Brentford's most impressive performance of 2002/03?

Last updated : 04 June 2003 By

The close season is always a period for reflection and the latest Bee Hive poll reflects that, in asking you to decide on Brentford’s most impressive performance of last season.

Following last summer’s departure of successful manager Steve Coppell, together with a number of experienced players, such as Lloyd Owusu, Paul Evans and the defensive pairing of Ivor Ingimarsson and Darren Powell, the Bees were expected to struggle throughout.

The eight games chosen are, in the editor’s opinion, the highlights of the season, but there were many other memorable moments, including the narrow home victory over Bristol City and Rowan Vine’s spectacular goal in the 1-0 triumph away at Luton Town to name but two. Below are a few reminders to help jog your memory.

Brentford impressed at the McAlpine Stadium on season's opening day
Under the guidance of new manager Wally Downes, Brentford made a blistering start to the 2002/03 season, registering a fine 2-0 away victory over Huddersfield Town, with new signings Jamie Fullarton and Vine both finding the net on their debuts.

Further victories followed against the already mentioned Bristol City and Colchester United, before an excellent home August Bank Holiday performance against Swindon Town, saw Vine net a brace to send the Bees to the top of the table.

Thereafter followed a period of consolidation, and attention was already beginning to focus on the FA Cup when Steve McMahon’s Blackpool visited Griffin Park on a horrendously wet Saturday afternoon at the beginning of November. Downes’ side produced probably their best attacking performance of the season, demolishing the Tangerines 5-0, with Stephen Evans and Ibrahima Sonko both bagging doubles.

The FA Cup was to prove fruitful for Brentford and a typically exciting First Round encounter took place at Adams Park, against Wycombe Wanderers on 16th November, with the Bees triumphing 4-2 in a thriller.

Brentford scored twice in the opening nine minutes through Kevin O’Connor and Matt Somner, the latter with his first goal for the club, but Wycombe Wanderers fought back and were level inside 26 minutes. However, Vine restored the Bees’ advantage just before the break and sealed victory soon after half time following a defensive lapse by the Chairboys.

Onto York City, in the second round, and a dramatic late winner by Stephen Hunt enabled Brentford to take their place in the FA Cup third round for the first time in six years. The now departed Mark McCamonn gave the Bees the lead at Bootham Crescent just after the half hour mark, before Andy Frampton received a red card moments later. The Yorkshire club equalised midway through the second period, before Hunt’s late intervention.

Hunt: Enjoyed FA Cup glory
In the third round on the first Saturday in January, a magnificent first half free-kick by Hunt, together with a dogged defensive display after being reduced to ten men, following Evans’ sending-off, sealed a memorable victory over one-time Premiership outfit, Derby County.

However, Brentford’s league form had unfortunately began to suffer, as a combination of the amount of games, injuries and a loss of form began to tell on the inexperienced squad, but a resounding 3-0 home victory over rock bottom Northampton Town in March boosted spirits.

The final choice is the victory at Saltergate on Easter Monday. After a couple of weeks anxiously looking over their shoulders, Brentford finally managed to secure their Nationwide Second Division status, thanks to two goals from Mickael Antoine-Curier in the 2-0 success at relegation threatened Chesterfield.

So the choice is entirely up to you, do not forget to register your vote now! Click here to register your vote.