Tigers quintet Graeme Atkinson, David Mail, Alan Fettis, Gary Hobson and Rob Dewhurst prepare to board the team bus ahead of the trip to Brentford in February 1994.
It proved to be a worthwhile trip to the capital for Terry Dolan’s Tigers as they produced one of their best performances of the 1993/94 campaign to claim a 3-0 win at Griffin Park and move to within a point of the Division Two play-off spots.
The attacking duo of Dean Windass and Linton Brown did the damage but the outstanding feature of the victory was a brilliant team performance. It was difficult to fault any of Dolan’s side, who clubbed together to inflict the Bees’ heaviest defeat of the season and see City back to their best away form.
Brentford were reduced to ten men on 26 minutes when left-back Martin Grainger was sent-off by Paul Durkin but, even at that early stage, the visitors were in full control. However, it was only a minute before the break when the deadlock was finally broken. Windass reacted first after his initial shot was blocked and blasted a close-range effort beyond ex-Tiger Kevin Dearden.
The hosts, managed by David Webb, enjoyed long periods of possession in the first 20 minutes of the second half and City also had to cope with the deteriorating weather conditions as terrible sleet produced an increasingly slippery playing surface.
The Tigers literally weathered the storm and went on to claim the three points in style though. Brown gathered a trademark long-range pass from Windass before using his revered pace to speed past Simon Ratcliffe who lost his footing in the process. The striker rounded Dearden in the box before taking his time to line up his shot, which eventually crept in via the inside of the post. The relief was even more profound as it was his first goal in 11 games.
The Windass-Brown partnership combined to create the third goal with the latter’s cross converted by substitute Atkinson, which prompted Dolan to rise from the dug-out to show his delight with a thumbs up. Minutes later, he was waving to the impressive away support as the well-deserved victory was concluded.
Reflecting on the win afterwards, he said: “Result-wise, this has got to be one of the best of the season because, before the game, I said how difficult it could be but we approached it in the right manner. Even before their player was sent-off, I felt we were the better side and, although he did go off, he had prevented us from scoring a goal.
“When we got the first one, I thought we’d need another one to kill them off. Defensively, we were rushing clearances though and they had a lot of the ball for the first 20 minutes of the second half and the lads who had given the ball away then had to do the defending. In the conditions, we’ve done very well and it could have been more in the last 20 minutes.”