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The Giant Killers

Every F A cup slaying since 1888

All time greatest F A cup giant killings

Number 126

Brentford 2-0 West Ham United

Fourth round replay {last 32}: Wednesday February 2nd 1927

Griffin Park, Brentford

Attendance: 25,000

Scorers: Jack Lane {11}, Jack Allen {80}

Alfred Abel starred as the ruler of the city with his daughter played by Brigitte Helm in the iconic film 'Metropolis', Louis Armstrong and his hot five had a hit with 'Muskrat Ramble, Britain was recovering from the weekend storms that ravaged the country and killed twenty-three people and violence erupted in Austria at a march of right wing war veterans.

When former football referee, Harry Curtis arrived at Griffin Park at the start of the 1926/27 season the fans of the Bees couldn't have imagined that he would take them on a ride that would see the club one day in the top five of the top flight, finishing as the best side in London. The Bee's had been accepted into the Third Division as original members after the war and had spent most of their time since trying to avoid the dreaded re-election process that the bottom clubs faced each season. League form did not instantly show any sign of improvement under the guidance of Curtis but in his first season in charge he offered fans their first taste of excitement at Griffin Park in many years with an enthralling cup run.

The star of a largely unsung eleven was Patsy Hendron, who had already carved a name among the giant killers during his pre war days with Coventry. Now Hendron was enjoying his swan song in London with the Bees team spearheaded by Jack Lane, a bit part player in Burnley's 1920 title winning side and Jack Allen, a talented striker in his early twenties that was attracting the attention of the top flight big boys.

A trip across London to face West Ham had never been more difficult as the Hammers boasted perhaps their greatest ever side to that time. The Eastenders contained four England Internationals in Ted Hufton, Stan Earle, Vic Watson and Jimmy Ruffell and had overcome a slow start to the campaign to push rapidly up the table without posing any major threat to the league leaders. It was backs to the wall stuff for the visiting Bees for much of their visit to Upton Park but a goal a piece ensured a trip back to Griffin Park for a replay in front of a bumper crowd the following Wednesday.

The Hammers brought a strong side across London and with the pitch in surprisingly excellent condition for the time of year it was expected that they would have too much for Brentford second time around. The Visitors even felt they could afford to move star striker, Vic Watson from centre forward to inside left with John Campbell leading the line. It was Brentford who came out of the traps flying though as Hendron's first minute centre saw Allen force a good save from Hufton while Yews kept Ferguson busy at the other end in an exciting opening.

With both sides keen to get at each other from the early stages it wasn't surprising that a goal came early and to the delight of the home fans it came after eleven minutes when Bellamy's free kick found Jack Lane whose rasping drive was too powerful for Hufton, the man regarded as the best keeper in the world at that time only able to help the ball into the net.

Brentford continued to play attack minded football and could have doubled their advantage before the break when Eddie Douglas burst through a static Hammers back line only to kick the ground ten yards from goal and leave Hufton with an easy collection as the ball trickled to him. That was a big let off for the Hammers but only minutes earlier the visiting top flight side had squandered an even better chance when Yews' cross fell perfectly for Campbell who managed to miss a virtually open net from just six yards.

An exciting first half came to an end with Brentford holding their slight advantage and they started the second period with another great chance but the next fifteen minutes were desperate ones for the home fans as West ham began to dominate proceedings. The change that had made such a difference was the move of Vic Watson back to his preferred position at centre forward, the England man instantly seeing more of the ball than he did in the first half. Brentford were panicked and moved deeper and deeper into defence as waves of Hammers attacks poured onto Ferguson's goal.

It seemed certain that Watson must surely score as Ferguson charged down two of his efforts and watched another headed chance sail narrowly over the bar before the most dangerous chance of the second half saw Ferguson perform acrobatic heroics to keep Brentford in front on the hour mark. Yet another Watson drive looked to be heading harmlessly to the Bees' keeper when Jim Donnelly stuck out a leg to divert the ball towards the opposite corner of the goal. For a split second the players stopped as the ball headed goalwards and then agonisingly wide of the far post for the visitors. The resulting corner caused mayhem in the Brentford defence as Ferguson's punch failed to get the ball clear. Yet another cross was swung in and again a host of bodies went in with Ferguson again winning by getting a fist to the ball. This time he looked beaten as the ball was fired in again only to evade everyone and fly wide of the the post.

That chance missed sparked the beleaguered home side back into life as they began to get forward more in the remaining half hour and by the time Hendron won a free kick on the half way line with ten minutes to go it was clear Brentford had weathered the West Ham storm. The game was still on a knife edge though as the West Ham players began forming a defensive only to be caught by surprise as Hendron's quickly taken kick found Ernie Watkins unmarked and past the defenders. The ball travelled too far wide for Watkins to conjure an effort on goal himself but he cleverly slipped the ball back across to Jack Allen {pictured left} who gave Hufton no chance from close range.

The second goal was a killer punch to a Hammers side who had been still pushing hard to force extra time and Brentford were not to be troubled in the closing minutes, indeed they went dangerously close to adding a third but that would have given an unfair slant to a thoroughly entertaining game which had both managers praising the groundsmen and pointing out how much greater the quality of football on show had been for players presented with a decent playing surface to compete on. It would still be a good six decades before pitches of such a good standard became commonplace in the early months of the year.

Second Division Reading were unable to offer similar conditions for the fifth round clash seventeen days later where the normal mud-lark conditions were resumed as Brentford went down to the only goal of the game. Their Third Division form also crashed and they managed just four more victories all season.

Jack Allen had done enough by then to show he was destined for bigger things and left in April for Sheffield Wednesday where he went on to be top scorer in their title winning sides of 1929 & 1930 but it was for a goal scored for Newcastle United two years later that he would gain most fame. That goal came in the 1932 cup final with the Magpies a goal down to Arsenal when a ball that had seemingly gone out for a goal kick was swung back into Allen's path. The striker, naturally and rightly put the ball in the net but the whole stadium were amazed to see the goal stand. It remains perhaps the most controversial cup final goal of all time, overshadowing Allen's second and legitimate goal, which won him his cup winner's medal that day. In 1936 Jack hung up his boots to become the landlord of the Traveller's Rest pub in Burnopfield where he passed away in 1957.

Brentford: 1:Jim Ferguson, 2:Jim Donnelly, 3:Charlie Butler, 4:Jack Beacham, 5:Harry Rae, 6:Bert Bellamy, 7:Patsy Hendron, 8:Jack Lane, 9:Ernie Watkins, 10:Jack Allen, 11:Eddie Douglas

West Ham United: 1:Ted Hufton, 2:Jack Hebden, 3:George Horler, 4:George Carter, 5:Jim Barrett, 6:Jimmy Collins, 7:Tommy Yews, 8:Stan Earle, 9:John Campbell, 10:Vic Watson, 11:Jimmy Ruffell