Mark Croxford, one of the co-authors of the Big Brentford Book series, serves up a blast from the past against Brnetford’s next opponents, Tranmere Rovers, as part of his regular new Beesotted column ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’. So, if you’re old enough to remember, cast your minds back to Monday 9th October 1972… and if you’re too young to recall… ‘if, you know, yer ‘istoree, it’s enough to make yer heart go whooo-oooooo…’
Season 1972/73 – Brentford 2 – 0 Tranmere Rovers
Tranmere arrived at Brentford on the evening of Monday 9th October 1972 aware that Griffin Park had been particularly inhospitable to the Birkenhead club – their six previous visits bringing five defeats and a draw and an adverse goal aggregate of 17-4 – and without a victory to their name in West London since the War.
Tranmere had a strong Liverpool association, with four former Anfield men in their ranks – Ron Yeats, a hero of many of Liverpool’s famous victories in the preceding years had added a ‘manager’ tag to his playing role, and Scottish international goalkeeper, Tommy Lawrence, who had played over 300 league games for Liverpool, was now a Rovers favourite between the sticks. The other former Reds were Chris Fagan and Fred Molyneux.
“Brentford thoroughly deserved their victory in the presence of 8.150 witnesses – the lowest Griffin Park crowd for more than a year, probably resulting as much from the Chelsea v Derby County League Cup 3rd Round Replay bonanza five miles east as to Brentford’s recent strayings from the victory path.”
“Brentford fielded an unchanged side except that David Jenkins took over the “subs” role from David Court, and lined up thus: Paul Priddy, Alan Hawley, Alan Nelmes, Peter Gelson, Terry Scales, Alan Murray, Jackie Graham, Mike Allen, Paul Bence, Stewart Houston and John Docherty.”
“Thrills came early. Less than three minutes had ticked away before Farrimond, following a Houston burst, almost fired into his own net and soon afterwards a through ball from Nelmes was fluffed by D’Arcy leaving Docherty with a clear run on goal. Out came Lawrence and just as ‘Doc’ side-stepped him a yard or so outside the box, the keeper hauled him down. Referee Mr R.C.Challis (himself a “sub” for Mr R.Crabb) booked Lawrence but the free-kick came to nothing. Retribution, however, was swift and effective. From the centre-circle Gelson sent the ball into a packed penalty box, Houston, on the left, headed across the goalmouth to Docherty, whose downward nod put Brentford in front.”
“an own goal consolidated Brentford’s lead three minutes after the break, Frank D’Arcy inadvertently pushing the ball past his own ‘keeper following a Bence-Graham move. D’Arcy’s slice into his own net was the third goal scored by an opposing player in seven home league games, making OG the leading goalscorer with Docherty, Houston and Murray in hot pursuit with 2 a-piece.”
“Mike Allen, who had received a severe shake-up earlier on, was subsequently replaced by Jenkins and soon after his arrival he almost scored, Lawrence just managing to tip his shot away for a corner. Murray and “back-in-form-Houston” went near to scoring and there was a brilliant bit of one-two play by Hawley and Bence with the former’s left-footer being held by Lawrence.”
“with £200,000 transfers merely brief news these days, it was heartening to note the fine form shown by Gelson, Hawley and Priddy – all graduating from the junior ranks at Griffin Park. Since I first saw him playing for Syon School in Isleworth, Priddy has gone back a lot – from inside-left position to a goalkeeper!!”
Extracts from George Sands’ match report in the Middlesex Chronicle
The match-day programme for the game carried a couple of stark warnings for Brentford supporters:
“We are perturbed by the increasing number of youngsters who run onto the pitch at the end of games. We must emphasise that delighted as we are to see juniors at our matches they must not encroach onto the playing area at any time before, during or after the game. If this type of behaviour continues we shall be obliged to consider increasing the charge for juniors to full admission prices.”
Statement from the Supporters Association
“We are sorry to advise all supporters that our coach facilities with Golden Miller have been withdrawn forthwith owing to extensive damage, valued by the company at over £500, with six windows having been completely smashed and various additional damage caused to the bodywork and interior of the coach. The incident took place after the coach had broken down six miles south of Nottingham and an alternative coach had been hired to bring our supporters home. It has been alleged that certain younger supporters, having left the coach during this period, then visited a nearby council estate, stirring up aggravation with the local youths and girls, who then smashed up our coach after we had left in the alternative transport. We very much regret the incident and it is most disconcerting that the vast majority of our supporters should suffer through the unruly and undisciplined behaviour of a few hooligans. We shall endeavour to obtain alternative coach travel but regret this will not be possible for this Saturday for the match at Scunthorpe. In the event of our being successful, transportation will be limited to supporters considered responsible by the stewards.”
Mark Croxford is one of the co-authors of the Big Brentford Book series