cup run will be welcomed by the Americans in control of the club, who have already indicated they are facing a tough financial situation since relegation from the Premier League.

Q – What do you think about the scrapping of replays at this stage of the competition?

A – Bad news, I would say. Shows the Premier League dominates the football scene to the sacrifice of everything else. Just a personal point of view, but one of the highlights of my season so far has been Newport County taking Middlesbrough to a replay – and winning that replay.

That’s the stuff of FA Cup fairytales and I don’t see why one of the best cup competitions in the world needs to be downgraded just so top-flight clubs with huge squads can ease their fixture list.

Might be a minority view – but it’s mine.

Q – Do you have any memories of great Swansea FA Cup ties in the past?

A – I well remember Swansea winning in the FA Cup at Manchester United (again under Michael Laudrup) in January 2014. Wilfried Bony scored a late winner after Wayne Routledge had put Swansea ahead, only for Javier Hernandez to equalise.

Nobody forgets winning at Old Trafford – even now. And that victory was particularly memorable because it was the Swans’ first victory at the “Theatre of Dreams.”

Q – The league game between the sides at Griffin Park in December was all over after 25 minutes – how do you see Sunday’s game going?

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A – One defeat in 12 suggests Brentford are in really good form, so the Swans will not be taking anything for granted. But the Swans have been particularly impressive in the FA Cup and will hope to make home advantage count.

People like Oli McBurnie and Daniel James will surely look forward to a game in front of the cameras. Could be close but I reckon Swansea will just have enough.

Q – Finally can you give me a likely Swansea line-up and formation please?

A – 4-2-3-1 Mulder; Roberts, Van der Hoorn, Carter-Vickers, John; Grimes, Byers; Celina, Routledge, James; McBurnie.


This is the second time that Brentford and Swansea have met in the FA Cup.

The first occasion was in the first round in 1971/72 and we lost a replay 3-2 at Griffin Park after a 1-1 draw at the Vetch Field.

Our most recent meeting of course came in early December when Swansea raced into a 3-0 lead at Griffin Park inside the first 25 minutes through Wayne Routledge, an own goal from Chris Mepham and Leroy Fer. Ollie Watkins pulled one back just before half-time and Said Benrahma scored a second with 20 minutes to go, but the Swans held on for a 3-2 victory.


Some of the Beesotted crew have given me their score predictions for Sunday’s game.

2-1 to Bees after 90 minutes. Confidence is high, unlike the last time we played Swansea. With no midweek game to follow, the opportunity is there to go as full strength as fitness allows. Matt Allard

1-2 to Swansea after extra-time as we run out of steam. Greville Waterman

3-1 to Bees in 90 minutes. A few days’ rest after midweek exploits and then a long trip down the M4. This one will come down to who holds their nerve and plays their strongest side. Brentford under Frank are more heavily invested in the Cup, so I expect to see as strong a side as possible shock Swansea, make up for the disappointing league result and control the ball limiting the Swans to crumbs. Goals from Sawyers, Maupay & Watkins, consolation pen from McBurnie. David Anderson

Tough trip down to Swansea, but Bees should come away with a 2-1 win. Bees quality shines through, over a tough Swansea side. Watkins winner. Edward the Headward

2-1 Bees after extra-time in front of a low crowd thanks to FA and BBC incompetence. Liberal Nick


There are lots of ways to watch the match if you can’t make it to the Liberty Stadium.

If you have Sky, Freesat or Virgin you watch through your box or TV.

Sky – 978 (HD) or 952 (SD)

Freesat – 976 (HD) or 964 (SD)

Virgin – 864 (SD)

You can also watch BBC Wales on BBC iPlayer – scroll to the “Change location” box at the bottom of the page, switch from your home location to Wales and you will get BBC Wales as the main BBC One channel.

The match should also be available to watch live through the BBC Sport live text page, which will appear at the top of the Football index.

Live commentary is also available via BBC Wales on BBC Sounds with commentary by Rob Phillips, who contributed to this article.



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About The Author

Ian Westbrook

Bees fan since 1971 - been through all the ups and downs. Written about, reported on, commentated on and wittered on about all things Brentford in that time as well as watching hundreds, if not thousands of games, and loved every minute of it!

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