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Any Brentford players travelling to Peterborough for the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy 2nd Round game at London Road on Tuesday must surely be hoping that the club’s finances will allow them a post-match snack – approved, no doubt, by the club dietician. But things were a bit different when the two teams met in a 2nd Round Autowindscreens Shield match at the same venue on Tuesday 11th January 2000.

On that occasion a furious (surely not!) Ron Noades threatened to ask the Football League to look into the circumstances as to how Brentford ended up with taking home £23 after expenses had been deducted. Noades moaned “There wasn’t even enough to buy the players a bag of chips on the way home.”

The consolation was that his team had won the game 1-0, courtesy of a goal in first-half injury time from Lloyd Owusu but, with hindsight, everyone at the club would probably have gladly sacrificed the win as the result was to have far more devastating consequences in the next round when Derek Bryan suffered a horrific career-ending knee injury in the home tie against Oxford United.

If Noades was seriously concerned that expenses from the trip to Cambridgeshire would hardly be worthy of entering into the account books after being watched by a crowd of 2,340, then the club must have experienced some woeful financial returns during the Cup’s history.

From the Freight Rover Trophy, to the Sherpa Vans Trophy, Leyland DAF Cup, the Autoglass Trophy, the Auto Windscreens Shield, LDV Vans Trophy and the Johnstone’s Paint Trophy – some of the ties have been watched by pitiful attendances. None more so that when 749 people assembled at Brisbane Road to see Robbie Cooke score four time in a 5-1 Freight Rover ‘Group Match’ win in 1986 – although the receipts would probably just have covered the cost of 15 return tube tickets on the central line.

The 1999/2000 trip to Peterborough was not the last visit to London Road in the competition though. That came just of 10 years ago, on Tuesday 4th November 2003, when the Bees were drawn against Barry Fry’s team in the second round of the LDV Vans Trophy.

Wally Downes was in charge at the time at the tie took place four days before a clash with Gainsborough Trinity in the FA Cup and with a trip to Loftus Road to face Queens Park Rangers in a league fixture looming just a week later.

In readiness for the weightier games ahead, Downes included some lesser-known names in his line-up – none of whom went on to become more familiar with Bees fans in future years; Danny Allen-Page, Stephen Hughes, Jidi Olugbodi, Danny Thomas and Danny Naisbitt were included in the matchday squad – and even the most ardent supporters would surely struggle to recall much about those particular players.
Kevin O’Connor was included (of course!) along with Stephen Hunt and Andy Frampton and it was ‘Kev’ who set up the 38th minute equaliser with an off-the- training ground free-kick straight on to the head of Michael Dobson. Peterborough had taken the lead 16 minutes earlier and added two late goals – after 81 and 86 minutes – to win the tie, with Stephen Hunt’s injury-time penalty having no outcome on the final result.

The two main providers for the Posh on the evening were Calum Willock, whose cross led to the opening goal, and impact substitute Adam Newton who set up goals two and three. Whatever happened to them?

The big question for this coming Tuesday is whether the number of Bees supporters in attendance will better the number of travelling fans who made it to Peterborough a decade ago? A total of 130 packed the corner stand that night!

Mark Croxford