Today we look back 27 years to our very first visit to Griffin Park to play a Football League competition against Brentford.
We had played the Bees on a number of occasions in friendlies and the Capital League. In fact, the clubs first played each other way back in the 1898-99 season when both were members of the Second Division of the Southern League. They met six times, with Brentford winning four plus two draws, both at Loakes Park. But the one big story is that Brentford hold the record for the biggest win against the Blues ever recorded. They inflicted an 11-1 defeat over Wycombe in the Southern League on 16th February 1901.
To go back to the match we are highlighting, the game was full of interest. Two former players, Terry Evans and Jason Cousins were both signed from Brentford by Martin O’Neill and became outstanding members of the great 1990s team. It was good to see the home fans give them a very warm welcome when they came onto the field together.
The match got off to quite a start when the Blues took off like a house on fire, forcing six corners in the first ten minutes. This finally led to the opening goal when Keith Scott put Wanderers in front after heading home a Steve Guppy corner. Wycombe kept pressing and missed two good chances to extend the lead. This period of pressure illustrated that Second Division football should not hold any fears should the Blues gain promotion at the end of the season.
Then Bees striker Joe Allon left the field in shame after a dreadful challenge on Duncan Horton. He brutally stamped on him after forcing Horton to the floor. With 28 minutes gone a posse of players dashed over to the incident and started laying into Allen. A number of arms and legs were seen flying, but no more red cards were shown.
It was from the resulting free-kick that Blues made it 2-0. Glyn Creaser rose above a static defence to firmly head home to give Wycombe a good advantage going into half-time at the end of a half where they looked untouchable with Captain Marvel Creaser organising the defence in splendid fashion.
After the break the Bees looked a completely different side. Manager Dave Webb brought on Craig Ravenscroft and Denny Mundee, and the double substitution changed the balance of their team. Wanderers helped Brentford get back into the match by taking their foot off the gas after the interval.
Brentford started to take control and on 55 minutes got the important goal. A free-kick was floated into the six-yard box, Mundee’s diving header was parried by keeper Paul Hyde, but only as far as Radcliffe who headed back across goal for Westley to score.
The Bees relentless pressure produced three chances for Carl Hutchings, playing in an advanced position, before Ravenscroft held off Jason Cousins to turn and chip the ball into the box for Smith to make it 2-2 on 76 minutes.
Wanderers did well to soak up the pressure as the Bees pressed for a fourteen game unbeaten record.
It was the home team’s weakness at defending free-kicks that brought the winner for Blues on 86 minutes. After the Tim Langford pass to Simon Hutchinson he raced down the right wing and won a corner. His delivery found the eager Creaser who leapt to head home the vital goal for 3-2.
At times both Jason Cousins and Terry Evans found it hard to cope with the Bees pushing forward.
Speaking after the match Terry Evans said, “I have been thinking about this match all week, returning to the club that I played so many games for. It was all a bit emotional, and to receive such a great welcome coming onto the pitch was wonderful. I only wish I could have produced a better performance”
The Blues continued their superb away record and the win sent Wycombe into the 2nd round with a home tie against Cardiff City as they looked to reach the Final at Wembley. We did however, reach the semi-final only to lose away at Swansea 3-1.
BRENTFORD; Dearden, Morgan, Hutchings, Millen, Westley, Stephenson, Smith, Radcliffe, Metcalf (45 mins Ravenscroft), Peters (45 mins Mundee), Allon.
Not used; Williams.
WYCOMBE WANDERERS; Hyde, Cousins, Horton, Creaser, Evans, Hutchinson, Rogers, (15 mins Ryan), Langford, Hayrettin, Scott. Guppy (45 mins Hemmings).
Not used: Mousaddik.