Brian Turner drives towards goal as Brentford come within nine minutes of making FA Cup history at Boothferry Park in February 1971.
Brentford's run to the Fifth Round of the FA Cup in 1970/71 had already seen them beat Gillingham, Walsall, Workington, and Second Division Cardiff City by the time they arrived on the banks of the Humber, on Valentine's Day eve, 1971. Victory over Second Division City would equal The Bees' best ever run in the competition and make Frank Blunstone's side only the second from the Fourth Division to reach the last eight of the world's oldest cup competition.
A crowd just shy of 30,000, including 3,000 travelling up from London, were there to see The Bees take the game to their higher division opponents. And they were rewarded just 11 minutes in as Brentford's three Scots combined for an opener: Jackie Graham freed John Docherty to cross for captain Bobby Ross to head home.
The game flowed from end-to-end with The Bees backline, marshalled by Alan Nelmes and Peter Gelson, repelling everything Hull could throw at them well into the second-half. Indeed, New Zealand international Brian Turner could have settled the tie midway through the second-half as he burst forward, only to see his shot crash back off the post from the edge of the box.
However, with just nine minutes to play the home side levelled through Chris Chilton before a moment of controversy spelt an end to Brentford's cup adventure. It looked to all in red and white that Gordon Phillips had been fouled in the air as the ball landed at the feet of Ken Houghton inside the box to strike the decisive blow three minutes from time.
The Bees players surrounded the referee protesting that the goal shouldn't stand but it was to no avail. In later years, Ken Wagstaff, the Hull player who challenged Phillips, would admit that he deliberately barged Brentford's long-serving stopper but it mattered little by then as City went through to face Division One Stoke City in the Quarter-Final.
The club's run to Round Five had far reaching effects. Coming just four years after QPR's planned takeover, the £20,000 profit for the season enabled the club to pay off the final loan instalment on the £104,000 borrowed to save the club. Helped by financial stability, and the acquisition of John O'Mara, Blunstone was able to lead The Bees to promotion the following season, providing a huge boost to those players, staff, and fans who had battled so hard to save the club.
It’s our season finale on Sunday (kick-off 12.30pm) and it’s your last chance to watch The Bees this season, so how can you not be there? Tickets for our game against Hull City are still on General Sale so book yours online now here