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First Team

Moment in Time: Middlesbrough

Look back at a classic encounter between The Bees and Boro

29 September 2017

Ahead of tomorrow's trip to The Riverside Stadium, we head back to 1907 for a classic moment between the then Southern League Bees and First Division Middlesbrough.

The Bees Southern League days had seen the club enhance their reputation through a number of high-profile FA Cup ties against the likes of Woolwich Arsenal, Liverpool, and Reading. After reaching Round Three the previous season, a home tie against First Division Middlesbrough in February 1907, gave WG Brown's side another chance at cup glory. 

Boro made the long-trip south with five internationals, including the legendary Steve Bloomer, the first £1,000 footballer Alf Common, and future Bees winger Bill Brawn, in their squad. All ground records were smashed as 21,296 fans crammed into Griffin Park for the game. The away side were expected to progress easily, however, the report of the day paints a different picture.

It read: "No one conceded the Bees a chance. It was a matter of how many goals the Boro International forward line would get, but although we were out-played for 90 per cent of the game, the Bees, with a great goal by inside-right Pat Hagan, an Irishman, late in the game, won 1-0. Williams, the Brentford goalkeeper, was in action all through the game, and what a game he played.

The ground was filled to capacity and a low wooden fence nearly all round the ground gave way in many places. After the match, as so often happened in those days, memorial cards, bearing the words "the death of poor old Middlesborough" were sold outside the ground, and they were a sell-out. 

The Bees' team of the day was: Williams, Watson, Taylor, Jay, Parsonage, Tomlinson, Pentland, Hagan, Corbett, McAllister and Underwood. Middlesbrough fielded: Williamson, Tildesley, Campbell, S. Aitken, A. Aitken, Harkins, Brawn, Bloomer, Common, Wilcox and Mackeray."

The Bees reward for that win was a Third Round tie at fellow Southern League side Crystal Palace. After a 1-1 draw in South London, another new high of 21,478 turned up the following Wednesday afternoon for the replay, which Brown's side lost 2-1 after a late goal. 

Hagan, the hero of that day, spent a further year at Griffin Park, taking his total to 11 goals in 55 games before he returned to Hibernian. Having served in the Boer War, Hagan again served in the Great War as a sergeant in the 11th Battalion Royal Scots and was killed, aged 36, on 14 July 1916 during the Battle of the Somme. He is commemorated on the Thiepval Memorial, Pier and Face 6D and 7D, as one of three Brentford players to lose their lives on the Somme.

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